HONG KONG — There is no cause to change Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” formulation of governance, Chinese language President Xi Jinping mentioned on a uncommon go to to the worldwide monetary hub after swearing within the metropolis’s new chief, John Lee, on Friday.
Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese language rule on July 1, 1997, with Beijing promising wide-ranging autonomy, unfettered particular person rights and judicial independence a minimum of till 2047.
China’s critics accuse authorities of trampling on these freedoms, unavailable on the authoritarian mainland, with a sweeping nationwide safety legislation imposed by Beijing on town in 2020 after mass pro-democracy protests the yr earlier than.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned on Thursday that China had failed to meet its handover commitments.
China and Hong Kong reject the accusations, saying the legislation “restored order from chaos” in order that town might prosper.
Mr. Xi mentioned the “one country, two systems” formulation was profitable underneath China’s “comprehensive jurisdiction.”
“For this kind of good system, there is no reason at all to change it. It must be maintained over the long term,” Mr. Xi mentioned.
“After experiencing wind and rain, everyone can painfully feel that Hong Kong cannot be chaotic, and must not become chaotic again … Hong Kong’s development cannot be delayed again, and any interference must be eliminated.”
Mr. Xi added China would help Hong Kong’s function as a global finance and commerce hub.
On the swearing-in ceremonies, all officers, together with Mr. Xi, wore masks and didn’t shake arms.
Former police officer Mr. Lee, sanctioned by Washington over his function in implementing the safety legislation, takes cost as town is going through an exodus of individuals and expertise amid a number of the hardest coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions on the earth.
Authorities deployed a large safety pressure, blocking roads and the airspace across the picturesque Victoria Harbour, the place the final colonial governor, Chris Patten, tearfully handed Hong Kong again to China at a rain-drenched ceremony in 1997.
Purple lanterns, Chinese language and Hong Kong flags, and posters declaring a “new era” of stability embellished districts throughout town.
Mr. Xi didn’t attend the normal flag-raising ceremonies on Friday, with media reporting he stayed in a single day throughout the border in Shenzhen after arriving in Hong Kong on Thursday.
Mr. Xi’s go to to Hong Kong is his first since 2017, when he swore in outgoing chief Carrie Lam and stayed within the metropolis at some point of his journey. His in a single day whereabouts this time, and the the explanation why he could have chosen Shenzhen, haven’t been formally confirmed.
Hong Kong recorded greater than 2,000 day by day COVID instances on Thursday, ranges which might immediate tight restrictions in any mainland metropolis. China is alone amongst main nations in selecting to get rid of outbreaks as quickly as they happen, in any respect prices.
Some analysts see Mr. Xi’s go to as a victory tour after Beijing tightened its management of Hong Kong. After arriving within the metropolis on Thursday, Mr. Xi mentioned town had overcome its challenges and “risen from the ashes.”
“What happened over the past 25 years has proven that the future and destiny of Hong Kong must be in the hands of the patriots who would cry proudly for being Chinese,” nationalist tabloid International Occasions, printed by the Communist Occasion’s official Individuals’s Every day, wrote in an editorial. “The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is irreversible and Hong Kong’s tomorrow will be even brighter.”
The handover anniversary has historically seen 1000’s march to voice grievances over every part from sky-high property costs to Beijing’s grip over town, together with throughout Mr. Xi’s final journey to Hong Kong.
On July 1, 2019, throughout the anti-government protests, demonstrators stormed and ransacked town’s legislature.
No protests are happening this time, with probably the most outspoken opposition politicians and democracy activists both in jail or self-exile.
“It is the end of an era, it is the end of ‘one country, two systems,” exiled Hong Kong activist Samuel Chu informed Reuters from Oslo, Norway. “This is a city that is no longer recognizable.” — Meg Shen and James Pomfret/Reuters