Hong Kong’s leader visits China, addresses violent protests

BEIJING, China (NBC) – Hong Kong’s leader has paid her first visit to Beijing since Hong Kong voters rebuked her handling of anti-government protests, electing pro-democracy candidates in local elections.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam met in the Chinese capital today Monday with president Xi Jinping.

Xi said that Hong Kong has faced its “most severe and complex” year since the former British colony was returned to China.

He gave firm support to Lam’s handling of the past six months of often violent protests.

Xi praised Lam for courage during what he called an “extraordinary period” for Hong Kong.

After meeting with xi, lam spoke to reporters, calling 2019 a “rather special year.”

“This year is a rather special one because in the last six months, Hong Kong has been haunted by the social unrest, disturbances and violent acts,” Lam said. “So I spend a bit more time to give them [Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping] an account of where things stand. And of course, in the opening remarks, they also made comments particularly on this phenomenon.”

Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework that promised the city more democratic rights than are allowed on the mainland.

In recent years, however, the arrests of booksellers and activists have stoked fears of a growing encroachment by the ruling Communist Party.

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