Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong today for the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover to mainland China.
The United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997. The trip marks Xi’s first time crossing China’s borders since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2020. China continues to push for its zero-COVID policy which has recently seen total lockdowns of Beijing and Shanghai.
Xi Jinping’s visit further coincides with the swearing in of Hong Kong’s new chief executive, John Lee. Hong Kong’s new leader is expected to heed Beijing’s tightened grip on dissent given the implementation of the Hong Kong Security Law in 2020 and a subsequent reform last year which only allows “patriots” to run the government.
Xi looks to save face and maintain stability amid the country’s failing zero-Covid policy, part of his vision of “national rejuvenation” for China, but also for the autonomous region of Hong Kong. John Lee’s Beijing loyalism and the 25th anniversary of China’s de-facto rule over Hong Kong is therefore symbolic in advance of Xi Jinping’s expected assent to a third term as the General Secretary of the CCP and China’s paramount leader later this year.
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Sabrine is an Analyst for Foreign Brief and a graduate student at Yonsei University in South Korea, specializing in foreign policy and security in East Asia. Previously, she contributed as a freelance writer for online publications and worked as a sub-editor for the Daily NK.