The Chinese military officially moved into Hong Kong on Thursday morning in what they’re claiming to be a “routine military exercise”. While the Chinese government claimed such actions as part of a “normal rotation” of military assets, the timing is all too convenient as the protests in Hong Kong have intensified in the three months since they began.
The Chinese government, however, claims there’s “nothing to worry about”.
Footage of troop movements were aired on state run news stations overnight as they moved through Shenzhen, the Chinese city immediately to the north of Hong Kong. Later on Thursday morning, a squadron of armed helicopters from the garrison’s air force flew from a southern China army base to Shek Kong Airfield in Hong Kong.
“This time the task has a glorious mission,” a major said to troops before they departed. “The responsibility is great. The job is difficult. The time for a true test has arrived!”
While it is true that rotations of the military presence within Hong Kong do occur, the Chinese government usually announce the number of troops part of the rotation. In this “rotation” there were no such numbers announced. The state news service also broadcasted the statement from the government that “new training” relevant to the present situation in Hong Kong was utilized in this new group of troops.
The “troop rotation” and its announcement on the state news were planned carefully so as not to alarm the protestors and escalate tensions. Even though the troops moved in the dark of night, they were still broadcasted in the good faith that they weren’t meaning to deceive the protestors.
Even though the troops are moving in, the protestors have stated that their efforts will continue. Their next march will be on Sunday, in spite of the Hong Kong police’s prohibition of the event.
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