China's Xi reiterates support for Hong Kong leader in Shanghai meeting: Xinhua

FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 25, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

(Reuters) - China’s President Xi Jinping on Monday told embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam the central government has a high degree of confidence in her and fully recognizes the work by her and her team, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Stopping violence and chaos, and restoring order continue to be the top priorities for Hong Kong, Xi told Lam in Shanghai, where she was attending the second China International Import Expo.

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Hong Kong since mid-June in sometimes violent protests.

Pro-democracy protesters are campaigning against what they see as Chinese meddling with the freedoms promised when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. China denies doing so, and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble.

The Chinese president said the Hong Kong government had done a lot of hard work to control the situation and improve sentiment in society, the state news agency reported.

China has repeatedly said it supports Lam and her government.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Noah Sin in Hong Kong; Editing by Chris Reese and Alison Williams