Skip to main content

China's Hu arrives in Hong Kong for handover anniversary

By the CNN Wire Staff
June 29, 2012 -- Updated 0939 GMT (1739 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hong Kong has prospered since Britain handed it over to China in 1997
  • However, some Hong Kongers are concerned about Beijing's intentions
  • President Hu Jintao arrives in the territory at the start of a three-day visit
  • He will mark the handover's anniversary but also be the focus of protests

Hong Kong (CNN) -- President Hu Jintao of China arrived in Hong Kong on Friday ahead the 15th anniversary of the territory's handover from Britain, an event likely to bring into focus the city's complex feelings about Beijing's influence.

Hong Kong has prospered since its last British governor, Chris Patten, bade the territory a tearful farewell on July 1, 1997. It has benefited from its position as a financial and commercial gateway to China, riding the mainland's spectacular economic boom of the past two decades.

But the economic rewards have been mixed with unease about Beijing's intentions for Hong Kong in the longer term, with concerns about possible threats to freedom of speech and the rule of law.

Some Hong Kongers have also expressed reservations about the effect that mainland Chinese people are having on property prices and public services in the city.

Nonetheless, Hong Kong has its own borders and immigration control, even with China. It has its own currency, its own police force and system of law courts. It has freedom of expression and demonstration to a degree unheard of anywhere on the mainland.

This nuanced situation is expected to be reflected during Hu's three-day visit. He stepped off an Air China plane Friday onto a red carpet to be welcomed by a people wearing red caps and waving Chinese flags.

The outgoing Hong Kong chief executive, Donald Tsang, greeted Hu at Hong Kong Airport, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Hong Kong 15 years later

Also present were other senior officials from the territory, notably the Beijing-backed chief executive-elect of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying. Leung, who has long-standing ties to the mainland, is set to take office on Sunday in Hu's presence.

Open Mic: Hong Kong's identity

The Chinese president is scheduled to attend a string of other events over the next three days, including a flag-raising ceremony, a firework display and a parachute jump by members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

China and Hong Kong: Who needs whom?

Protesters have said they will follow Hu throughout his visit in order to bring attention to human rights abuses in China. They are planning a big demonstration on Sunday afternoon.

One particularly sensitive issue for the protesters is the death this month of Li Wangyang, a high-profile dissident who had spent more than 20 years in jail following his support of the Tiananmen Square student protests in 1989.

Li was found hanging in his hospital room in Shaoyang, Hunan Province, on June 6. The local authorities said he had committed suicide, a claim that friends of the deaf and blind labor rights activist have contested. Hong Kong government officials have also questioned whether Li could have committed suicide.

The Chinese authorities are now investigating his death.

The weather is also threatening to disrupt Hu's visit. Tropical Storm Doksuri was heading across the South China Sea on Friday toward the the Chinese coast near Hong Kong, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. The storm is expected to hit land overnight.

CNN's Jethro Mullen, Tim Schwarz and Hilary Whiteman contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 13, 2014 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
CNN's Brian Stelter talks with CCTV correspondent Jim Spellman on how the Chinese media has covered MH370's mystery.
China's economy has bested many others in just the past 10 years.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 0602 GMT (1402 HKT)
In China, users of the "Life Black Box" website can set up final farewells to their friends in case they suddenly die.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 0532 GMT (1332 HKT)
A recent university study claims Chinese micro-blogging activity might not be as vibrant as expected.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
Chinese art has been fetching some serious cash -- here's how we can elbow into the market
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
A Shanghainese collector paid $36 million for this tiny cup decorated with chickens.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0657 GMT (1457 HKT)
Ben Richardson on corruption in China: a veil of secrecy shrouds the links between power and wealth.
China's economy is slowing and growth in 2014 could fall short of the government's official target, according to a CNNMoney survey of economists.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is the first foreigner to visit the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.
April 7, 2014 -- Updated 0126 GMT (0926 HKT)
If the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 caused a rift in China-Malaysia relations, the two countries appear to have put it behind them.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 0517 GMT (1317 HKT)
Martin Jacques argues that in the twenty-first century, China will challenge our perception of what it is to be modern.
A new survey of university students in China shows where they most want to work. What are the dream employers for Chinese students?
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
What are President Xi Jinping's greatest goals as he visits the EU headquarters in Brussels?
Last year, thousands of Chinese tourists flocked to Yellowstone National Park to view the mountains, the buffalo and Old Faithful.
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
A senior Bloomberg News journalist quit his role earlier this month, saying the "mishandling" by his bosses of a story critical of China was behind his departure.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
"The aim is to let [families of MH370 passengers] express anger while keeping them restrained," says a Chinese official.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
U.S. President Barack Obama's secret weapon in China? Michelle.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 0253 GMT (1053 HKT)
Private schools that employ humanistic pedagogy for young children are becoming popular in China. A look at the factors behind the boom and potential pitfalls.
ADVERTISEMENT