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Xi leaves mainland China for the first time since 2020

Xi leaves mainland China for the first time since 2020
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Recognition …Kin Cheung/Associated Press

The Ping Shek Estate has long been a magnet for Instagrammers who love to take snapshots of the sky framed on all four sides by the apartment complex’s towering residential towers.

Last Friday, hundreds of crimson Chinese flags appeared on the white balconies of two 28-story buildings in the complex. Each Chinese flag was flanked by two Hong Kong flags, which featured the city’s emblem: a white bauhinia flower with a star on each petal.

A pro-Beijing association distributed the flags across several housing projects, according to state-run Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao. The particularly lush sea of ​​flags at Ping Shek soon became the talk of the town.

People traveled to Ping Shek, home of about 30,000 residents live in almost 4,500 subsidized apartmentsto take photos of the spectacle, and residents of the industrial district admired the exhibition in the square courtyards.

“That kind of culture is rarely seen in Hong Kong,” said Grace Zhang, a 35-year-old resident who moved to the city from neighboring mainland China’s Guangdong province nearly a decade ago.

She said that her 8-year-old son learned about the handover in class and that she wanted to take a picture of him to mark the occasion.

Lam Yu, a 62-year-old salesman of machinery equipment, paid a visit to see the flags. He craned his neck and pointed his smartphone skyward to take photos.

For him, the handover spelled the end of his role as a second-class citizen in his own city, he said, adding it was hard to see people from Britain getting vaunted public service positions while more qualified Hong Kong locals were left out.

Initially concerned about how Communist Party policies would affect the city’s prospects, Mr Lam said he was eventually overwhelmed by China’s economic rise.

“There is no way to look at China’s development and not be proud,” he said. “Unless you don’t consider yourself Chinese.”

However, not everyone seemed to appreciate the loyalty to Beijing. Some residents hung sheets that broke up the pattern of the flags.

Elsie Leung, a 63-year-old retired security guard, lamented that her building on a neighboring block could not be decorated with flags because residents there complained.

Although several acquaintances have emigrated from her church, she is positive about the future of the city.

Still, Mrs. Leung was uncomfortable with the suppression of liberties, particularly after the shutdown of independent news outlets and the arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen under the National Security Act. The cardinal was a leader in a legal aid organization who supported people who were arrested for protesting.

“If you say the wrong thing, you could be arrested,” she said.

Police said early Sunday morning they were investigating reports of defaced or stolen flags from Ping Shek and another complex nearby. No arrests were made, but by Monday morning all flags had been taken down.

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