China's Xi Jinping vows to uphold 'one country, two systems' in Hong Kong

China's Xi Jinping vows to uphold 'one country, two systems' in Hong Kong

China Xi Jinping 70th anniversary
China's President Xi Jinping raises a toast at a reception to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sep 30, 2019. (Photo: AFP / NOEL CELIS)

BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed on Monday (Sep 30) to uphold the "one country, two systems" principle in Hong Kong, after months of protests in the semi-autonomous city.

Speaking at a reception in Beijing the night before celebrations to mark the country's 70th anniversary, Xi said the country would "continue to fully and faithfully implement the principles of 'one country, two systems'" in Hong Kong and Macau, allowing them to govern with a "high degree of autonomy".

READ: In divided Hong Kong, pro-China groups hold muted anniversary celebrations

Hong Kong has been plagued by months of unrest over what protesters say are eroding freedoms in the financial hub, which was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

"We are confident that with the full backing of the motherland and the concerted efforts of our fellow Chinese in Hong Kong and Macau who love the motherland ... (Hong Kong) will prosper and progress alongside the mainland," Xi said.

China Xi Jinping 70th anniversary
China's President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at a reception to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sep 30, 2019. (Photo: AFP / NOEL CELIS)

China is preparing for a highly-choreographed anniversary celebration on Oct 1, including a huge military parade and anniversary gala.

Protesters in Hong Kong are hoping to upstage the event with another demonstration on Tuesday, following a weekend of intense clashes with police.

READ: Hong Kong police warn protests on China's National Day will be 'very, very dangerous'

READ: Starbucks becomes latest target of Hong Kong protester rage

Beijing has been positioning the event as a triumphant celebration of its economic growth over the last seven decades, as well as emphasising the importance of a unified territory and nationalism.

"Unity is iron and steel. Unity is a source of strength," Xi said in his speech.

He also referred to the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing still sees as part of its territory awaiting reunification.

"The complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend ... no one and no force can ever stop it," he said.

Source: AFP/gs

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