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Montevideo, August 17th 2022 - 02:00 UTC

 

 

Xi at Hong Kong 25th anniversary of handover; Truss criticizes Beijing's breach of the former colony's freedoms

Saturday, July 2nd 2022 - 09:18 UTC
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“After reuniting with the motherland, Hong Kong's people became the masters of their own city,” Xi said at the inauguration of the city's new government. “After reuniting with the motherland, Hong Kong's people became the masters of their own city,” Xi said at the inauguration of the city's new government.

China's president, Xi Jinping, amid a massive security presence was the main figure at a tightly choreographed celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to Beijing. From London Foreign Secretary Liz Truss criticized China for breaching the legally-binding commitments it signed to support the former British colony's autonomy and freedoms, and implementing a fierce repression.

“After reuniting with the motherland, Hong Kong's people became the masters of their own city,” Xi said at the inauguration of the city's new government. Incoming chief executive John Lee was sworn in as part of the festivities. “Hong Kong's true democracy started from here.”

Celebrations kicked off with a flag-raising event at Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor. Lee watched as helicopters flew overhead with the flags of China and Hong Kong. A flotilla sprayed plumes of water as soldiers hoisted both flags.

Xi arrived in Hong Kong a day earlier by the high-peed train, but spent the night in the neighboring mainland city of Shenzhen.

It was Xi's first trip out of mainland China since the beginning of the COVID pandemic and the first to Hong Kong since 2017, when he last took part in the July 1 celebrations.

Xi defended Hong Kong's “one country, two systems” formula of governance, saying it was successful under China's “comprehensive jurisdiction.”

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

Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997. For years, the handover anniversary was marked with peaceful pro-democracy protests by tens of thousands of people. This year, however, authorities are clamping down to eliminate public opposition to China's rule over the financial hub.

Authorities deployed a massive security force across the city ahead of Lee's swearing-in. Lee, the city's former security chief, has been sanctioned by the United States over his role in implementing the 2020 national security law, which drastically redefined the definitions of criminal acts like “secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers.”

From London, Foreign Secretary Truss, said that July first marks 25 years since the handover of Hong Kong. China agreed under the legally-binding Sino-British Joint Declaration to uphold Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms.

“However, we have seen a steady erosion of political and civil rights since the imposition of the National Security Law on 30 June 2020. Authorities have stifled opposition, criminalized dissent and driven out anyone who can speak truth to power.

”The United Kingdom’s historic commitment to Hong Kong and its people endures. That is why we continue to challenge China for breaching the legally-binding commitments it signed up to under the Joint Declaration. We have called out their conduct on the world stage and stood together with our G7 partners in condemning the steady erosion of political and civil rights and Hong Kong’s autonomy.

“The UK has opened its doors to the people of Hong Kong looking for a home where their fundamental rights and freedoms are respected. We offered a new immigration path to British Nationals Overseas, and there have been over 120,000 applications for this route.

”Twenty-five years on, the UK continues to stand unwaveringly with Hong Kong. We are working with our allies and partners as part of a global network of liberty to hold China to its international obligations”.

Categories: Politics, International, Uruguay.

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