China's President Celebrates Hong Kong Handover With A Visit To The City

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AP PHOTOS: UK symbols fade, China's rise in new Hong Kong
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02 July, 2017

Xi said yesterday that any threat to China's sovereignty and security or to the power of the central government "crosses the red line and is absolutely impermissible".

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters marched through summer rain brandishing colorful art and props in Hong Kong Saturday, expressing their fears the city and its freedoms are being eaten up by China.

Lam was selected by a pro-China committee, as were her predecessors, and is already being cast by critics as a China stooge in a city where many are angry at Beijing's tightening grip on the freedoms of its almost eight million people.

He also referred to the "humiliation and sorrow" China suffered during the first Opium War in the early 1840s that led to the ceding of Hong Kong to the British. She trailed the front-runner in public opinion polls but won with 777 votes from the 1,194-member committee.

There had also been plans for a pro-independence rally claiming that Hong Kong had now in effect become a repressed Chinese colony.

"After the Opium War, China has been repeatedly defeated by countries which were smaller and less populous", Mr Xi said, after swearing in the new leader of Hong Kong at a venue only yards from where former governor Chris Patten tearfully handed back the territory to China in 1997, signalling what many believe to be the end of the British Empire. "At the same time, there was a strong warning to the localists and the pro-independence people". Some activists in the area scuffled with pro-China protesters before dispersing. He also spoke on the strategic role of the HKIA in connecting the Mainland of China with the rest of the world and in taking forward the Belt and Road Initiative.

He said this was a time to demonstrate, not celebrate, and to defend the territory's rights. "I don't think he's going to give up".

Xi said China had made it "categorically clear" in talks with Britain in the 1980s that "sovereignty is not for negotiation".

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"The continuation of the principle... is needed for Hong Kong's sustainable development and prosperity..."

Activists scoffed at Xi's remarks. "What we've experienced this weekend was a whole new level of intimidation and direct violence that's unprecedented", said campaigner Avery Ng of League of Social Democrats. Nine democracy protesters, including Joshua Wong and lawmaker "long hair" Leung Kwok-hung, were bundled into police vans while several pro-China groups remained, cheering loudly and waving red China flags. He landed Thursday from Beijing to preside over Saturday's handover anniversary rituals, when a Chinese aircraft carrier will make its debut in Hong Kong harbor - another marker of Beijing's assertion of control over the territory.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Lam Cheng, (center), lines up with her new members of cabinet during a news conference in Hong Kong.

Speaking in Mandarin for her inaugural address, instead of the Cantonese dialect widely used in Hong Kong, Mrs Lam told assembled dignitaries she wanted to create a harmonious society, and described the future as "bright".

There was other symbolism hinting at the balance of power.

"We've come a long way and we've acknowledged a lot of the uglier parts of our history", he said.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has the highest population of worldwide students among local universities. "You need people who know mainland clients", Zhu says. Now, many assert that the opposite is true as Beijing steps up the pressure on the island.

There were fears that the PLA would crack down in Hong Kong when it was returned to China, particularly after Tiananmen, but it has kept a very low profile.


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