By Tenzin Dharpo
Chinese military vehicles entering Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo- hk01
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 30: The ongoing tension in Hong Kong is expected to escalate as additional troops and vehicles of People’s Liberation Army entered Hong Kong on Thursday prompting alarm and concern for the people protesting against Beijing’s heavy-handedness in the country.
The deployment of troops, including armored vehicles and troop carriers, was reported to have entered Hong Kong in the early hours of Thursday, according to eye-witnesses. Also a Chinese naval ship has docked in Hong Kong. The Chinese government mouth piece Xinhua
said that it was a “routine rotation” of troops.
The move comes days before the mass anti-government protests on Saturday where Hong Kongers are expected to converge again to voice their protest. Hong Kong police refused the permission for the mass protest organized by the Civil Human Rights Front. Leaders of the group have also been attacked by knife-wielding masked assailants. In addition to banning the mass protest, PLA vehicles have been spotted at multiple locations, including Kwun Tong Bypass, Cross Harbour Tunnel, Eastern Harbour Crossing, Tai Tam Road, Sha Tau Kok Road, Shek Hong, and Sha Tin, considered choke points of the city.
It is estimated that there are 6,000 to 10,000 PLA troops stationed in Hong Kong and similar numbers waiting at the Chinese side of the border. Observers fear that the PLA troops are an indication of Beijing’s intent of violent crackdown on the protesters in the coming days, the scale of which has been compared unfortunately with the Tiananmen Square massacre.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that "it is clear that China is engaging in -- in a deliberate strategy to undermine the stability of the region. It is clear the values and behaviours of the Chinese Communist Party do not align with the vast majority of states."
Pentagon’s Lt. Col. David Eastburn said in a statement, "We are monitoring the Chinese military movements in and around Hong Kong closely. We stand with the G7 countries in calling for violence to be avoided and in reaffirming the importance of the Sino-British Joint Declaration."