World

Xi backs efforts to curb HK independence

BEIJING: China strongly supports the Hong Kong government's moves to curb efforts to promote independence, President Xi Jinping said yesterday.

Chinese leaders are increasingly concerned about a fledgling independence movement and recent protests in the former British colony that returned to mainland rule in 1997.

Mr Xi told Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying in a meeting in Beijing's Zhongnanhai leadership compound that the central government fully affirms Mr Leung's work, state news agency Xinhua said.

"The central government staunchly supports the government of the special administrative region in curbing the activities of Hong Kong independence," Xinhua quoted Mr Xi as saying.

SUCCESS

Hong Kong's success under the "one country, two systems" agreement, under which it returned to Beijing's rule, has been obvious for all to see, Mr Xi added, though he admitted not all was plain sailing.

"'One country, two systems' is a new undertaking, and it's normal that in its practice, new situations and problems may arise," he said, without elaborating.

Hong Kong was developing stably economically, politically and in society, and Beijing wants its people to be happy and its society harmonious, Mr Xi added.

Mr Leung said earlier this month he would not stand for re-election in a 2017 vote for chief executive for family reasons, in a surprise move.

Mr Xi said he respected that decision and praised him for his work. - REUTERS

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