Hong Kong’s New Chief Executive Sworn In

Posted July 1st, 2012 at 10:30 am (UTC-5)
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Hong Kong's new chief executive has been sworn in to lead the territory's seven-million people.

Security was tight as Chinese President Hu Jintao swore in Leung Chun-ying, exactly 15 years after the territory passed from British to Chinese rule.

Mr. Hu expressed China's support for Hong Kong as a free society, saying Chinese officials remain committed to the one country, two systems plan.

Leung, in his speech, said his government will work to tackle the grievances of the people of Hong Kong.

During the ceremony, a lone protester stood up and heckled Mr. Hu as he spoke at the ceremony, demanding an end to one-party rule and what he called a dictatorship in China, before being wrestled away by security personnel.

Leung, a wealthy property consultant, takes over from outgoing leader Donald Tsang. He has already attracted protests from those who see him as too closely linked with Beijing.

Meanwhile Sunday, tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents took to the streets for the annual July 1 rally to demand more independence from Beijing and to protest the widening rich-poor gap.

Thousands of police officers were deployed to maintain order, but the march was widely peaceful.

On Saturday, police scuffled with protesters who came out to demand an explanation for the suspicious death of Chinese dissident Li Wangyang this month. Li was a labor rights activist and one of the leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

One reporter was briefly detained after asking President Hu about China's 1989 crackdown on protesters around the square.

In a speech Saturday, the Chinese leader expressed confidence in the new government in Hong Kong. China's official news agency Xinhua quoted him as saying that the city leaders will be able to unite all sectors of society and lead them to turn Hong Kong into an international metropolis with “economic prosperity, political structural democracy and social harmony.”

Mr. Hu also praised close ties between the mainland and Hong Kong, which has the status of China's special administrative region.

Mr. Hu arrived in Hong Kong Friday on a three-day trip.