Xi Jinping: Chinese president makes first ever visit to Hong Kong
China / June 29, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Hong Kong to mark 20 years since it was handed back to China by Britain. His highly symbolic visit, his first since becoming leader in 2013, comes amid an increasingly tense political climate. Official celebrations are planned, as well as large protests from pro-democracy and pro-Beijing camps. Several well-known activists were arrested on the eve of Mr Xi’s arrival. The group, which included student leader Joshua Wong, had staged a protest at an iconic sculpture symbolising the handover. The golden sculpture of a bauhinia flower – Hong Kong’s emblem – by the city’s harbour was a gift from China. Media captionSeveral high-profile democracy protesters were arrested on Wednesday Mr Xi arrived for the three-day visit with his wife Peng Liyuan at the city’s main Chek Lap Kok airport. The couple was welcomed by a marching band and children waving flags. In a brief speech at the tarmac, he said Hong Kong “is always in my heart”. Beijing’s central government “has always been a strong backer of Hong Kong” and “will, as always, support Hong Kong’s economic development and improvement of people’s lives”, he said. He also said Beijing was “willing to work with…