Xi Says Challenges To Chinese Stability Are "Absolutely Impermissible"

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"Self-determination" and pro-Beijing groups taunted each other, with hundreds of police deployed on a traditional day of protest in Hong Kong. Those calls were ignored by Beijing and Xi indicated there would be no giving ground in the future, frustrating many young people and deepening divisions.

In his address at an inaugural ceremony of the fifth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Xi said that Hong Kong can not afford to be torn apart by reckless moves or internal rift amid the intense global competition.

As a result, the number of mainland-owned brokerages in Hong Kong has surpassed their local and foreign peers in recent years.

Visiting Hong Kong for the first time since he took office, Xi said he would definitely ensure that the "one country, two systems" policy continues stably. "At the same time, there was a strong warning to the localists and the pro-independence people". If for a part of the population this demonstration of force was a source of pride, many others saw in it a veiled message from the Chinese authorities to try to intimidate pro-democracy and pro-independence movements. "I don't think that the outlook outside the European Union is one in which we are more likely to behave honourably towards Hong Kong than we have inside".

"It gives me an option to escape".

In his words, China had made it "categorically clear" in talks with Britain in the 1980s that "sovereignty is not for negotiation".

The young democracy activists are calling for self determination and universal suffrage, but unlike the older generation of opposition politicians, they have questioned the validity of Hong Kong's Basic Law and constitution.

They demanded the release of cancer-stricken Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who remains on medical parole on the mainland, and that China take responsibility for the brutal Tiananmen crackdown against student democracy protesters in Beijing in 1989.

Police blocked roads, preventing pro-democracy protesters from getting near to the harbour-front venue where Mr Xi swore in the new chief executive, not far from where the last colonial governor Chris Patten tearfully handed back Hong Kong - again in the pouring rain - in 1997.

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But in a stark and surprising announcement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong, which laid the blueprint over how the city would be ruled after 1997, no longer had any practical significance.

The Chinese premier's speech was followed by Lam's address to her people.

But making the statue disappear, even temporarily, was a symbolically powerful act.

Lam, speaking in Mandarin instead of the Cantonese dialect widely used in Hong Kong and southern China, said she wanted to create a harmonious society and bring down astronomical housing prices that have also sown social discord.

The official transcript of Xi's speech was printed in the mainland's simplified characters instead of Hong Kong's traditional complex characters.

As the national anthem played, helicopters flew overhead with vast Chinese and Hong Kong flags.

Lam prevailed over a much more popular rival in an election decried by many as fundamentally undemocratic, with only a fraction of a percent of Hong Kong's more than 3 million registered voters taking part.

Hon says he'll never change his political beliefs, but when it comes to business, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

But if protesters this week had hoped to catch Xi's attention, it wasn't reflected in his remarks during his visit, which took a hard line on dissent.

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