China swears in new Hong Kong leader — RT World News

President Xi Jinping led a swearing-in ceremony as China marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to 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 began in 2019.

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

The new government « will improve Hong Kong’s competitiveness and develop the economy », he said, adding that « The focus will be on developing Hong Kong into an international center of innovation and technology, leveraging and combining the respective strengths of Hong Kong and the mainland. »

Although Xi did not attend a traditional flag raising to mark the occasion, he presided over the swearing-in ceremony after arriving in Hong Kong the day before. The president has not left mainland China since 2019, and his last trip to Hong Kong was in 2017, when he was sworn in to the city’s former leader, Carrie Lam.

Speaking after Lee took office, Xi touted Beijing’s « one country, two systems » policy, intended to allow the former British colony some autonomy while keeping it within China proper.

“For this kind of good system, there is no reason to change it. It needs to be sustained over the long term. » he said.

Friday also marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese governance, after the UK ruled the region for more than 150 years. Although Beijing has sworn that Hong Kong would have some form of autonomy and judicial independence for at least 50 years after the transfer in 1997, Western leaders have accused China of restricting this autonomy, including with a national security law. of 2020 passed following mass protests and riots.

A former security chief, Lee is among several senior Hong Kong officials under US sanctions over the law, which he helped implement. China, however, dismissed criticism of the legislation, with Xi insisting that it « order restored from chaos » while preserving the inhabitants « democratic rights ».

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