Hong Kong’s New Chief Executive Sworn In

Posted July 1st, 2012 at 12:55 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.

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

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents are expected to take to the streets later in the day at an annual July 1 rally to demand more independence from Beijing and protest the widening rich-poor gap.

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

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. 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.