Hong Kong has overcome its difficulties and “risen from the ashes,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said as he arrived in the former British colony to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule.
Mr C must take the oath on Friday during his first visit to the city since 2017, which is also his first known trip outside the mainland in more than two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wearing masks, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, stepped off a high-speed train on Thursday to be greeted by children waving colors and flags of China and Hong Kong, who chanted “Welcome, welcome, warm welcome” in Mandarin Chinese.
“Hong Kong has stood the test time and time again, overcoming challenges one after another,” said Mr. Xi. “After wind and rain, Hong Kong has risen from the ashes.”
The authorities organized a lion dance celebration while a police band played. The railway station was surrounded by heavy security, the police carried out searches with the help of search dogs.
Some analysts see Mr Xi’s visit as a victory circle after Beijing tightened its grip on Hong Kong with a sweeping national security law after .
and her husband were among those who greeted Xi at the train station, which had been out of use for two years due to the pandemic.
City streets were adorned with red Chinese flags and posters proclaiming a “new era” of stability.
The full official schedule of Xi Jinping’s visit has not been released. It was not immediately clear whether the celebrations would be affected by the typhoon predicted by forecasters on Wednesday.
During his most recent visit to Hong Kong, Xi warned against any move that threatened China’s sovereignty, saying the city needed to step up national security measures.
While tens of thousands of protesters marched during Xi’s visit five years ago, no protests are expected this year.
Students attend a ceremony to raise the Chinese national flag at a high school to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China in Hong Kong, June 30, 2022. Source: AAP, AP / Kin Cheng
Senior police officer Louis Kam-ho warned against any acts of violence or public disorder this week. More than 30,000 police said they would deploy their resources to secure the celebration.
Police have shut down parts of Hong Kong, blocking roads and placing a no-fly zone over central Victoria Harbor.
Members of the pro-democracy group of the League of Social Democrats said they would drop plans for demonstrations after national security officials warned them not to protest during Xi Jinping’s visit.
The new leader Mr. Lee, a former police officer who was sanctioned by the United States under the National Security Act, and Ms. Lam were tested daily for COVID-19 and remained in a quarantine hotel for several days before Mr. Xi, media reports.
The 2,000 new coronavirus cases in Hong Kong on Wednesday were the highest since April.
China’s strategy to eradicate COVID-19 outbreaks as soon as they occur, at virtually any cost, contrasts with the global trend of coexisting with the disease.
Mr Xi said the strategy is “correct and effective” and should be firmly adhered to during Tuesday’s visit to the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first reported.
Journalists from several local and international media outlets were not allowed to cover the ceremonies as the Hong Kong government cited security concerns.
Mr Xi, who is poised to secure an unprecedented third presidential term at the once-in-five-year convention of the Communist Party this year, is expected to spend the night in Shenzhen on Thursday before flying out of Hong Kong on Friday.