The head of the Chinese army in Hong Kong has spoken on the protests for the first time, saying the unrest has “seriously threatened the life and safety” of the people and should not be tolerated.
The commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong warned it was “determined to protect national sovereignty, security, stability and the prosperity of Hong Kong”.
The remarks were made by Chen Daoxiang on Wednesday at a reception celebrating the 92nd anniversary of the PLA. They came the day after 43 protesters were charged with rioting and released on bail. Some of those charged were as young as 16 and included a Cathay Pacific pilot.
The PLA chief also gave his “firm” support to Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, as well as to to the Hong Kong police force for “rigorously enforcing the law”.
At the reception, the PLA released a dramatic video showcasing the army. In one scene, an anti-riot drill was shown where ranks of marching soldiers holding riot shields advanced and fired on fleeing “citizens”. The scene included footage of tanks rolling in, water cannon being used, and “handcuffed” citizens being led away
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