President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong on the anniversary of his return to China

President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong on the anniversary of his return to China

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President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong on the 25th anniversary of the return of the former British colony to Beijing’s control, in what will be the president’s first trip outside mainland China since the start of the pandemic.

The state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday that Xi will attend the inauguration of the next administration of this international finance center, which returned to China on July 1, 1997 after more than 150 years of British control. “President Xi Jinping will attend a meeting to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland,” Xinhua reported.

“Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, will also attend the inaugural ceremony of the sixth term of the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” it added. Xi’s last visit to the former British colony was in 2017 on the occasion of the inauguration of outgoing chief executive Carrie Lam. It is customary for Chinese leaders to flock to the city for symbolic anniversaries of the retrocession.

On this occasion, the coronavirus outbreaks in both mainland China and Hong Kong had raised questions about whether the president would travel to this city, which applies a less strict health policy than Beijing. Two senior officials in Hong Kong’s new administration tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and had to self-quarantine. Daily cases in this supposedly semi-autonomous city have climbed to nearly 2,000 reported infections, but hospitalizations remain low and outgoing leader Carrie Lam said recently it was not an alarming situation.

– Quarantine to see Xi –

Hong Kong applies its own version of the covid zero strategy promoted by China, with quarantines for international travelers that have isolated this global financial center, but slightly less restrictive measures that have avoided, for example, the imposition of total confinements in this city. This slightly different policy, shown by the fact that Hong Kong has not been in full lockdown since the start of the pandemic, will mean that senior local officials meeting with leaders in Beijing will have to self-isolate in quarantine beforehand. to receive them.

Thus, government officials have entered a “closed system”, bubble type, to minimize the risk of infection before the anniversary celebrations, according to local media. Beijing’s next anointed Hong Kong chief executive, John Lee, and his ministers will take office on July 1. The anniversary also marks the halfway point in 50 years of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle agreed with Britain before handover, which required Hong Kong to maintain its political freedoms within Chinese sovereignty until at least 2047.

However, the fulfillment of this commitment by Beijing is increasingly questioned, especially after the huge pro-democracy protests of 2019 and the subsequent crackdown imposed by the authorities against dissent. Last month, Xi declared the beginning of “a new chapter” for the city after meeting with Lee in Beijing to receive the central government’s blessing.

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Written by Editor TLN

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