Xi Jinping is expected to visit Hong Kong this July to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the island’s return to China. This visit will be his first trip out of China after over two and a half years. However, a source familiar with the preparations told the Wall Street Journal that the trip might be shorter than expected.
As Hong Kong has just gone through a major Omicron outbreak, the Xi administration hasn’t confirmed his trip for fear of a covid exposure. The visit might be canceled if the pandemic situation in Hong Kong gets worse.
Despite that, Hong Kong officials have started to prepare for it. Instead of the intended multiday schedule, they attempted to jar the visiting program into a day trip on July 1.
Meanwhile, the possible visitors’ interactions with others are also restricted to avoid the Covid-19 spreading. The officials and dignitaries will have to self-isolate for seven days before Xi’s arrival.
If this trip takes place, Xi is expected to introduce Hong Kong’s next government, inspect the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ‘s troops stationed in the city, and join other activities. His return would be likely on the same day.
Party leader Xi Jinping hasn’t left China for over 2 and a half years. His last visit was to Myanmar in January 2020. It took place just days before Beijing confirmed the seriousness of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan.
Since then, he has been absent from international meetings outside China’s border. He has also been selective in meeting foreign visitors in Beijing.
According to WSJ, Xi’s action reflects his cautious approach toward Covid-19. China is the only country that still imposes strict measures to control the pandemic and attempts to eradicate the virus completely.