A state leader who chairs the nation's top political advisory body will visit Hong Kong at the end of next month for activities celebrating the ninth anniversary of the handover. Government sources said yesterday Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), was expected to be the top guest attending a ceremony on July 1 to mark the anniversary. Mr Jia is likely to start his trip, which will last for several days, at the end of next month. He is expected to reiterate the central government's support for Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and its backing for further development of Hong Kong's economy. It will be the first official visit to the city by Mr Jia, who ranks fourth in the Politburo, since he became chairman of the CPPCC in 2003. He is likely to meet business and political leaders during his tour. Detailed schedules for the trip are still being worked out. A government spokesman said there would be a formal announcement of any visits to Hong Kong by national leaders. Mr Jia will be the first state leader to attend a ceremony marking the handover anniversary since Premier Wen Jiabao's visit in 2003. Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-shui said Mr Jia's visit indicated the central government's support for Hong Kong and Mr Tsang. 'The central government intends to show its backing for Mr Tsang through a series of initiatives, including Mr Jia's trip, in the run-up to the chief executive election scheduled for next March.' A local politician close to Beijing, who had heard of Mr Jia's visit more than a week ago, said the trip indicated the importance attached to Hong Kong by the central government.