China Amasses Army Vehicles, Conducts Military Drills near Hong Kong Amidst Pro-Democracy Rallies

Saturday, August 17, 2019
By Paul Martin

BREITBART LONDON
17 Aug 2019

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Members of China’s paramilitary People’s Armed Police marched and practiced crowd control tactics at a sports complex in Shenzhen across from Hong Kong in what some interpreted as a threat against pro-democracy protesters in the semi-autonomous territory.

The sound of marching boots and synchronized shouts echoed from the grounds on Friday. Officers in green camouflage stood guard at closed entrances. A stadium security guard said “it wasn’t clear” when the paramilitary police would leave the grounds.

Chinese state media have only said that the Shenzhen exercises were planned earlier and were not directly related to the unrest in Hong Kong, though they came shortly after the central government in Beijing said the protests were beginning to show the “sprouts of terrorism.”

From a distance, police could be seen conducting drills in military fatigues, using shields, poles and other riot-control gear. In one exercise, two groups marched in formation with those in front raising shields as if to protect themselves from projectiles. Others behind held red flags and banners. The words “the law” and “prosecuted” could be seen on one.

Outside, dozens of armored carriers and trucks sat in the parking lot of the Shenzhen Bay Stadium, close to a bridge linking mainland China to Hong Kong.

Asked if Hong Kong police could maintain order or if mainland Chinese intervention is becoming inevitable, Hong Kong police commander Yeung Man-pun said that while they face tremendous pressure, “I can tell you we’re confident the police have the capability to maintain law and order.”

Germany, meanwhile, said it considers China to be a responsible actor that will respect Hong Kong laws guaranteeing freedom of speech and rule of law.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday that Hong Kong’s 1997 Basic Law, under which the city was promised a high degree of autonomy when the former British colony returned to China, “is a Chinese law, and as such we naturally expect that the People’s Republic of China, too, won’t call into question the peaceful exercise of these rights.”

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