Protests as Xi Jinping arrives for Hong Kong 20th anniversary
Chinese President’s visit marked by celebrations, arrests and a sit-in
Chinese President Xi Jinping was met with jubilation and demonstrations today on his first trip to Hong Kong in an official visit designed to mark two decades of Chinese rule in the former British territory.
Well-wishers greeted Jinping at the airport, but protesters have been active in the run-up to the visit. Prominent Hong Kong protesters, including Nathan Law and Joshua Wong, were arrested after they staged a sit-in the night before the President's visit.
"For the past 20 years, Hong Kong has always had the strong backing of the central government," the President told crowds at Hong Kong airport on Thursday, encouraging citizens to "look forward to the future, making sure 'one country, two systems' can work smoothly and continue".
About 11,000 officers will be deployed during the visit and areas of the city will be off limits to the public, The Guardian reports.
An annual protest will take place on 1 July, shortly after the President's departure. According to the Daily Telegraph, the protest is "a call for full democracy".
On 1 July 1997, the UK handed control of Hong Kong to China under what is known as a "one country, two systems" formula, which grants a level of autonomy to Hong Kong that differs from mainland China.
Concerns over the democratic rights of Hong Kong citizens have lingered since the 1997 handover. There were mass protests after Beijing's proposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system in 2014. More than 100,000 pro-democracy demonstrators opposed the reforms in what has been dubbed the Umbrella Revolution, due to the activists' usage of umbrellas to protect them from police pepper spray.