Hong Kong in Photos: 1997 to 2017

Xi's warning came as pro and anti-Beijing protesters clashed amid the swearing of ceremony of Hong Kong's first female Chief Executive Leader Carrie Lam.Lam is being considered by critics as a China stooge in a city where HongKongers fears of Beijing's tightening grip on the city's autonomy and freedoms of almost eight million people.

They were demanding greater voting rights for Hong Kong, as well the immediate release of the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

On Friday, a China foreign ministry spokesperson said the joint declaration signed in 1984 between Beijing and London, that ruled the territory for 156 years, was "a historical document that no longer had any practical significance".

Those who fear encroachment of Hong Kong's autonomy also found issue with Mr Xi's speeches of the past few days.

Now, says Collier, a Hong Kong native is facing competition from even better-trained and harder-working mainland Chinese candidates.

The practice of "one country, two systems" has given Hong Kong an "institutional advantage", enabling it both to share in the mainland's vast market and development opportunities and often serve as a testing ground for the country's new opening-up initiatives, Xi said. He landed Thursday from Beijing to preside over Saturday's handover anniversary rituals, when a Chinese aircraft carrier will make its debut in Hong Kong harbor - another marker of Beijing's assertion of control over the territory.

Universal suffrage was described as the "ultimate aim".

Members of Ng's group attempted to march to the speech venue with a mock coffin symbolizing the death of the city's civil liberties, but were met by police and pro-China flag-waving counter-protesters in a brief standoff.

Strolling through Vancouver's Kerrisdale neighbourhood, historian Henry Yu reflects on how immigrants from Hong Kong have helped shape the city over the past two decades.

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ISABEL CHANG: You know, Hong Kong's the only place in China that we have the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, you know, to express our woe.

Organizers said 60,000 people turned out, far less than the 110,000 they said took part previous year.

They want the right to elect Hong Kong's leader: now Hong Kong's Chief Executive is elected by an electoral college of 1,200, stacked with pro-Beijing members.

Lam prevailed over a much more popular rival in a selection process decried by many as "fake democracy", with only 777 votes from a 1,200-seat panel of mostly pro-Beijing elites.

Participants in the pro-democracy march largely dismissed Lam as a loyal bureaucrat, but said the change in leadership introduced a new measure of uncertainty. Ip, who represents the education sector, said Xi's repeated calls for an implementation of national education should be dealt with caution. Police calculate the number as being significantly lower, at a paltry 14,500. "The Chinese government will put more regulations". Liu's face featured on countless signs held aloft by marchers who called on China to release him to seek treatment overseas.

Reports of clashes between protesters and local gangsters, alongside allegations of attacks from police, marked an otherwise subdued and non-violent affair in which placards borrowing the symbols of 2014's Umbrella Movement were wielded throughout.

A survey showed that while about half of the population still identify as Hong Kongers, the rate is as high as 70 percent to 80 percent among young people, he said.

During the 2013 interview, Li said the mainland was still a plain economy, lacking company or securities laws, and it needed capital and ways to reform the State-owned sector.

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