China’s Xi Jinping visits Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of the handover

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HONG KONG — China on Friday kicked off celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British rule on a triumphant note, even as Beijing’s security measures and increasing control of the city have cast doubt on its international position.

As the wind lashed their faces, a small group of Chinese officials were ordered to “stand solemnly” as Hong Kong police raised the territory’s bauhinia flower flag alongside the gold and red Chinese national flag over Victoria Harbour.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is making his first trip outside of mainland China since the pandemic began, did not attend the outdoor ceremony. He will address later in the day at the inauguration ceremony of John Lee, the territory’s former chief security officer and new chief executive.

Arriving in the city on the high-speed rail on Thursday, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong declared Hong Kong had “risen from the ashes,” though many in the former British colony have expressed concern at their rapidly dwindling freedoms and shattered hopes more democratic future.

In a video posted to Twitter, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Beijing had not kept its commitments made during the handover. “It is a condition that threatens both the rights and freedoms of Hong Kongers and the continued progress and prosperity of their homeland,” he said.

Xi Jinping does the ‘victory lap’ in Hong Kong as locals look on suspiciously

Later Thursday, Xi met with city police in a special ceremony, a rarity for Chinese leaders visiting the city. Over the course of the 2019 crackdown on pro-democracy protests, the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by police and sudden, often brutal, arrests of suspected protesters made the force a major focus of local criticism. But Beijing has regularly signaled its approval of the tough crackdown.

In a sign of growing similarities between Hong Kong and mainland China’s law enforcement agencies, Friday marks the official introduction of the Chinese military’s goose-step march as the city’s police parade step.

“I think looking back, there has long been a misconception that ‘one country, two systems’ is the same, but actually it’s not the same,” outgoing CEO Carrie Lam said in an interview with Phoenix Media this week, referencing Beijing position that the earlier part of the wording takes precedence.

A year after taking office, Lam added, she “didn’t understand the deep meaning” of Xi’s speeches on “one country’s supremacy” and the “red lines” Beijing had drawn to protect national security.

It took the protests to “recognize that President Xi had given us very clear guidance from the start; Only by following her can Hong Kong become an important part of the nation,” Lam said.

Shepherd reported from Taipei, Taiwan. China’s Xi Jinping visits Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of the handover

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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