Hong Kong – Chinese leader Xi Jinping marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s withdrawal in a speech on Friday, stressing Beijing’s sweeping control over the once-British colony as part of its vision of a “one country, two systems” framework Were – countering criticism that political and civil liberties promised for the next quarter under Chinese rule have all been wiped out.
Xi praised the city for overcoming “violent social unrest” – a reference to the massive pro-democracy movement of 2019, followed by a Beijing-led crackdown that quelled dissent and shut down independent media. done, aligning Hong Kong more closely with tighter controls. under the ruling Communist Party of China.
Xi warned that foreign interference or interference by traitors would not be tolerated in Hong Kong’s affairs. He said that “protecting national sovereignty, security and development interests” is the top priority.
“No one in any country or region of the world will allow foreign countries or even seditious forces and figures to seize power,” Xi said. Only with patriots ruling Hong Kong can it ensure long-term stability.
Beijing claims “extensive jurisdiction”
He said Hong Kong’s promised structure of its own laws and government for 50 years after it was handed over to Britain in 1997 was still a good system that “should be upheld for a long time.”
But he also said that Beijing had “extensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong, and that Hong Kong should respect the Chinese leadership, even as Beijing considers areas such as Hong Kong and neighboring Macao its own capitalist system and a degree of autonomy. allows to maintain.
“After returning to the homeland, Hong Kong has faced all kinds of challenges and progressed rapidly,” Xi said. “Even if it is an international financial crisis,Or violent social unrest, nothing has stopped Hong Kong’s progress.”
Since the 2019 protests, officials haveS, media figures and pro-democracy. He introduced a more “patriotic” curriculum in schools and reformed election laws to keep opposition politicians who are not considered patriotic enough from the city’s legislature. The changes have put an end to the voices of dissent and prompted many to leave the city.
In its view, the Communist Party of China has restored stability to a city that was torn apart by demonstrations seen as a direct challenge to its rule. For Western democracies, Xi has undermined freedoms and the way of life that separated the city from mainland China and made it a global finance and trade center.
US says China “undermined fundamental freedoms”
US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement that the dismantling of Hong Kong’s democratic institutions and pressure on its judiciary, tighter controls on academic and press freedoms, and the disruption of civil society groups and news outlets “undermine fundamental freedoms”. Have done it. Maintain global stability.”
She said China’s policies towards Hong Kong, including the implementation of the national security law, “shaken the institutions, rules and systems that were the basis of international trust in Hong Kong.”
“We call on the PRC to act in accordance with international obligations,” Watson said.
Xi’s two-day visit to Hong Kong is his first outside mainland China since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. He last visited Hong Kong in 2017 for the handover ceremony.
Security has been beefed up in Hong Kong for their arrival, with designated security and no-fly zones. Thousands of guests were required to take daily coronavirus tests and ordered to be checked into quarantine hotels prior to their appearance at events with Xi on Thursday and Friday.
Xi also attended the swearing-in ceremony of Hong Kong’s new leader, John Lee, a former security official who oversaw the crackdown on dissent. Li resolved to uphold the city’s miniaturized constitution and allegiance to Hong Kong. He also promised to be accountable to the central government in Beijing.
Possibility to “mirror” the mainland
“The next five years will be an important time for Hong Kong to move from governance to prosperity,” Lee said.
He had earlier indicated plans to introduce Article 23 into the city’s substantive law. It deals with local legislation to protect the Chinese government from acts that threaten national security, such as treason, secession, treason, subversion and foreign collusion.
A similar initiative had to be abandoned in 2003 after massive protests.
Amnesty International warned that Li’s plan to enforce laws governing state secrets and cybersecurity would “reflect similar laws in mainland China.”
The watchdog’s Asia-Pacific regional director, Erwin van der Borg, said in a statement: “The extremely broad definition of such laws facilitates arbitrary enforcement, a fact that creates further uncertainty and fear for people in Hong Kong.” Is.”
In the morning flag hoisting ceremony – attended by Li, his predecessor Carrie Lam and other officers, but not Xi – police officers carrying Chinese and Hong Kong flags walked into Golden Bauhinia Square for the ceremony with Chinese “goose-stepping” style, British style march. The guests stood attentively as the Chinese national anthem was played.