China: Hong Kong celebrates return anniversary with flag ceremony

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    “One country, two systems” has actually been the motto for Hong Kong’s seven million residents since it was returned in 1997. In the meantime, however, many critics only speak of “one country, one system”.

    Celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the return of the former British crown colony to China in 1997 began with a flag ceremony in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong flag was hoisted alongside the Chinese national flag at a ceremony in Victoria Harbour.

    For the second year in a row, the Hong Kong Police Honor Guard marched in the Chinese goose-step rather than the British style. Actually, big protests were always common on the anniversary. However, after the introduction of a strict security law, no protest march has been scheduled for the third year in a row.

    After being returned to the People’s Republic on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was governed under the principle of “one country, two systems”. The seven million Hong Kongers were also promised at the time that they would be able to enjoy a “high degree of autonomy” and many political freedoms by 2047. After the security law was passed, however, many critics only spoke of “one country, one system”.

    John Lee, who will replace Hong Kong Prime Minister Carrie Lam, will also be sworn in as part of the anniversary celebrations. China’s President Xi Jinping made a two-day visit to the Asian financial center on Thursday to mark the celebrations.