Hong Kong Leaders Attend Flag-Raising Marking Chinese Rule | World News

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By ZEN SOO, Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s incoming and outgoing leaders attended a flag-raising ceremony Friday marking the 25th anniversary of the return to Chinese rule for the city pulled in recent years under much tighter Communist Party control.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is making his first trip off the mainland in 2 1/2 years, was not present at the ceremony, although he will attend an inauguration ceremony for the new government later Friday.

The several hundred attendees at the flag-raising ceremony included city leader Carrie Lam, former leaders Leung Chun-ying and Donald Tsang, and incoming leader John Lee, who becomes the city’s new chief executive later Friday.

The flag-raising ceremony was held amid strong winds, and police officers carrying the Chinese and Hong Kong flags marched into the Golden Bauhinia Square for the ceremony with the Chinese “goose-stepping” style, replacing a British-style march. Guests stood at attention as the Chinese national anthem was played.

The months of pro-democracy protests in 2019 were seen by China’s ruling Communist Party as just such a threat, and Xi in remarks Thursday evening praised Lam for ending chaos that had gripped the city and for ensuring that only “patriots” would rule Hong Kong.

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