Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday praised beleaguered Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam as well as the city's police and said Beijing has "unswerving determination" to protect China's sovereignty over the former British colony as he met her for the second time in two months.

Since June, Hong Kong has seen massive, regular demonstrations, which started in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed its citizens to be extradited to the mainland. The protests quickly morphed into wider calls for democracy and opposition to growing Chinese influence. China has blamed Western countries for stirring up unrest in Hong Kong.

Lam, who is visiting Beijing for consultations with the central government on the future course of action, met President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang and other top officials.

This is her first visit to Beijing after pro-democracy candidates won landslide victories in the local body polls trouncing pro-Beijing nominees last month.

"Facing difficulties and pressure, Chief Executive Lam has stood firm on the 'one country, two systems' principle, governed in accordance with the law, and remained dedicated. You did plenty of work in difficult situations," the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted Xi as telling Lam.

He reiterated the central government's support for the Hong Kong's police force and said Lam had led the city's government in responding actively to society’s concerns.

"(Lam's government) rolled out policy initiatives to support businesses, alleviate people's woes, and seriously solve deep-rooted conflicts and problems in society," Xi said. "The central government fully acknowledges your courage and commitment in these unusual times."

Xi said he firmly supported the city's police force to firmly enforce the law, and urged different sectors to work together. "I hope that different sectors in the society can be united, work together to push forward Hong Kong’s development, and get it back on track," Xi said.

He reiterated that Beijing had "unswerving determination" to protect national sovereignty, security and development interests, to implement the guiding principle of "one country, two systems" and to oppose any external force in interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs.

Lam expressed gratitude to Xi for his "trust and support" in her and her team in handling the crisis.

In his meeting with Lam earlier on Monday, Premier Li asked her to address deep-rooted problems in society and end violence and chaos, which had harmed society and damaged the economy.

"We can say that the city is facing unprecedented, serious and complicated situation," he said.

Li also lamented the harm the protests had done to society as a whole.

"Obvious recession has emerged in Hong Kong’s economy, and many sectors were dealt a serious blow. We can say that the city is facing unprecedented, serious and complicated situations," he said.

Li told Lam she had "risen to the challenges" during months of unrest that had struck a “serious blow" to the economy.

"The central government fully acknowledges the efforts made by you and the city’s government," Li said.

Meanwhile, protests continued in Hong Kong with the participation of the vast majority of local people against China's interference diluting the 'one country, two systems'.

Besides her resignation, the protestors are demanding an independent probe into the use of force by police, amnesty for arrested protesters, a halt to categorising the protests as riots and the implementation of universal suffrage to elect their own representatives to govern the province.

Over 6,000 people have been arrested in the crackdown.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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