Twentieth anniversary of Chinese rule over Hong Kong

Chinese President Xi Jinping swore in Hong Kong’s new leader on Saturday with a stark warning that Beijing won’t tolerate any challenge to its authority in the divided city as it marked the 20th anniversary of its return from Britain to China.

Police blocked roads, preventing pro-democracy protesters from getting to the harbor-front venue close to where the last colonial governor, Chris Patten, tearfully handed back Hong Kong to China in the pouring rain in 1997.

Xi said Hong Kong should crack down on moves towards “Hong Kong independence”.

“Any attempt to endanger China’s sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government … or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line and is absolutely impermissible,” Xi said.

He also referred to the “humiliation and sorrow” China suffered during the first Opium War in the early 1840s that led to ceding Hong Kong to the British.

Hong Kong has been racked by demands for full democracy and, more recently, by calls by some pockets of protesters for independence, a subject that is anathema to Beijing. (Reuters)

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Fireworks explode

Fireworks explode over the Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor, Saturday, July 1, 2017 to mark the the 20th anniversary of handover to China. (Photo: Kin Cheung/AP)

People watch fireworks

A couple braves heavy rain to watch fireworks set off to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover to China in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Ng Han Guan/AP)

Pro-democracy activist Avery Ng is detained

Pro-democracy activist Avery Ng is detained by police as he takes part in a protest demanding the release of Chinese Nobel rights activist Liu Xiaobo, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

People attend a protest march

People attend a protest march in Hong Kong on July 1, 2017, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule. (Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images)

A protester holds a wok-shaped poster

A protester holds a wok-shaped artwork with pictures showing the faces of (top row L-R) Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China Zhang Dejiang, Chinese President Xi Jinping, former chief executive of Hong Kong Leung Chun-ying, new Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam, (bottom row L-R) Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong Zhang Xiaoming, former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa and Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Wang Guangya during a protest march in Hong Kong on July 1, 2017, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule. (Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters march

Protesters carry a large image of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as they march during the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Vincent Yu/AP)

A defaced photo of Chinese President Xi

Pro-democracy activists paste the words “Chinese Communist Demon Claws” on a defaced photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping before attempting to march in protest towards the venue where official ceremonies are held to mark the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule over Hong Kong in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Ng Han Guan/AP)

Pro-China supporter is stopped by police

A pro-China supporter is stopped by police as he tries to get closer to pro-democracy supporters during a march marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese sovereignty from British rule, in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Protesters march

Protesters depict health workers and office workers who suffer from working overtime during a demonstration on the 20th anniversary of the territory’s handover from Britain to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2017. (Photo: Bobby Yip/Reuters)

Police monitor pro-independence activists

Police monitor pro-independence activists taking part in a march marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese sovereignty from British rule, in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

A man yells at pro-China supporters

A man yells at pro-China supporters facing pro-democracy supporters, during a march, marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese sovereignty from British rule, in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Leung Chun-ying gets a beating

Children hit cardboard boxes with photos of former Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as protesters attend the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Kin Cheung/AP)

Protesters march

A cardboard cut-out of China’s President Xi Jinping (C) holding a yellow umbrella, a symbol of the 2014 ‘Umbrella Movement’, is carried during a protest march in Hong Kong on July 1, 2017, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule. (Photo: Anthony WallaceAFP/Getty Images)

A pro-China supporter holds a Hong Kong flag

A pro-China supporter holds a Hong Kong flag he tries to stop pro-democracy activists from protesting and demanding the release of Chinese Nobel rights activist Liu Xiaobo, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit, in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2017. (Photo: Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Pro-democracy activists face police

Pro-democracy activists hold photos of detained Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo during a protest in Hong Kong, Friday, June 30, 2017. (Photo: Vincent Yu/AP)

Carrie Lam shakes hands with Xi Jinping

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping after she swore an oath of office on the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Bobby Yip/Reuters)

A band performs during a flag raising ceremony

Members of a band performs during a flag raising ceremony on the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Officials attend a flag raising ceremony

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam and other officials attend a flag raising ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China, July 1, 2017. (Photo: Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

The Chinese and Hong Kong flags are raised

The Chinese (R) and Hong Kong (L) flags are raised during a ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong on July 1, 2017 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). (Photo: Dale de la Rey/AFP/Getty Images)

Xi Jinping makes a toast

China’s President Xi Jinping takes a glass of wine from a waiter as he makes a toast during a banquet in Hong Kong, China, June 30, 2017. (Photo: Dale de la Rey/Pool/Reuters)

Police divide pro-China and pro-democracy protesters

Police divides pro-China and pro-democracy protesters facing each other in central Hong Kong, China as the city marks the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule, June 30, 2017. (Photo: Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

A Chinese paramilitary policeman arranges flags

A Chinese paramilitary policeman arranges Chinese and Hong Kong flags during an event marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule, on Chung Ying Street in Shenzhen, at the border with Hong Kong, Guangdong province, China, June 30, 2017. (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

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