Beijing warns Hong Kong marchers not to challenge mainland rule

Hong Kong Chief Executive Lam Cheng  lines up with her new members of cabinet during a news conference in Hong Kong. PTI

President Xi Jinping today warned against "impermissible" challenges to China's authority over Hong Kong and said any attempt to question Beijing's sovereignty in the former British colony would cross a "red line".

The remarks on Friday came a day after UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson stressed Britain's commitment to the historic Sino-Britain Joint Declaration, which gave Hong Kong rights unseen on the mainland through a "one country, two systems" agreement.

A Chinese flag remains flying after a British flag was lowered at the midnight handover ceremony in Hong Kong on July 1, 1997AP Photo/Kimimasa MayamaOn July 1, 1997, Hong Jong officially became a part of China again after more than 150 years of British rule.

Xi said that any threats to the authority of China's communist party government "cross the red line and are absolutely impermissible".

President Xi arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday for celebrations marking the return of the special administrative region to China.

Lau said many have high hopes for Lam who has said "she wants to heal the wounds, work with the pro-democracy people, as well as the pro-Beijing camp. but the big question is whether Xi Jinping and the liaison office in Hong Kong will allow her to do it".

His trip is his first since becoming leader in 2013 and comes three years after mass pro-democracy rallies crippled parts of the city for months.

The idea that there's a force in Hong Kong sabotaging China or challenging its sovereignty is "ludicrous", said Avery Ng of the League of Social Democrats, a small pro-democracy party.

A proposal to include patriotic education in Hong Kong schools met with huge protests in 2012 and has since been shelved.

Ahead of Mr Xi's arrival, 26 pro-democracy activist were arrested and detained for trying to scale an iconic statue symbolising the take-over.

Hong Kong's destiny had always been closely tied to mainland China, Xi said, until China's corrupt imperial Qing rulers made lives miserable for its people. She said the problems wouldn't be solved overnight but she pledged to bring a new style of governance to restore social harmony.Hong Kong was a vibrant global metropolis that was just, safe and efficient, but it needed to diversify its economy to create quality jobs, especially for young people, she said.

They're people like Weiqi Zhu, a derivatives trader at UBS in Hong Kong.

It has also coincided with the inauguration of new chief executive Carrie Lam, who is seen by detractors as a puppet to Beijing.

Ron Wong, 17, who was marching with his parents, said Xi's visit had been a "show of power of who's in charge".

Weiqi Zhu, an equity derivatives trader in Hong Kong, is one of an increasing number of financial sector employees from mainland China who are dominating the city's banking sector.

Lam's term will be divisive as it is likely that Beijing will press her to pass a controversial National Security law that would prevent treason, succession, sedition and subversion against the Central People's Government.

Cheah Cheng Hye, co-chief investment officer of asset management company Value Partners, said Hong Kong-listed stocks are still relatively cheap because they trade at about 14 times earnings capacity.

He added that Hong Kong had "more extensive democratic rights and freedoms than at any other time in its history". " The "two-country system" is eroding, sometimes subtly, sometimes much more direct, but the fact is that China is not respecting it and will not survive much longer", says Chan Kin-man, Professor Of Sociology and co-founder of the movement Central Occupy, to THE WORLD.

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