Xi Jinping defends China’s rule of Hong Kong

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Hong Kong's new Chief Executive John Lee walks with China"s President Xi Jinping following Xi's speech after a ceremony to inaugurate the city's new leader and government in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2022, on the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China

Mr Xi (suitable) was greeted by Hong Kong’s new main government John Lee

China’s “just one place two programs” design of ruling Hong Kong has labored in guarding the town and have to continue on prolonged phrase, claims Xi Jinping.

The Chinese chief mounted a stern defence of the political method in a speech in Hong Kong, pursuing recent international criticism.

Hong Kong is marking 25 several years considering that Britain returned the town to China.

It is under restricted safety as it hosts Mr Xi, who is on his first journey outside the house of the mainland in two a long time.

Beneath “a person country two devices”, Hong Kong is supposed to be governed in a way that provides it a significant diploma of autonomy and safeguards freedom of speech and assembly, and other legal rights not observed in mainland China.

But in the latest many years China has been criticised for expanding its regulate of Hong Kong and enacting guidelines and reforms that stifle cost-free speech and dissent.

The “a single, state, two devices” theory arose out of an settlement involving Britain and China and is enshrined in regulation in Hong Kong. The protections operate out in 2047, a deadline which numerous in Hong Kong have extensive been apprehensive about.

But on Friday Mr Xi claimed it “will have to be adhered to around the extended operate” – the clearest indication nonetheless that China intends to preserve the political design, which critics say has currently been compromised to suit Beijing.

Flanked by the Chinese and Hong Kong flags on phase, Mr Xi defended the process as having worked in preserving Hong Kong’s prosperity and steadiness as very well as China’s “elementary interests” in the past 25 years.

“‘One place, two systems’ has been examined and proved time and all over again, and there is no rationale to improve this kind of a good process,” he mentioned, to applause from the viewers comprising typically of the city’s pro-Beijing elite.

He additional the method experienced the “unanimous endorsement” of inhabitants together with “common acceptance” by the intercontinental group, and that Hong Kong’s “true democracy commenced” when it returned to China.

But above the a long time Hong Kong has observed enormous protests and quite a few, like Western nations around the world, have criticised Beijing’s escalating interference in the metropolis.

In 2020, China introduced a controversial nationwide stability legislation that has clamped down on free speech and dissent in Hong Kong. This prompted Britain to accuse China of violating the “one particular country two systems” basic principle and their arrangement.

“We’re not giving up on Hong Kong,” British isles Primary Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

“Twenty-5 many years in the past we manufactured a assure to the territory and its people and we intend to continue to keep it, executing all we can to keep China to its commitments so that Hong Kong is the moment once again run by the people today of Hong Kong, for the men and women of Hong Kong.”

China’s current electoral reforms designed to be certain only “patriots” can operate for office in Hong Kong have also been closely criticised.

But Mr Xi strongly defended this transfer on Friday, indicating that it was “crucial for safeguarding the extensive-time period security and protection of Hong Kong” and that “at no time need to this basic principle be authorized to be compromised”.

“No place or territory’s citizens would allow non-patriotic, or even traitorous, forces and men and women to wield political power,” he said.

Government Flying Services aircrafts display the People's Republic of China and the Hong Kong SAR flags over the Convention Centre in Hong Kong, China, 01 July 2022

The flags of China and Hong Kong are exhibited in excess of the conference centre in which Mr Xi spoke

At the exact same event, Mr Xi also formally appointed John Lee, a previous security chief recognized for his hard pro-Beijing views, as the new main executive.

Mr Lee had obtained the best occupation by means of an uncontested election – a sore stage for quite a few Hongkongers who say China has absent back on its assure to make the course of action entirely democratic sooner or later.

Mr Lee’s new 21-member cupboard was also sworn in. It is intensely staffed by pro-Beijing leaders, which includes a few who have been sanctioned by the US for “undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and proscribing the freedom of expression or assembly” of its people today.

Different official situations celebrating the handover will be held throughout the metropolis on Friday, a general public getaway. They generally culminate in a firework display above Victoria Harbour.

Mr Xi’s visit this calendar year – the initially to Hong Kong considering that the 20th anniversary celebrations in 2017 – has led to the metropolis deploying plainclothes officers and “specific constables” drafted from prison guards and immigration forces, reports BBC Chinese’s Martin Yip.

An Omicron outbreak before this calendar year in Hong Kong fuelled uncertainties about no matter if Mr Xi, who has individually championed China’s zero Covid plan, would cancel his go to.

But he arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday by means of a substantial-pace prepare exactly where he met outgoing chief executive Carrie Lam.

Police stand guard on a street in Hong Kong on July 1, 2022, during the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China

Protection staff have been deployed throughout the town for the handover anniversary

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