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Hong Kong – Xi Jinping to Attend Hong Kong Handover Anniversary

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The Chinese president’s presence is seen as a show of Beijing’s control over the city amid a crackdown on dissent

Xi’s last visit to the former British colony was in 2017 to swear incumbent leader Carrie Lam

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Posted on 25.06.22, 19:18


The Chinese president is also expected to attend the inauguration of Hong Kong’s next administration. His presence is seen as a demonstration of Beijing’s control over the city amid a crackdown on dissent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to attend a ceremony celebrating Hong Kong’s handover to China 25 years ago, state media reported on Saturday.

The city was ceded to China on July 1, 1997, after 156 years of British colonial rule.

He will also attend the inauguration of the next Hong Kong administration of Chief Executive John Lee. The Beijing-appointed leader and his ministers will be sworn in on July 1.

Xi’s last visit to the former British colony was in 2017 to swear incumbent leader Carrie Lam.

The Chinese president has avoided traveling outside mainland China since visiting Myanmar in January 2020, shortly before acknowledging the severity of COVID-19 and imposing strict lockdown measures.

It has not been confirmed whether he will travel to Hong Kong for the event or attend it virtually, but if he does, it would be his first trip outside mainland China in more than two years.

The anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover is one of the most publicized political events. Analysts say Xi’s presence is likely meant to show Beijing’s control over the city after crushing a democracy movement.

Repression in Hong Kong

The anniversary celebrations follow turbulent months in which the global financial center has been rocked by mass pro-democracy protests.

Political tensions have also risen as people grapple with the soaring cost of living in one of the world’s most densely populated places.

In a harsh crackdown aimed at crushing sometimes violent protests, activists have been arrested and sentenced to prison terms, and Hong Kong’s most prominent pro-democracy newspaper has been shut down.

The city also sentenced the 90-year-old former Catholic bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen, to a prison term.

These actions were facilitated by a sweeping security law that criminalized dissent.

The crackdown has added to tension between Beijing and the United States, Europe, Japan and other Asian governments.

Covidconcerns

Earlier, the coronavirus outbreaks in mainland China and Hong Kong had raised doubts about whether Xi would risk visiting the city, with Beijing committed to its zero-COVID strategy.

Hong Kong has its own version of the zero-COVID strategy, which has kept the international trade hub isolated for much of the pandemic. Outgoing city leader Carrie Lam said the current situation was “not a wake-up call”. Hospitalizations have remained low even as the number of daily cases has climbed to nearly 2,000.

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