Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday virtually rejected pro-democracy agitators' demand for free elections in Hong Kong in 2017 and backed embattled Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying who came in for severe criticism during the recent protests in the former British colony.
On a visit here after the end of the prolonged protests by thousands of people demanding that the rule brought in by China to vet candidates who would contest for the post of Chief Executive in 2017 be done away with, Leung today called on Chinese President Xi and briefed him on the state of affairs of Hong Kong.
Xi was vocal in his backing for Leung, saying that the central government "fully recognises" the work of the chief executive and his administration in advancing political reform, developing the economy, improving people's livelihoods as well as maintaining the rule of law and the overall stability in Hong Kong.
Without directly referring to the demand for scrapping the rule to screen candidates for the 2017 polls, Xi said that the development of the political system in Hong Kong be orderly and in accordance with law.
The development of the region's political system should be carried out in accordance with the real situation in Hong Kong and in a legal and orderly manner, Xi said, virtually rejecting the pro-democracy agitators' demand.
Leung struggled to deal with the 75-day long protests which ended this month.
Thousands of protestors pitched their tents occupying key roads in Hong Kong demanding China to rescind the rule to screen the candidates to take part in 2017 poll.
The agitation later fizzled out as Chinese leadership stood firm and backed Leung despite criticism that his rule is promoting the rich real estate magnates in Hong Kong and alienating middle and lower-middle classes in the former British colony.
Those who led the agitation, however, said the protests were called off only to re-orient the agitation in a different form.