China’s Xi Calls for ‘Closer Emotional Bond’ With Hong Kong


(Bloomberg) — President Xi Jinping said people in Hong Kong and on the mainland should develop “a closer emotional bond,” comments that come before the Chinese leader’s potential visit to the city.

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Xi made the call in a letter Sunday to the Beijing-friendly newspaper Ta Kung Pao on its 120th anniversary, saying it had “unequivocally sent out positive notes and helped forge social consensus, thus contributing to maintaining Hong Kong’s stability.”

The newspaper should “carry forward its patriotic traditions,” Xi wrote, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, and “contribute more to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.”

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Xi’s remarks come amid apparent preparations for him to visit the city that his government has done so much to change since large and sometimes violent protests in 2019. The election system has been revamped, arrested and the once-vibrant media scene has been tamed, most notably by forcing the closure of Apple Daily and jailing Jimmy Lai, whose Next Digital Ltd. published the pro-democracy newspaper.

Officials in Hong Kong appear to be preparing for Xi, 68, to visit on July 1 for the anniversary of its handover to China. The city is preparing to isolate about 1,000 people — including Chief Executive-elect John Lee and outgoing leader Carrie Lam — before the celebrations. Similar preparations were being made involving primary school students who would apparently attend an event involving the president.

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