This July 1, Xi will also witness the inauguration of Hong Kong’s next administration, the agency said, on a trip that will mark his first exit from mainland China since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. .

“President Xi Jinping will attend a meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland,” Xinhua said.

“Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, will also attend the inauguration ceremony of the sixth government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” it added. agency.

Chinese presidents usually participate in the inauguration of new chief executives of the semi-autonomous region. Xi’s last visit to the former British colony was in 2017 when he attended the swearing-in of outgoing leader Carrie Lam.

But the arrival of Mr. Xi for that of John Lee remained uncertain due to the epidemic of coronavirus.

– “New chapter” –

Hong Kong, which applies a less strict health policy than in mainland China while maintaining a “zero Covid” objective, is currently recording more than 1,000 cases per day for 7.4 million inhabitants.

On Thursday, two senior officials tested positive for coronavirus and were placed in quarantine.

Ms. Lam assured however that the situation is “not alarming”, with hospitalizations remaining at a low level.

Due to the difference in health policy between Hong Kong and mainland China, Hong Kongers called upon to come into contact with Chinese leaders will certainly have to observe quarantine before the ceremony.

According to local media, government officials entered a “bubble” to minimize the risk of infection before their participation in the handover.

John Lee and his ministers will be sworn in on July 1, the date which will also mark the midpoint of the period of semi-autonomy for Hong Kong, in the name of the principle of “one country, two systems”, which must remain in force until 2047 .

Receiving Mr. Lee to give him his blessing in May, the Chinese president said that a “new chapter” was opening for the city.

This business center had been the scene of huge and sometimes violent protests in 2019, which prompted Beijing to impose a draconian national security law there which criminalizes all dissent.

In 2017, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan stayed in Hong Kong for three days for the 20th anniversary of the handover.