China’s Xi stresses deep affection for Hong Kong in state media

China’s Xi stresses deep affection for Hong Kong in state media

(Bloomberg) – Chinese state media have trumpeted President Xi Jinping’s “deep affection” for Hong Kong, as speculation is rife that he will travel to the city for the anniversary celebrations on July 1.

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The Communist Party’s People’s Daily spokesman published a 2,000-word article Monday entitled “Hong Kong Development Is Always Close to My Heart,” highlighting Xi’s speeches during his tenure in power on the city’s progress. The article was republished on Tuesday on the front page of the local Beijing-controlled Ta Kung Pao newspaper.

Hong Kong officials are preparing to celebrate 25 years of Chinese rule in the former British colony, at an event expected to be attended by an anonymous state leader. The South China Morning Post reported Tuesday that the current deal is for Xi to visit the city, according to an anonymous source. Separately, local media outlet Ming Pao reported that Chinese state leaders could arrive by high-speed train, also citing unknown sources.

The People’s Daily article highlighted Xi’s long experience in coordinating the affairs of Hong Kong and Macao during his stay in Beijing before becoming president, and his landmark visit to the city in 2017 for the 20th anniversary of his surrender.

READ: Hong Kong’s rights lawyers are next target in China crackdown

“President Xi has deep feelings for this piece of land,” the report said. “He is very familiar with the situation in Hong Kong, he is interested in its prosperity and stability, as well as in the interests and well-being of the people of Hong Kong.”

Since Xi’s last visit, Hong Kong has seen historic anti-government protests in 2019 pushing away China’s growing influence in the city, prompting Beijing to impose a sweeping national security law that has since crushed the dispute. Xi then reformed the city’s electoral system to ensure that only Communist Party patriots could rule.

While all of this has tightened Beijing’s control over the city, Hong Kong has continued to move away from the mainland’s steady zero-tolerance policy for Covid, regularly recording more than 1,000 daily infections in recent weeks. City officials have stricter test regulations for bars as July 1 approaches, to keep the number of cases from rising further, with outgoing CEO Carrie Lam acknowledging that conditions must be “favorable” for Xi to attend. in celebrations.

Xi’s visit would mark the first time he has left mainland China since January 2020, when he visited neighboring Myanmar at the start of a pandemic. Since then, the mainland has stuck to Covid Zero’s policy of trying to eliminate all cases with lockdowns and mass trials.

Local officials attending the July 1 celebrations are expected to participate in a weekly “closed-circuit” deal that would limit them to their homes and workplaces, without the use of public transportation, culminating in a night of quarantine at a hotel, he said. previously the Post. citing sources. The city canceled its Legislative Council meeting next Wednesday to prevent the spread of cases among lawmakers for those invited to attend the festivities.

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