China’s President Xi Jinping Arrives in Hong Kong as Protesters Are Arrested

China’s President Xi Jinping (L) and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive in Hong Kong on June 29, 2017.

China’s President Xi Jinping underlined his commitment to “one country, two systems” as he arrived in Hong Kong to mark two decades of Chinese rule in the former British territory.

“For the past 20 years, Hong Kong has always had the strong backing of the central government,” Xi said Thursday as he addressed crowds at the city’s airport.

It’s Xi’s first visit as Chinese leader to the special administrative region — from the tarmac, he encouraged Hong Kongers to “look forward to the future, making sure ‘one country, two systems’ can work smoothly and continue,” referring to the principle by which Hong Kong retains limited autonomy and freedoms.

Xi said the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from the UK to China on July 1 is a huge event “for the country, and for Hong Kong.”

Protesters detained
Xi’s first day in Hong Kong was a peaceful one, as predicted protests did not pan out. What rallies there were around town were mostly patriotic ones welcoming the Chinese President with songs and flags.

Huge banners were strung over the highway Xi took to the city, welcoming him for his “official inspection” and celebrating “20 years of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland.”

As Xi arrived at Hong Kong’s Government House Thursday evening, to dine with Chief Executive CY Leung and other dignitaries, groups of pro-China demonstrators thronged a nearby road, wearing red caps and waving the country’s flag.

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SOURCE: CNN, James Griffiths