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Chinese President Hu in Hong Kong for Handover Anniversary


China's President Hu Jintao has arrived in Hong Kong to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule. As Joseph Popiolkowski reports from VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong, Mr. Hu says he is pleased with the way the city has adapted to being an autonomous part of China.

Mr. Hu's arrival Friday starts his first visit to the territory as China's president. He will take part in official ceremonies throughout the weekend designed to publicize a harmonious relationship between the mainland and its Special Administrative Region.

At a welcoming ceremony at the airport, Mr. Hu called the "one country, two systems" governing structure, a success.

"With the support of the Central Government and the Chinese people, the HKSAR Government had united various sectors of Hong Kong people to overcome all sorts of difficulties and risks," he said. "Hong Kong's development had been a proud achievement, and it had gained valuable experiences to make the administration of Hong Kong under "one country, two systems" a success."

Under the "one country, two systems" arrangement, that Britain and China agreed on, Hong Kong was allowed to keep its capitalist economy, legal system and relative political freedom for 50 years.

Britain returned Hong Kong, which had been its colony for more than 150 years, back to Chinese control on July 1, 1997.

Hong Kong has seen its share of challenges over the past 10 years. Immediately after the handover it was struck by the Asian financial crisis. Later that year, it faced its first cases of the deadly bird flu.

In early 2003, an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome killed nearly 300 people and further hurt the economy. And throughout the decade of Chinese rule, supporters of democracy in Hong Kong have staged large protests and parades in the streets.

In 2004, during a visit to neighboring Macau, Mr. Hu publicly berated Hong Kong's chief executive at the time, Tung Chee-hwa, for being a weak and indecisive leader. Tung stepped down the following year and was replaced by Donald Tsang.

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