Xi spoke Friday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, delivering a keynote address on the 25th anniversary of the Chinese reclamation of Hong Kong.
The speech, which focused on China’s “One Country, Two Systems” policy of governance, made waves in upper levels of Hong Kong finance and politics. Already, the island’s most powerful officials and executives are holding seminars to discuss and learn about the speech. Schools are being encouraged to share the contents of the speech with students and closely study the president’s words.
“All sectors of the community, including the education sector, attach great importance [to the speech],” an Education Bureau spokesperson told the South China Morning Post.
“It is a school-based decision and it is up to principals to decide [whether] to make [studying] Xi’s speech compulsory,” the spokesman continued.
Xi’s visit to Hong Kong made international news as it was the president’s first trip outside the mainland in more than two years.
The tension between Beijing and Hong Kong is at a breaking point as the mainland continues to sanction, censor and even arrest political dissidents calling for an independent country. Some have gone as far as begging the United Kingdom to intervene and reabsorb the island.
On July 1, 1997, the wealthy microstate of the British Empire was formally handed over to the Chinese Communist Party – China leased the island to Britain in 1898 for 99 years.
In his Friday speech, Xi blatantly ignored the civil unrest in Hong Kong, instead boasting of the One Country, Two Systems policy’s success.
“The policy of One Country, Two Systems is a great initiative that has no precedent to follow. The underlying goal of the policy of One Country, Two Systems is to uphold China’s sovereignty, security and development interests and maintain long-term prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macau.”
The president even claimed that the policy has “unanimous endorsement” from the people of Hong Kong.
“It enjoys the full support of more than 1.4 billion people of the motherland, it has the unanimous endorsement of Hong Kong and Macau residents, and it is widely recognized by the international community. There is no reason to change such a good system. And it must be adhered to over the long run!”
The inaccuracy of Xi’s comments are hard to ignore. Only days after his speech, a group of Hong Kongers began their trial on charges of sedition against the Chinese Communist Party.
Chinese authorities have arrested five speech therapists in Hong Kong for publishing children’s books that reportedly contained anti-Beijing sentiment.
The five therapists, who were arrested over a year ago, are finally facing trial for charges of sedition for a series of books about a village of sheep and a village of wolves. The books very clearly differentiate the two towns as good and bad, with the wolves’ society bearing a striking resemblance to mainland China.
The books depict the society of wolves – monitored by CCTV cameras – plotting an infiltration of the sheep village after their shepherd has left.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.