Hong Kong has 'risen from the ashes', China's Xi Jinping says on rare visit

The President will swear in the global financial hub’s new leader John Lee



China's President Xi Jinping speaks following his arrival via high-speed rail across the border in Hong Kong on June 30, 2022, for celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. Photo: AFP
China's President Xi Jinping speaks following his arrival via high-speed rail across the border in Hong Kong on June 30, 2022, for celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. Photo: AFP

By Reuters

Published: Thu 30 Jun 2022, 2:11 PM

Hong Kong has overcome its challenges and “risen from the ashes”, China’s President Xi Jinping said on Thursday, as he arrived in the former British colony to celebrate 25 years since its return to Chinese rule.

Xi will swear in the global financial hub’s new leader, John Lee, on Friday during his first visit to the city since 2017, which is also his first known trip outside the mainland in more than two years, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wearing masks, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, stepped off a high-speed train to be greeted by children waving flowers and Chinese and Hong Kong flags and chanting “Welcome, welcome, warmly welcome” in Mandarin.

“Hong Kong has withstood severe tests again and again, overcoming challenges one by one,” Xi said during a brief speech. “After the wind and rain, Hong Kong has risen from the ashes.”

Authorities organised a lion dance celebration while a police band played. Security was tight at the train station with police making stop-and-search checks, assisted by sniffer dogs.

Outgoing city leader Carrie Lam and her husband were among those who welcomed Xi at the station, which has not been used for two years because of Covid restrictions.

City streets were festooned with red China flags and posters declaring a “new era” of stability.

Xi’s full official schedule for the visit has not been released. It was not immediately clear if the celebrations would be affected by an expected typhoon.

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