Xi visits Hong Kong amid excessive safety and inside a Covid bubble.
HONG KONG — For the reason that pandemic erupted in 2020, China’s high chief, Xi Jinping, has been hunkered down in a virus-free bubble inside his nation’s closed borders. On Thursday, he left the protected confines of the mainland for the primary time, arriving in Hong Kong for a tightly scripted go to aimed toward reinforcing his authority over town.
Mr. Xi started a two-day go to by stepping off a high-speed practice on the West Kowloon station that connects town to the mainland. The station was sealed off by massive crowd-control limitations and a whole lot of cops. Inside, he and his spouse, Peng Liyuan, have been greeted by schoolchildren and supporters who waved flower bouquets and small Chinese language and Hong Kong flags in entrance of billboards that learn, “A New Period: Stability, Prosperity, Alternative.” Lion dancers carried out because the neatly ordered rows of greeters chanted, “Warmly welcome, warmly welcome.”
Mr. Xi has not left China in 29 months, a noticeable halt in worldwide journey for the chief that signifies the nice concern Beijing has concerning the danger of publicity to Covid. In preparation for his go to, Hong Kong erected an elaborate, closed-loop bubble to attempt to maintain the virus out.
Mr. Xi’s resolution to go to Hong Kong regardless of a current rise in infections within the metropolis underscores the significance of signaling his authority over the previous British colony. That is Mr. Xi’s first time in Hong Kong since he enforced a sweeping crackdown on town after pro-democracy protesters mounted a critical problem to Beijing’s rule in 2019.
“Hong Kong has withstood one extreme problem after one other, and overcome one hazard after one other,” he mentioned in a quick speech upon his arrival. “After the storm, Hong Kong has been reborn from the ashes, exhibiting flourishing vitality.”
The carefully choreographed go to, with few publicly introduced particulars and a excessive degree of safety, means that Mr. Xi’s public interactions shall be restricted and protesters shall be stored away, stopping unwelcome surprises.
The authorities arrange safety perimeters round areas the place Mr. Xi was anticipated to go to, putting in non permanent fences and tall, water-filled plastic limitations and shutting roads and public transport stations. Drones have been banned throughout town.
“Though he has not been away from mainland China since early 2020, Xi thinks that, by way of each his status and recognition, it might be good for him to go to only for a number of hours,” mentioned Willy Wo-Lap Lam, an adjunct professor on the Chinese language College of Hong Kong, referring to native information studies that Mr. Xi wouldn’t keep in Hong Kong in a single day and would as a substitute journey again to the bordering Chinese language metropolis of Shenzhen.
Mr. Xi is predicted to attend the swearing-in of town’s subsequent chief, John Lee, a former safety chief, and his authorities on Friday, as each Chinese language chief has accomplished for the reason that metropolis’s official handover ceremony in 1997.
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