NewsWorldXi Jinping leaves mainland China for the first time...

Xi Jinping leaves mainland China for the first time since the start of the pandemic

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The significance of the Biden-Xi Jinping meeting 1:23 (CNN) — Xi Jinping left mainland China for the first time since the start of the pandemic, arriving in Hong Kong on Thursday ahead of the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover. British to Chinese rule. Xi is expected to spend two days in the financial center and attend a series of official events to mark both the July 1 handover and the inauguration ceremony of the city’s next Beijing-appointed leader, John Lee, a former official. police officer and head of security. In the nearly 900 days since Xi last left mainland China on Jan. 17, 2020, his diplomatic activities have been limited to virtual summits and video conferences, lending special significance to his trip to China. Hong Kong. Xi arrived in the city on Thursday afternoon (local), via a high-speed train from the Chinese border city of Shenzhen, where he was greeted by a large crowd waving national flags and chanting in unison: “Welcome, welcome! a warm welcome.” He was then led down a red carpet as colorful lion dancers joined the din of drums, chants and trumpets. Xi was first received by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her top officials. After exchanging a few words, Xi and his delegation slowly made their way through the station, waving to the crowd and talking to other officials present. “It has been more than five years since my last visit to Hong Kong. In the past five years, I have paid much attention to and cared about Hong Kong,” Xi said in a brief speech afterwards. “In recent years, Hong Kong has withstood one severe test after another and overcame one risk and one challenge after another. After weathering the storms, Hong Kong has risen from the ashes with vigorous vitality.” China tests everything against covid-19 and even monitors North Korea’s air 3:34 Getting out of the covid bubble Xi’s arrival coincides with forecasts of a typhoon that will bring strong winds and rains, and it comes after weeks of uncertainty over whether he would risk leaving mainland China’s strict zero-covid bubble to travel to a city now registering more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day. Under Xi, China remains isolated from the world by applying a zero-tolerance approach to the virus, with the country’s international borders closed and travel strictly restricted. Xi reaffirmed this policy on Wednesday during a symbolic visit to Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus first emerged in late 2019, saying he would rather “temporarily sacrifice a little bit of economic growth” than “harm the health of the people.” people,” according to the state news agency Xinhua. “If we calculate the total costs and benefits, our Covid policies are the most economical and effective,” Xi said, adding that China had the ability to continue its zero-Covid approach “until final victory.” Although Hong Kong has been heavily influenced by Beijing’s uncompromising health policies, enforcing strict border and quarantine controls as well as imposed social distancing measures, it has so far avoided the kind of prolonged city-wide lockdowns or mandatory mass testing. seen in mainland cities like Shanghai and Xi’an. Before Xi’s visit, Hong Kong imposed a series of Covid restrictions. Since last week, senior officials have been banned from attending public events and have been restricted from using private vehicles when traveling. They have also been tested daily for covid, and must spend the night of this Thursday in a quarantine hotel before the ceremony this Friday. Xi Jinping arrives in a changed city The last time Xi visited Hong Kong to commemorate the handover was in 2017, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary, when he found the streets full of pro-democracy protesters. But this year no protests are expected. Most of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy groups have disbanded following the enactment of the city’s sweeping national security law two years ago. The subsequent crackdown saw almost all of Hong Kong’s leading pro-democracy figures, including activists and politicians, jailed or forced into exile. Of the remaining organizations, none have applied for permission to stage peaceful protests during Xi’s trip, according to police. The League of Social Democrats, one of the few surviving pro-democracy political parties, said it would not organize any protests after several members met with national security police. The Hong Kong government has repeatedly defended the national security law, saying it has restored order to the city, which was rocked by pro-democracy and anti-government protests in 2019. Closed places, no-fly zone Police take no chances it has tightened security and closed off areas near the main venues. Pedestrian walkways, roads and a train station in some of Hong Kong’s busiest areas have been temporarily closed for Thursday and Friday. A no-fly zone has also been established at the city’s port and the use of drones has been restricted during Xi’s visit. The authorities have also severely restricted media access to the handover celebrations, a far cry from the open news environment and free local press of previous years. According to the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA), at least ten journalists working for local and international organizations had their applications to cover the events rejected for “security reasons”. “Faced with the impossibility of the media sending journalists on the ground, the HKJA greatly regrets the rigidity of the information arrangements adopted by the authorities for such an important event,” the press group said on Tuesday. CNN’s Kathleen Magramo contributed her information.

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