China’s Xi talks tough on Hong Kong
Chinese President Xi Jinping swore in Hong Kong’s new leader on Saturday with a stark warning that Beijing would not tolerate challenges to its authority in the divided city as it marked the 20th anniversary of its return from Britain to China.
Police blocked roads, preventing pro-democracy protesters from getting to the harbour-front venue close to where the last colonial governor, Chris Patten, tearfully handed back Hong Kong to China in the pouring rain in 1997.
“Any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government ... or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line and is absolutely impermissible,” Xi said.
He also referred to the “humiliation and sorrow” China suffered during the first Opium War in the 1840s, which led to the ceding of Hong Kong to the British.
Hong Kong has been racked by demands for full democracy and, more recently, by calls from some pockets of protesters for independence, a subject that is anathema to Beijing.