Hello, this is Kenji in Hong Kong. By the time this newsletter reaches your inbox, Chinese President Xi Jinping will have arrived in the city for his very first trip outside of mainland China since the outbreak of the pandemic more than two years ago.
Xi is here for two days -- without staying overnight, but commuting from neighboring Shenzhen -- to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from the U.K. to China. The atmosphere is much more tense than on a similar occasion five years ago, a sign of how much has changed since then. Perhaps the most notable difference is the imposition of the controversial National Security Law exactly two years ago. Meanwhile, Washington has imposed sanctions on Beijing over what it sees as the breaking of the "One country, two systems" principle, which was supposed to guarantee a measure of autonomy for Hong Kong at least until 2047.