Xi Jinping on the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover

Chinese President Xi Jinping will on Friday attend a ceremony to mark 25 years of the handover of Hong Kong to China by the United Kingdom, showing his support for the new local leader accused of putting Beijing’s authoritarian symbol in the center of Hong Kong Will go For China’s official news agency.

This July 1, Mr. Xi will also see the entry into the office of the new Hong Kong administration, according to the New China Agency.

If this participation happens in person, it will be his first visit from mainland China since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But neither the news agency nor Hong Kong officials have specified explicitly whether the head of state will visit the city or attend events by videoconferencing.

“President Xi Jinping will attend a meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the homeland,” China New said.

The Chinese president usually attends the inauguration of new CEOs of the semi-autonomous region. Xi’s last visit to the former British colony surrounded by heavy police presence was in 2017 for the swearing-in of outgoing leader Carrie Lam.

After three years of political turmoil, the president’s visit will be an opportunity to highlight Beijing’s reassertion over Hong Kong.

July 1 will mark the midpoint of a period of semi-autonomy for Hong Kong in the name of the principle of “one country, two systems”, which should remain in force until 2047.

Beijing promised not to change Hong Kong’s liberal political system for a period of 50 years.

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zero covid

But the national security law, imposed after the huge and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests of 2019, suppressed any dissenting voices, sending many opposition figures to prison. And an electoral reform reserved all seats in the Legislative Council for Hong Kong that could be labeled as “patriotic”.

John Lee, who will be sworn in as the new chief executive on Friday, oversaw the controversial police response to the 2019 pro-democracy protests.

He said he was pleased with the president’s participation in his swearing-in and thanked Xi for his “views and support” for Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong is in the critical phase of moving from anarchy to rule and gradually to prosperity,” John Lee said in a statement on Saturday.

The current coronavirus pandemic has cast doubt on Mr. Xi’s attendance at this double event.

Hong Kong, which enforces a less strict health policy than mainland China while maintaining a “zero COVID” objective, is currently reporting more than 1,000 cases per day for 7.4 million residents. On Thursday, two senior officers tested positive for coronavirus and were placed in quarantine.

Ms Lam, however, assured that the situation is “not dangerous”, with the level of hospitalizations at a low level.

Due to differences in health policy between Hong Kong and mainland China, Hong Kongers called for contact with Chinese leaders would of course follow a quarantine prior to the ceremony.

According to local media, government officials entered a “bubble” to reduce the risk of infection before participating in the handover.

After being appointed by a selection committee in May, John Lee traveled to Beijing to meet with Xi Jinping.

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“The future administration will certainly create a new environment and write a new chapter in Hong Kong’s development,” Xi said at the time.

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