Xi Jinping will make his first journey outdoors of the Chinese language mainland for the reason that begin of the pandemic greater than two years in the past to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Hong Kong chief govt John Lee.
The Chinese language president shall be at Lee’s aspect when the previous safety minister and policeman takes over the helm of the Hong Kong authorities from Carrie Lam on July 1.
On Saturday, state media company Xinhua confirmed Xi’s attendance after hypothesis that he would skip Lee’s signing-in ceremony due to an uptick in coronavirus instances within the metropolis.
Xi has prevented any journey that would put him susceptible to contracting the virus. He has not left China since January 2020, when he went to Myanmar for a state journey simply days earlier than Wuhan, the place the virus was first detected, went into lockdown.
China is the one massive international economic system that has resolutely maintained a strict zero-Covid stance, leaving the nation more and more remoted as the remainder of the world adapts to dwelling with the virus. Xi has joined essential world summits, together with the COP26 local weather convention in Glasgow final September, through video hyperlink.
That Xi has chosen Lee’s swearing-in ceremony to mark his first journey outdoors of the Chinese language mainland underscores the political significance of the event, which additionally falls on the twenty fifth anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China.
This yr marks the midway level of the 50 years of “one nation, two methods” autonomy that Beijing assured to Hong Kong, which critics say has been undermined by China’s mounting political interference within the metropolis.
The July 1 anniversary in 2019 was marked by mass protests when demonstrators broke into town’s legislature to rally towards China’s affect over Hong Kong.
Town has modified dramatically for the reason that summer season of protests rocked the monetary hub, sparking a harsh crackdown on civic and political life in Hong Kong. Professional-democracy politicians, activists and journalists have been rounded up by authorities and prosecuted beneath a imprecise nationwide safety legislation imposed by Beijing two years in the past.
Xi’s go to will mark his first go to to Hong Kong for the reason that outbreak of the protests.
The announcement coincided with an increase in coronavirus instances within the Chinese language territory following the emergence of the Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1. Town reported 1,860 infections on Friday.
Metropolis authorities have reintroduced the controversial measure of forcing Covid sufferers and their shut contacts into centralised quarantine to curb the unfold of the virus.
Hong Kong officers and lawmakers attending the ceremony will quarantine forward of the swearing-in ceremony to protect the Chinese language president from an infection.