Chinese President Xi Jinping received Hong Kong’s next leader John Lee in Beijing on Monday, a month before he takes office, and assured him of his support, state media reported.

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A new electoral system, wanted by the central power, was put in place in 2021 to ensure that Hong Kong is ruled exclusively by “patriots”, loyal to the Chinese regime.

John Lee, 64, former Hong Kong security boss, was appointed in early May by a small “electoral committee” loyal to Beijing.

Mr. Lee was the only candidate to succeed outgoing leader Carrie Lam. Visiting Beijing, he was received by President Xi Jinping on Monday.

“The future administration will definitely create a new atmosphere and write a new chapter in the development of Hong Kong,” the Beijing strongman told his host.

“The central government has full confidence in you” to carry out this mission, assured Xi Jinping, according to comments reported by the official news agency China news.

Lee, who in 2019 oversaw the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, will take office on July 1. The date coincides with the 25th anniversary of the UK’s handover of its former colony to the People’s Republic of China.

Xi’s presence in Hong Kong for both events has yet to be confirmed.

But the trip would mark the president’s first trip outside mainland China since the start of the pandemic.

In 2017, Mr. Xi made a three-day visit to Hong Kong to attend the swearing in of Carrie Lam.

This stay had been marked by demonstrations. A protest movement is unlikely to happen again this year, as Beijing has for two years imposed a draconian national security law to suppress dissent.

According to the Hong Kong weekly Eastweek, more than 10,000 police will be deployed across the city in the context of a possible arrival of Mr. Xi.