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Is China preparing to invade Hong Kong?


Chinese state media video shows military vehicles heading towards territory’s border

Daily Briefing James Ashford
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 - 10:31am

Beijing has released footage of military vehicles heading for the Hong Kong border as propaganda outlets warn that protesters in the Chinese-ruled territory are “asking for self-destruction”.  

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The video, uploaded to YouTube by Chinese state media network CGTN, shows the tank-like trucks of China’s People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) driving through Shenzhen, a city that borders Hong Kong.

Captions above the footage read: “According to Chapter Two, Article Seven of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the People’s Armed Police Force, the PAPF shall participate in handling riots, disturbances, severe violent crimes, terrorist attacks, and other incidents disturbing social peace.”

Video of China's Armed Police Force stations in south China's Shenzhen

On Monday, a spokesperson for China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office claimed that protesters have “repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers”, and warned that “the first signs of terrorism are starting to appear”.

China’s Hong Kong Liaison Office added: “If we allow these types of terrorist activities to continue then Hong Kong will slide into a bottomless abyss.”

Until now, Chinese authorities have allowed Hong Kong’s local police force to deal with the widespread protests, now in their tenth week, reports News.com.au.

However, Chinese police carried out an anti-riot drill involving 12,000 officers in Shenzhen last week, during “which they demonstrated a newly developed tear gas to quell protesters”, says the Melbourne-based news site.

A message posted on social media today by Beijing-based newspaper Global Times warns that “if Hong Kong rioters cannot read the signal of having armed police gathering in Shenzhen then they are asking for self-destruction”, according to a translation by CNBC.

“Beijing wants to use the threat of sending in the PLA [Chinese army], or other direct intervention, to try to scare off the protesters,” Ben Bland, a research fellow at Sydney-based think-tank the Lowy Institute, told news.com.au.

“But given the high level of operational risk - and the reputational and economic risks to China - sending in the PLA would be a dangerous move.”

The demonstrations were originally triggered by a bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China. The bill has now been put on hold, but anger has turned against the Hong Kong authorities, who have been accused of using excessive force against the protestors.

The UK is among a host of countries that have issued travel warnings for people visiting Hong Kong, citing “severe” action by security forces as a reason for caution.

Footage from the protests have shown police firing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at demonstrators at close range, and beating them with batons.

The BBC reports that Hong Kong police have also admitted deploying undercover officers disguised as protesters, after videos emerged showing law enforcers making arrests while wearing civilian clothes and the yellow hard hats that have become part of the unofficial uniform of the anti-government demonstrators.

Defending the use of the “decoy officers”, Hong Kong Deputy Police Commissioner Tang Ping-Keung said: I can say that during the time when our police officers were disguised... they [did not] provoke anything.

“We won’t ask them to stir up trouble.”

The protests have also caused travel chaos, with more than 5,000 protestors yesterday storming the main terminal of Hong Kong’s international airport, resulting in the cancellations of hundreds of flights.

Addressing a press conference today, Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam that a continuation of the violence and unrest would push Hong Kong “down a path of no return”.

China Politics Society
China Hong Kong protests

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