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”.
As part of the anniversary celebrations, John Lee was also sworn in, replacing the previous Hong Kong Prime Minister Carrie Lam. China’s President Xi Jinping took the oath of office from the 64-year-old on Friday.
At the beginning of May, a committee loyal to Beijing appointed Lee as the future head of government. As security chief of the former British colony, Lee was largely responsible for crushing the pro-democracy movement.