HONG KONG — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule, while several prominent pro-democracy activists remained in custody after being arrested the previous day.
Xi arrived in the former British territory just before noon, according to Chinese state-run media. The red flags of Hong Kong and China lined the streets where his motorcade was likely to pass.
Security was tight, with 2-meter-high, water-filled barriers set up around the perimeter of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and two hotels where Xi is set to stay with his wife Peng Liyuan.
Several roads around the city were also closed off to the public.
Meanwhile, prominent pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, leaders of the Demosisto party, remained in custody.
They were among at least 26 people arrested Wednesday night as they staged a pro-democracy protest at a golden flower statue given to Hong Kong by Beijing in 1997 to commemorate its return to China.
Wong and other pro-democracy activists say China is in violation of the treaty that ceded Hong Kong to China by refusing to grant its residents the right to nominate and elect its top official, the chief executive.
The August 2014 decision was what kicked off the 79-day Umbrella Revolution that saw three of Hong Kong’s busiest thoroughfares occupied by peaceful protestors, led by Wong.
Further protests are expected over the weekend.