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Xi Jinping ‘vote of confidence’ in Hong Kong governor Carrie Lam

Trade meeting: Ms Lam and Mr Xi PICTURE: REX

A SURPRISE meeting has been held between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam.

They met at a trade event in Shanghai on Monday amid signs Beijing may tighten its grip on the territory after months of protests that have challenged China’s rule.

When asked whether the meeting reflected Mr Xi’s concerns about Ms Lam’s handling of the unrest, Hong Kong chief secretary Matthew Cheung said ‘the reverse is true’ and insisted it was ‘a vote of confidence’.

But pro-democracy politician Claudia Mo warned of a tougher stance by Beijing. She said: ‘The message to Hong Kong people is that we are with her, she has our backing and you better watch out.’

The Hong Kong protests began in June against a proposed extradition bill that was later abandoned.

Last week, China said it may enact anti-subversion laws in the former British colony that were shelved previously due to public opposition.