Leaders of China, Hong Kong meet amid protests

Leaders of China, Hong Kong meet amid protests
© WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

The leaders of China and Hong Kong met Monday after months of sometimes-violent pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam in Shanghai, acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung Kin-chung told reporters Tuesday, describing the meeting as "a vote of confidence."

"The very fact that he's so busy, that he found time to meet chief executive, really is a vote of confidence in ourselves," Cheung said. 

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"He has a high degree of confidence in the chief executive and certainly recognized the ... positive work of the present government, and also particularly the political teams, all these are pretty reassuring," he added. 

The Associated Press reported that Lam told reporters in China that Xi had expressed “care and concern” as well as support for her government's actions.

She also pledged that the government will use strict law enforcement to end the violence. 

The protests started because of a now-shelved bill that would have allowed the extradition of residents in Hong Kong to China, but have morphed into a greater pro-democracy movement. Demonstrators want universal suffrage and an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.  

Police in Hong Kong fired water cannon at protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks who gathered on Tuesday on streets popular with tourists, Reuters noted.