HONG KONG ( Associated Press) – Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday ahead of the 25th anniversary of the British handover And two years of change brought the city more firmly under the control of the Communist Party. This is Xi’s first visit outside mainland China in nearly two-and-a-half years.
Waving Chinese and Hong Kong flags, supporters chanted, “Welcome, welcome! Warm welcome!” As Xi’s train arrived at the train station.
As soon as they got off the train, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were received by city leader Carrie Lam. Xi waved to supporters who welcomed him on stage and later greeted incoming city leader John Leeand Leung Chun-ying, a former city chief executive, along with other executives.
“I am very happy to be in Hong Kong,” Xi said in a speech at the Hong Kong West Kowloon train station. “It’s been five years since I last went, and for the last five years I’ve been paying attention and thinking about Hong Kong.”
Under Xi’s leadership, China has reshaped Hong Kong in the past two years, cracking down on protests and freedom of speech and start a more patriotic curriculum in schools. The changes have decimated opposition voices and prompted many to leave.,
Hong Kong and nearby Macao are special administrative regions that are governed separately from the rest of China, known as the Chinese mainland.
Xi has not left China since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. China has maintained a strict “zero-Covid” policy that aims to keep the virus out. Xi’s last foreign visit was to Myanmar in January 2020.
At the railway station, Xi said Hong Kong has overcome many challenges was “reborn from the ashes” over the years and with “vigorous vitality”.
“As long as we stick to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework, Hong Kong will certainly have a brighter future and make a new and bigger contribution to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people,” he said.
Later on Thursday, Xi is expected to visit Hong Kong Science Park and then attend a closed-door banquet hosted by outgoing chief executive Lam, before meeting with pro-Beijing politicians and tycoons, according to local newspaper South China Morning Post. hopefully.
Both Xi and Peng are expected to spend Thursday night in the Chinese city of Shenzhen – a 15-minute drive from Hong Kong by high-speed train – and return to the city on Friday morning to attend the July 1 events.
On Friday, Xi will attend a ceremony marking Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997, and conduct an opening ceremony for the new government led by the incoming leader, Li.
Ahead of their arrival in Hong Kong, thousands of guests, including top officials, lawmakers and diplomats, checked into hotels earlier this week to quarantine and take daily nucleic acid tests as part of coronavirus precautions.
Police have beefed up security, designated safety zones and closed roads as well as created no-fly zones for Friday.
more than 10 journalists Local and international media outlets had their applications to cover the events of July 1, which were rejected earlier this week on “safety grounds”, with the government saying it was due to “media work and safety requirements”. striking a balance between
Associated Press Cross-Format News Assistant Carolyn Chen in Beijing contributed to this report.