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Hong Kong ‘reborn of fire’: Xi says as ex-UK colony marks return to China

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
China's President Xi Jinping speaks upon his arrival via high-speed rail, ahead of the 25th anniversary of the former British colony's handover to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, on June, 30, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

China's president has said Hong Kong had been “reborn of fire” as he visits the city to mark the 25th anniversary of the former British colony’s return to Beijing’s rule.

“In the past period, Hong Kong has experienced more than one serious test, and overcome more than one risk and challenge,” President Xi Jinping said on his Thursday speech, adding that “after the storms, Hong Kong has been reborn of fire and emerged with robust vitality.”

Xi was welcomed by the city’s top officials including outgoing chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and the incoming CE John Lee Ka-chiu, after stepping off a high-speed train.

“The whole Chinese nation is celebrating this happy occasion with Hong Kong residents. The last time I came to Hong Kong was five years ago. During these five springs and autumns, I have been paying attention to Hong Kong and thinking of Hong Kong,” Xi said.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city has been governed under the "one-country, two-system" model since the city was returned to China in 1997.

“The facts have proved that one country, two systems has great vitality. It can guarantee long-term stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, and defend the well-being of Hong Kong people,” Xi said. 

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