China: Joint HK declaration with United Kingdom has no value

China: Joint HK declaration with United Kingdom has no value

China: Joint HK declaration with United Kingdom has no value

In a speech marking 20 years since the city became a semi-autonomous Chinese region after its handover from Britain, Xi pledged Beijing's support for the "one country, two systems" blueprint, under which Hong Kong controls many of its own affairs and retains civil liberties including free speech. And now, there were a couple thousand people who showed up to that.

That, combined with Xi's visit, had sharpened the mood for this year's march, said one veteran participant, retiree David Tse.

"China has barricaded itself off (from criticism)", he said. The news that Nobel prize victor and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is terminally ill and has only recently been granted medical parole has been another source of discontent. The plan was voted down by pro-democracy lawmakers and the reform process has since stalled, with Lam making no commitment to revisit it anytime soon.

London held on to Hong Kong far longer than most of its other colonies as it waited for a 99-year lease, signed in 1898, to expire.

"I think we managed to get Xi's attention", said the 39-year-old, who was wearing a chair with Liu Xiaobo's name on it.

Xi praised the Hong Kong government under Beijing-backed leader Leung Chun-ying, saying it had "effectively tackled Hong Kong independence forces and maintained social stability". The new leader vowed to work towards healing the city state's divided society, which has been separated between pro-Beijing and pro-democracy campaigners.

Several pro-democracy groups protested against Xi's visit and scuffled with pro-China organisations and police. He was later released.

Ng said the goals of the thugs and the police are "aligned". About 10,000 or a third of the city's police officers were mobilised.

At a gala event Friday night, Xi urged Hong Kongers to unite and build on the progress made by previous generations.

"In the 20 years since Hong Kong was returned to the motherland, the success of 'one country, two systems' is recognized by the whole world", Xi said.

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Lam was selected by a pro-China committee, as were her predecessors, and is already being cast by critics as a China stooge in a city where many are angry at Beijing's tightening grip on the freedoms of its almost eight million people.

Today, Xi will preside over the 20th-anniversary ceremony just a few meters from where the "Umbrella Movement" took place, and a speech will be given on which the future of the rebellious city is expected.

These themes unite the images to tell Hong Kong's narrative.

Lam has indicated she may revive efforts to pass a controversial anti-sedition law known as Article 23.

He also warned against anyone endangering Hong Kong's Constitution or using the city "to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland".

China's apparent willingness to renege on its obligations to Hong Kong was discussed by Chris Patten, Hong Kong's final British governor, when he spoke to TIME last month.

Many locals fear the law could be the final nail in the coffin for the city's autonomy from China.

He said that growing concerns over Liu and Beijing's recent claim that the Sino-British Joint Declaration no longer has any realistic meaning could spark more people to take to the streets.

A police helicopter patrols behind Hong Kong flag as Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves the hotel, ahead of 20th anniversary of the handover from Britain to China, in Hong Kong, June 29, 2017.

While the Hong Kong Chinese also helped transform food culture in Vancouver, Yu said their arrival also bred resentment from others, including Chinese immigrants who preceded them.

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