Chinese President Xi Jinping says Macau’s patriotism is the most important reason for the success of its “one country, two systems” formula of governance, in remarks appearing to draw a contrast with neighbouring Hong Kong.

Xi praised the gambling hub on Friday for being one of the safest cities in the world, where people “rationally” express different views.

Xi was attending celebrations to mark Macau’s 20th anniversary of its handover to China. Earlier he swore in the new Macau administration led by Ho Iat-Seng.

In Hong Kong, Xi is facing his biggest political challenge yet after more than six months of pro-democracy protests.