The Chinese Communist Party places great importance on anniversaries, and the trip presented Xi with an opportunity to emphasise China’s authority over Hong Kong after three years of political upheaval there.
Ted Hui, a former opposition lawmaker who fled overseas in 2020 after being arrested multiple times, said Xi’s remark that “true democracy” only began after the handover was “a lie”.
Supporters of China sing patriotic songs and wave flags in Hong Kong during a visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping. Source: AAP / Jerome Favre
“As early as the 1970s and 1980s, Hong Kong people had started our own democracy movement, and begun to develop our civil society,” he told AFP.
She agreed that now, the city had “lost both freedoms and democracy”.
‘Clear and solid’
Lee said Mr Xi’s remarks were a “very clear and very solid” declaration.
“He was behind the biggest changes,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre), his wife Peng Liyuan (second from left) and Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee (left) depart the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link in Hong Kong. Credit: Hong Kong Government Information Services
“(Mr Xi’s) speech was just a to-do list for John Lee, I don’t think he was addressing Hong Kongers like me.”
“He doesn’t care what young people themselves want.”
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