Xi Hails Hong Kong as ‘Risen From the Ashes’ in First Visit to City in Five Years

© Anthony WallaceChinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.07.2022
Seized by the UK in 1842, Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under the condition that its capitalist system be preserved for a time under a “one country, two systems” scheme. However, Western powers have used the city’s autonomy as a wedge to provoke unrest and inveigh against Chinese socialist “authoritarianism.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) on Thursday in his first visit to the city in five years and his first trip outside the Chinese mainland since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.
Arriving by high-speed train from Shenzhen with his wife Peng Liyuan and a long retinue of Chinese government and Communist Party officials, Xi met with outgoing HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her successor, John Lee Ka-chiu, who was sworn in on Friday.

“In the past few years, Hong Kong has gone through various severe tests one after another, and has overcome risks and challenges one after another,” Xi said at the West Kowloon train terminal. The city has seen large protests backed by foreign actors from the United States and Ukraine, as well as COVID-19 outbreak magnitudes worse than that seen on the mainland. Both crises have brought criticism upon Lam’s administration.

“After the wind and rain, Hong Kong has risen from the ashes, and showed strong vibrancy. These facts prove that one country, two systems has strong vitality, which has ensured the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and safeguarded the well-being of compatriots in Hong Kong,” the Chinese leader said. “One country, two systems is a good system.”
“As long as we unswervingly uphold one country, two systems, Hong Kong’s future will surely be brighter. Hong Kong, for sure, will make new and greater contributions to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Xi added, quoting the Confucian philosopher Xunzi: “Through perseverance, the future is promising.”
Once a sleepy fishing village at the mouth of the Pearl River, Hong Kong was seized by British forces as a war prize in 1842 at the conclusion of the First Opium War - an event regarded in Chinese history as the start of the “Century of Humiliation” when China was at the mercy of European colonial powers and Japan. Under the highly undemocratic British rule, Hong Kong turned into a colonial outpost in East Asia, and by the time its return to Chinese rule was secured in 1997, it had developed into a modern metropolis and major financial hub.
Under the terms of that return, the socialist government in Beijing agreed to give the capitalist city a wide degree of autonomy for at least 50 years. A similar deal was made with Portugal for the return of neighboring Macau in 1999. In March of this year, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Xia Baolong said that the agreement could easily be extended for another 50 years in 2047.
However, in the wake of the 2019 demonstrations ostensibly provoked by the consideration of an extradition treaty with the mainland, Lam’s government came under heavy pressure to improve security. After the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Beijing passed a new national security law that took effect on June 30, 2020, Western nations cried foul, claiming Beijing had destroyed the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.
The new law established as crimes the promotion of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign organizations, and established a national security office in Hong Kong outside the SAR’s jurisdiction.
While in Hong Kong, Xi also visited the People’s Liberation Army garrison on Friday and praised its role in the city’s “transition from chaos to stability.”
Speaking at Lee’s swearing-in ceremony on Friday, Xi said the incoming government “should deliver concrete outcomes and live up to people’s expectations, give top priority to meeting the aspirations of the whole community, especially ordinary people, and act with greater resolve and take more effective steps to address existing problems so that more fruits of development will reach all people in Hong Kong in a more equitable way.”
“In particular, we should care about the young people,” he added. “When the young people thrive, Hong Kong thrives. When the young people grow, Hong Kong grows. When there is a future for the young people, there is a future for Hong Kong.”
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала