China’s Li praises Hong Kong leader for reviving economy

HONG KONG (AP) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang praised the Hong Kong government’s efforts to revive the economy as it eases COVID-19 restrictions, in a meeting Thursday with the region’s leader in Beijing.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee is on his first trip to the capital to deliver a year-end report to leaders. He is expected to meet with President Xi Jinping to discuss the political, economic and COVID-19 situation in the city…

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HONG KONG (AP) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang praised the Hong Kong government’s efforts to revive the economy as it eases COVID-19 restrictions, in a meeting Thursday with the region’s leader in Beijing.

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Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee is on his first trip to the capital to deliver a year-end report to leaders. He is expected to meet with President Xi Jinping to discuss the political, economic and COVID-19 situation before returning to Hong Kong on Saturday.

Li expressed his appreciation for Lee’s work over the past six months, in which many of the city’s COVID-19 restrictions were revised, helping restore Hong Kong’s image as a vibrant financial hub.

“The future of Hong Kong and their country are closely intertwined,” Li said. I hope that the Hong Kong government will unite and lead the people of Hong Kong to contribute to their benefits as it integrates into the country’s development plan in line with the country’s needs.

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The city must continue to strengthen its position as an international financial center and global trade and maritime hub as it integrates into China’s development, he added.

Lee, a former security minister, took over the city’s top job from Carrie Lam on July 1. Lam left after five tumultuous years that saw the city rocked by massive pro-democracy protests in 2019, the ensuing political rift fueled by tensions and the coronavirus. The outbreak killed thousands of people and crippled the city’s economy.

In May’s election, Lee won more than 99% of the vote in a committee with a majority of pro-Beijing candidates. He is the fifth chief executive of the city since the former British colony was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

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A day before Lee went to Beijing, he said he would convey the hopes of Hong Kongers to re-open the border with China, which is seen as an important step to further develop the city’s economy. Most checkpoints between Hong Kong and China have been closed during the pandemic.

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