The Hong Kong government implemented heightened security measures beginning on Tuesday, June 27, ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the territory scheduled for June 29-July 1. Local authorities announced that 11,000 police personnel would be deployed during Xi's three-day visit. Public and building works on the Wan Chai waterfront, as well as along Expo Drive and Convention Avenue near the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where Xi will stay, have been suspended. Additionally, some 300 barricades have been set up around the Grand Hyatt hotel in an effort to prevent vehicle attacks. As a result, transport disruptions may occur, especially in heightened security zones.
Local authorities have raised the risk level to "high" and reports indicate that political activists are being monitored. Associated protests (such as a protest that occurred on June 26) cannot be ruled out and may cause further traffic disruptions. Political banners, as well as protest slogans and images, will be banned during the visit to avoid "embarrassment."
China confirmed on June 23 that Xi would visit the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong from Thursday, June 29, through Saturday, July 1, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China from British rule. The visit is highly likely to be perceived as provocative to Hong Kong's pro-democracy and pro-independence activists.
Xi will visit the garrison of China's People's Liberation Army in central Hong Kong and will inaugurate the territory's newly-elected leader, Carrie Lam, on July 1.
On July 1, 1997, Britain returned Hong Kong back to China under a deal which gives Hong Kong widespread autonomy for 50 years.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to keep abreast of the situation and to avoid demonstrations as a precaution due to the potential for violence.
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