‘HK cannot afford to be in chaos,’ warns Xi Jinping as he inaugurates city’s new leader John Lee and his cabinet

Screengrab of Hong Kong’s Information Services Department’s Facebook video
Screengrab of Hong Kong’s Information Services Department’s Facebook video

Hong Kong cannot afford to be in chaos or allow delays to its development, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned as he attended the city’s 25th anniversary celebrations and inaugurated its new administration led by John Lee on Friday. 

The Chinese leader’s two-day visit to Hong Kong on Thursday and Friday is his first trip away from the mainland since 2020, when Covid-19 began to spread rapidly. But he did not stay overnight in the city, opting to return to Shenzhen immediately after each day’s events.

In his speech after officiating the inauguration ceremony, Xi said that everyone had been hurt after going through a turmoil, appearing to reference the protests in 2019 and 2020, which were sometimes violent. 

“Hong Kong cannot afford to be in chaos,” he said.

The Chinese leader added that the city’s development cannot be delayed and that all kinds of “interference need to be eliminated.”

Xi also highlighted the need to care for youth in particular, adding that Hong Kong will have a future if the youth have a future. 

To do so, he said authorities need to help them understand the country. 

In his speech, Xi also said Hong Kong’s democratic system is in line with the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. 

He described the policy as a great, never-before-seen invention, adding there is “no reason for it to change.” 

Earlier, newly sworn-in Chief Executive John Lee pledged that his cabinet will take proactive steps and “intervene when a problem germinates,” even if it means “just solving one problem a day.”

He added that the government will have people at the heart of its policies.

Despite the poor weather in the city, the flag-raising ceremony and the officials’ inauguration were carried out smoothly. New Chief Secretary Eric Chan and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang, who both recently recovered from Covid-19, were able to be sworn in.

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