Chinese President Xi Jinping told Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday that he had confidence in her as protests in the semiautonomous city continue.
In a meeting between the two leaders in Shanghai, Xi acknowledged the work done by her and her team in the five months that Hong Kong has protested for more autonomy from mainland China, Xinhua reported.
Hong Kong police Saturday fired tear gas in an effort to disperse protesters whose rallies in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory show no signs of subsiding.
Saturday marked the 22nd consecutive weekend of pro-democracy protests in the territory’s streets.
The Asian financial hub has been mired in massive and oftentimes violent protests since June, sparked by a proposed bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. The protests have evolved into demands for full democracy for Hong Kong, an independent inquiry into the possible use of excessive force by police and complete amnesty for all activists arrested during the demonstrations. Masked activists have vandalized businesses and the city subway system, and attacked police with bricks and homemade gasoline bombs.
Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy under the “one government, two systems” arrangement established when China regained control of Hong Kong from Britain in 1997. But political activists and observers say Beijing is slowly tightening its grip on the territory and eroding its basic freedoms.