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Xi in Hong Kong defends China’s handover anniversary rule

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Chinese President Xi Jinping said his government acted ‘for the good of Hong Kong’ and defended the imposition of a new ‘patriots-only’ electoral system on the Asian financial hub during a visit to the city Friday.

Driving the news: Xi was in Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China as a semi-autonomous region and to attend the swearing-in ceremony for the city’s new chief executive, approved by the Chinese government, John Lee, who helped lead the crackdown. on pro-democracy protesters in 2019.

What he says : “It is a universal rule in the world that political power should be in the hands of patriots,” Xi said in his speech in Hong Kong.

  • “No country or region in the world will allow unpatriotic or even treacherous or traitorous forces and figures to take power,” he added.
  • “‘One country, two systems’ has been tested and proven over and over again, and there is no reason to change such a good system,” Xi said as he railed against what he called the foreign interference.
  • “Safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests” was a top priority, he said.

To note: “After returning to the motherland, Hong Kong compatriots became masters of their own affairs, the people of Hong Kong administered Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, and this was the beginning of real democracy in Hong Kong. Kong,” Xi said.

  • “After all the storms, everyone has painfully learned that Hong Kong cannot fall into chaos and Hong Kong cannot afford chaos. It must get rid of all disturbances and focus on development.”

Reality check: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted in a report that the anniversary of the July 1 handover “was envisaged as the midpoint of the autonomy promised under the framework of the” One country, two systems “” which was to last until 2047.

  • “Yet it is now clear that authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing no longer see democratic participation, fundamental freedoms and independent media as part of that vision,” Blinken said.

The big picture: The national security law that Beijing first imposed on Hong Kong in 2020 has led to the arrest and imprisonment of dozens of pro-democracy activists and journalists and the shutdown of independent media outlets, including Chinese Communist Party critic Jimmy Lai’s imprisoned tabloid, Apple Daily.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with new details.

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