Xi Jinping is leaving China’s mainland for the first time since the outbreak began

Xi is expected to spend two days at the financial center and attend a series of official events marking the July 1 handover and the inauguration of John Lee, the city’s next chief of staff, the former police officer and security chief.

Nearly 900 days after Shi’s last left the mainland on January 17, 2020, his diplomatic activities have been limited to virtual summits and video conferences, which give particular importance to his trip to Hong Kong.

Shi arrived in the city on Thursday afternoon by high-speed train from the Chinese border town of Shenzhen, where he was greeted by a large crowd waving national flags and chanting “Welcome, welcome, warm welcome.”

He was then carried on the red carpet, where colorful lion dancers, drums, chants and trumpets were assembled.

Xi was first greeted by outgoing Hong Kong chief executive Gary Lam and his top officials. After exchanging a few words, Xi and his delegation slowly made their way through the station, waving to the crowd and talking to the other officers present.

“It’s been more than five years since I last moved to Hong Kong. For the past five years, I’m been very focused and caring in Hong Kong,” Xi later said in a short speech.

“For the past few years, Hong Kong has been facing severe trials one after another, overcoming one danger after another. After facing the storms, Hong Kong emerged with vigor from the ashes.”

Exit the cov bubble

Ji’s arrival coincides with forecasts of a hurricane bringing strong winds and rain, and comes after several weeks of uncertainty as to whether he is in danger of leaving the mainland. China’s tough zero-coveted bubbleNow go to the city where more than 1,000 new Govt cases are reported a day.
Under Xi, China Stands alone from the world The country adopts a zero tolerance approach to the virus as international borders are closed and travel is strictly curtailed.
During a symbolic visit to China’s central city of Wuhan, Xi reaffirmed the policy on Wednesday The virus first appeared In late 2019, the state news agency Xinhua reported that it would “temporarily sacrifice a little economic growth” rather than “harm to the health of the people.”

“If we calculate the total costs and benefits, our Govt policies are very economical and effective,” G said, adding that China has the potential to continue its zero Govt approach “until the ultimate victory”.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, has been hit hard Beijing is uncompromising Health policies, the implementation of strict isolation and border controls, as well as forced social distance measures, have so far avoided prolonged lockdowns across the city or mandatory mass inspections found in major cities. Shanghai And Cyan.

Prior to Ji’s arrival, Hong Kong imposed a variety of Govt restrictions. As of last week, top officials have been banned from attending public events and the use of private vehicles while traveling. They are subjected to daily Govt checks and are expected to spend Thursday night in an isolated hotel before the handover ceremony on Friday.

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Arriving in a changed city

Xi last traveled to Hong Kong in 2017 to mark his 20th anniversary, when he met in the streets full of pro-democracy protesters.

But no protests were expected this year. Most of them Hong Kong Democratic Support Groups They were disbanded two years ago following the enactment of the city’s widespread National Security Act.

Subsequent repression led to the imprisonment or deportation of almost all of Hong Kong’s leading pro-democracy figures, activists and politicians.

An art installation has been set up at the port to mark the 25th anniversary on July 1st.

Of the remaining organizations, no one has applied for permission to hold peaceful protests during Ji’s visit, police said. The League of Social Democrats, one of the few remaining pro-democracy political parties, said it would not hold any protests after several members met with the National Security Police.

The Hong Kong government has repeatedly defended the National Security Act, saying it will restore order in the city, which was rocked by pro-democracy, anti-government protests in 2019.

Places closed, aircraft restricted area

Without any chance, the police have beefed up security and closed areas near key locations. Pedestrian sidewalks, highways and a train station in some of Hong Kong’s busiest areas are temporarily closed on Thursdays and Fridays.

While drone use has been banned throughout Ji’s arrival, a no-fly zone has been established across the city’s port.

The authorities also have Largely restricted media accessFor s handover celebrations, the open reporting environment and the freewheeling of the past years are far removed from the local press.
China throws media shield around Xi's visit to Hong Kong

According to the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), at least 10 journalists working for local and international organizations have had their applications covered, including events that have been rejected “for security reasons”.

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“The HKJA is deeply saddened by the harsh reporting arrangements made by the authorities for such an important event, as the media has not been able to send journalists to the ground,” the press team said on Tuesday.

Kathleen Macro of CNN contributed to the reporting.

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