All decked out for HK's 20th anniversary

A bridge in Hong Kong decorated with China's and Hong Kong's flags ahead of the special administrative region's handover anniversary. Hong Kong is marking the 20th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule tomorrow. It is the
A bridge in Hong Kong decorated with China's and Hong Kong's flags ahead of the special administrative region's handover anniversary. Hong Kong is marking the 20th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule tomorrow. It is the first time that Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting the city since taking office.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG • The streets of Hong Kong have been festooned with Chinese flags and paraphernalia, including two huge harbourfront screens carrying celebratory messages, ahead of the anniversary rejoicing the city's handover to China.

Two banners painted in red with the Chinese text "Welcome President Xi Jinping to inspect Hong Kong" have been spotted hanging above the toll stations outside the Western Harbour Tunnel, Reuters reported.

"It should be an honour to get the No. 1 person in China to come to a very small city," one 38-year-old man at a celebratory gathering, who gave his name as Mr Fan, was quoted as saying by the Agence France-Presse. He added that things were better than under British rule.

But some netizens expressed disapproval over what they see as "over-the-top" decorations, saying that the banners are distasteful.

Over 120,000 youngsters will join China-related activities at a time of growing disillusionment and bitterness towards Beijing among the city's younger generation.

 
 
 

Anonymous posters have been put up across the city in protest of Mr Xi's visit which started yesterday.

Artwork depicting Mr Xi and outgoing Hong Kong leader Leung Chun Ying kissing was posted in an underpass in the Central district, alongside bilingual signs calling on people to "rise up for real autonomy".

Mr Xi arrived yesterday to celebrate in Hong Kong's 20th anniversary of Chinese rule tomorrow, but he faces a city divided, mass protests and aggrieved crowds resentful of Beijing's growing meddling in local affairs.

A massive security presence is expected with thousands of police deployed to maintain order as protests simmer, including one tomorrow that could draw well over 100,000 people.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2017, with the headline 'All decked out for HK's 20th anniversary'. Print Edition | Subscribe