"On this day 20 years ago Hong Kong returned to the lap of its motherland, ending a century of humiliation and making a stride toward the nation’s unity," Xi said at a ceremony.
The Chinese president and his spouse arrived in the former British colony on Thursday. Earlier today, he swore in Hong Kong’s new chief executive Carrie Lam and her office.
The island was taken away from China under a 1842 pact after it was defeated by Britain in the First Opium War. Negotiations on its return between Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and UK’s Margaret Thatcher began in 1983 and the handover took place in 1997.