China’s President Xi Jinping was greeted by supporters waving red Hong Kong and Chinese flags as he arrived Thursday to mark two decades since China took control in the former British colony. Xi’s Air China plane touched down Thursday at midday for the three-day visit. The trip culminates Saturday with Xi overseeing an inauguration ceremony for the Asian financial hub’s new leader, Carrie Lam.
Hong Kong authorities were taking no chances with disruptions from protesters and deployed heavy security across the city. Police and barricades lined the streets around a downtown convention center and hotel complex where Xi was expected to spend most of his time.
Three pro-democracy activist groups said 26 of their members were arrested Wednesday evening on public nuisance charges for staging a sit-in at a giant flower sculpture near the complex. Those arrested included Joshua Wong, the young activist who helped lead 2014’s “Umbrella Movement” protests, and Nathan Law, another student protest leader who was elected to the legislature last year.