China swears in Hong Kong’s new leader — Analysis

President Xi Jinping led a swearing-in ceremony as China marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British rule

Chinese President Xi Jinping has sworn in Hong Kong’s new chief executive – John Lee, a former security official – making his first trip outside the mainland since the coronavirus pandemic kicked off 2019. 

Lee delivered his inaugural address after being officially sworn in on Friday, vowing to boost the territory’s economy and improve its image abroad. 

New government “will enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness and develop the economy,”He said that, and added: “Emphasis will be put on the development of Hong Kong into an international innovation and technology hub, leveraging and combining the respective strengths of Hong Kong and the Mainland.”

Although Xi was not able to attend a traditional flag raising event, he performed the swearing-in ceremony just one day before arriving in Hong Kong. The president has not left mainland China since 2019, and his last trip to Hong Kong came in 2017, when he swore in the city’s previous leader Carrie Lam.

China tells G7 to mind its own business

Speaking after Lee formally took office, Xi touted Beijing’s ‘one country, two systems’ policy, intended to allow some autonomy for the former British colony while keeping it part of China-proper.

“For this kind of good system, there is no reason at all to change it. It must be maintained over the long term,”He stated.

Friday was also the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, more than 150 years after it had been ruled by the United Kingdom. Although Beijing promised that Hong Kong would enjoy a form self-rule for 50 years after 1997’s handover, Western leaders accuse China of reducing that autonomy. This was primarily due to a 2020 national security bill that China passed following mass protests, rioting, and other violations of international law. 

Lee, a former security chief and Hong Kong’s top officials, is currently under US sanctions for violating the law. He helped implement it. China rejected the criticisms, but Xi insisted it “restored order from chaos” while preserving residents’ “democratic rights.”

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