Hong Kong marks 20 years since handover to China

Hong Kong marks twentieth anniversary of being handed over to China amid protests.

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Hong Kong marks 20 years since handover to China

New leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, has been sworn in by the Chinese President. The territory is marking 20 years since its handover to China from Britain.

A series of lavish events, which included a flag-raising ceremony, amid tight security was attended by President Xi Jinping.

However clashes between pro-democracy and pro-Beijing demonstrators took place close to the site and several arrests were made by the police.

In his speech, Mr Xi had said that Hong Kong now enjoyed more freedom than ever before.

This was President Xi’s first visit to the city after becoming leader in 2013. The visit comes three years after mass pro-democracy rallies had crippled parts of the territory for months.

On Saturday, 1st July 2017, lots of scuffles were reported between police and pro-democracy protesters.

According to the pro-democracy party, Demosisto, police had arrested five of its members, along with four members from the League of Social Democrats.

The group claims that among those said by the group to have been arrested was Joshua Wong, who is the leader of the so-called umbrella protest movement.

The demonstration was meant to be a routine demonstration by pro-democracy protesters.

Leaders belonging to the League of Social Democrats and Demosisto had gathered to make their way to the square in the Wanchai district where the flag-raising ceremony was taking place. Greater voting rights for Hong Kong along with the immediate release of the Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo were there demands.

However without warning, scuffles between the demonstrators and the police began abruptly. Suddenly the scenario changed all together, with faces being slammed to the ground. Afterwards pro-Beijing supporters turned up, who were waiving flags and blaring patriotic music. Each side had been shouting abuse at the other.

The confrontation between the two groups continued for an hour, it ended only after the leaders of the pro-democracy demonstration had been led away by the police, who had called it an illegal gathering.

In the meantime, Mr Xi oversaw the swearing in of the newly-elected chief executive of the territory, Carrie Lam, she along with her cabinet was sworn in. Ms Carrie is the first female leader of the territory.

On Saturday, Through a speech the Chinese president said that Hong Kong had now enjoyed more freedom than ever before, however, President Xi also warned against “impermissible” challenges to Beijing’s authority over the city.

Mr Xi added that “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.

It was followed by a ceremony in which the flags of China and Hong Kong were raised alongside one another in order to mark the 20-year anniversary of the city’s handover of British rule.

Helicopters flew overhead as onlookers cheered at the ceremony in Golden Bauhinia Square, central Hong Kong.

Earlier on Friday, 30th June 2017, an official protest zone near the convention centre where Mr Xi was guest of honour at an anniversary banquet and variety performance was heavily patrolled, as demonstrators gathered chanting “end one-party dictatorship.

Concerns have been raised that the Chinese central government is undermining Hong Kong’s more politically liberal traditions, despite the promises it had made to give it a high degree of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” principle.

Campaigners belonging to the pro-democracy group clashed with pro-Beijing supporters near the venue, with police separating the two sides.

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