Xi Arrives Hong Kong for Handover Anniversary
Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Hong Kong to mark 25 years since the former ‘British colony’ returned to Beijing’s rule.
It is his first visit outside mainland China since the start of the pandemic nearly two-and-a-half years ago.
He said Hong Kong had “risen from the ashes” after a series of challenges.
China took control over the territory after ‘pro-democracy protests’ in 2019-20 and has been accused by critics of crushing Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Mr. Xi, who travelled by high-speed train, was greeted at the station by pupils waving flags of China and Hong Kong.
“Security is tight around the convention centre” hosting events, with roads closed and a no-fly zone overhead.
No details of the president’s itinerary have been made public.
Hong Kong’s outgoing chief executive Carrie Lam is “spending her last day in office under Covid quarantine,” before she meets Mr. Xi in person.
Like other officials, she is reported to have had to do this to attend a welcoming banquet for Mr. Xi. Reports said
Mrs. Lam mentioned nothing about her immediate future plans in her final press meetings – but looking for a new home with space to store piles of cash is probably on her to-do list. “She is currently under US sanctions, which makes her unable to bank her salary, reported to be worth a few hundred thousand dollars per year.” Reports said
Before the handover, China promised to protect democratic freedoms for 50 years in the special administrative region – but new laws introduced in 2020 have effectively silenced all criticism in the territory.
The government in Beijing can veto changes to the political system, and pro-democracy forces have been frustrated by what they see as the “slow pace of political reform.”
BBC /Shakirat Sadiq