YouTube has suspended a channel promoting John Lee's uncontested bid to be Hong Kong's next leader, according to media reports.
According to Channel News Asia (CNA), YouTube said that the move was required by US sanctions against the ex-security chief.
Lee is expected to be appointed the business hub's new chief executive by a committee of 1,500 Beijing loyalists next month. He faces no rivals.
He has used YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts to promote his platform, although no concrete policies have been published so far.
Asked about his removal from YouTube, Lee condemned the US sanctions as "unreasonable bullying" for his work defending China's national security.
"But their unreasonable moves will only reinforce my belief that I have been doing the right thing."
Lee said while he was "disappointed" with YouTube's decision, his push to become the city's next leader would not be affected, adding that he would start visiting local communities after pandemic social-distancing rules are relaxed on Thursday, CNA reported.
According to the media outlet, a former top cop who rose to become Hong Kong's security tsar, Lee was a key figure in the suppression of huge democracy protests three years ago and the subsequent Beijing-directed crackdown.
Parent company Google defended removing the channel, saying it was made in compliance with US sanctions that ban American companies and individuals from providing services to targeted officials.
"After review and consistent with these policies, we terminated the Johnlee2022 YouTube channel," a company spokesperson said, CNA reported.
Lee was among 11 top Hong Kong and Beijing officials sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2020 in the wake of China's imposition of a sweeping security law aimed at snuffing out dissent in the financial hub.
Other officials sanctioned include outgoing Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, former police chiefs Chris Tang and Stephen Lo, as well as Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)