Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

President Xi to arrive in HK this afternoon, followed by short speech

President Xi to arrive in HK this afternoon, followed by short speech

President Xi Jinping will arrive in Hong Kong on Thursday afternoon for the city’s 25th anniversary of Chinese rule, according to sources.
It is understood that Xi will pull into West Kowloon Station with his wife, Peng Liyuan, after taking the city’s high-speed rail link from the mainland China. China hasn’t released Xi’s itinerary, but he was expected to stay overnight in the neighboring Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen, as Hong Kong experiences its worst Covid surge since April, with some 2,000 cases Wednesday.

Upon the state leader’s arrival in Hong Kong, Xi was expected to deliver a short speech before heading to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai to meet with Hong Kong’s new top officials - chosen by incoming leader John Lee Ka-chiu.

While Xi could be visiting the Science Park for a short tour, Peng is expected to visit Xiqu Centre adjacent to West Kowloon Station in the afternoon.

They may then attend a closed-door banquet hosted by outgoing Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday evening.

Both Xi and Peng are likely to spend Thursday night in the Chinese city of Shenzhen _ 15 minutes away from Hong Kong by high-speed train _ and return to the city on Friday morning to attend the July 1 events.

The trip marks Xi’s first outside mainland China in almost 900 days after his Covid Zero policy restricted his travel to domestic engagements and led Hong Kong to close its own borders. The visit will be the first time during the pandemic Xi has set foot in a city openly operating with thousands of community virus cases -- evidence of Xi’s determination to signal China’s firm control of the once free-wheeling former British colony.

The event marks the halfway point of China’s 50-year promise to maintain Hong Kong’s liberal institutions and capitalist markets until at least 2047 under a framework called “one country, two systems.” The UK has accused China of violating their handover agreement, a claim backed up by the US, which has imposed sanctions on Lam, Lee, and senior Chinese officials for their roles in cracking down on the local opposition.

“It means a lot symbolically that the president of China is coming to Hong Kong to celebrate the 25th anniversary,” Tommy Wu, lead China economist at Oxford Economics. “It’s Hong Kong and China telling the rest of the world that Hong Kong is a major international, financial and business center in Asia, with the backing of the Chinese Communist Party.”

When Xi last visited Hong Kong in 2017, he delivered a stern message, warning the city that challenges to China’s rule were “absolutely impermissible.” After his departure, thousands joined an annual pro-democracy march, with some attendees carrying banners calling for the downfall of the Communist Party.

This year, the atmosphere is very different. Xi’s government has since imposed a national security law on Hong Kong that criminalizes subversion, secession, colluding with foreign forces, and terrorist activities. That sweeping legislation has ended street protests, purged the political opposition, and closed the city’s most prominent pro-democracy media outlets.

The League of Social Democrats, one of the city’s last protest groups, said in a Facebook post that after meeting with national security police, it had decided against holding a July 1 demonstration.

Lee and other government officials were required to enter hotel quarantine ahead of Xi’s arrival, as were some 3,000 other people involved in the celebrations, the Post reported Thursday. Drones have been banned across the city, and aircraft are prohibited from flying over Victoria Harbor. Roads, footbridges, and flyovers that Xi and his motorcade pass will be temporarily closed.

The Chinese leader is expected to give a speech on Friday trumpeting Hong Kong’s return to stability after Beijing made unprecedented interventions in its legal and electoral systems, with the latter ensuring only Communist Party loyalists can rule. Xi’s government has also required the one-time aviation hub to stay broadly in step with China’s cautious approach to Covid.

Hong Kong will be paying close attention to Xi’s speech for signs on how the city can loosen its border policies while balancing Beijing’s interests.

“On the one hand, Beijing wants to incorporate Hong Kong into the Greater Bay Area development plan,” said Vivan Zhan, an associate professor specializing in Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, referring to the southern area of China. “But at the same time, it needs to allow Hong Kong to maintain a certain degree of autonomy to strengthen its credibility for an international audience.”

“That’s a challenging task given what’s happened in the past few years and the rising international concern on the rule of law, judicial independence, and policy making,” she added.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush
Domestic COVID-19 drug effective in trial
HK to see a full recovery, John Lee says in New Year message
Bargain hunters flock to last day of Hong Kong brands and products expo
Hong Kong aims for January 8 reopening of border with mainland China
×