China conducts rotation of forces at Hong Kong garrison
Iran Press TV
Thu Aug 29, 2019 06:02AM
China has conducted an annual rotation of forces at its garrison in Hong Kong, which has been plagued by unrest over the past three months.
China's rotation of troops in its People's Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong occurred in the wee hours of Thursday, days before anti-government protesters plan to hold yet another rally.
"This rotation is an annual normal routine action approved by the Central Military Commission," said Lieutenant Colonel Han You, a spokesman for the city's garrison of the PLA, in a written statement on Thursday.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency said in a report that the garrison had "conducted the 22nd rotation of its members" since 1997.
"Approved by the Central Military Commission, the move is normal routine annual rotation in line with the Law of the People's Republic of China on Garrisoning the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which stipulates that 'the Hong Kong Garrison shall practice a system of rotation of its members,'" it added.
Since June, Hong Kong has been beset by unrest over an extradition bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspects to mainland courts for trial.
Although the government of the semi-autonomous Chinese region has dropped that bill, protests have persisted, with individuals more routinely resorting to violence.
Beijing has repeatedly warned against violence in the region and has accused foreign countries, mainly the United States and Britain, of provoking the riots. The Chinese government has asked the two countries to stop meddling in Hong Kong's affairs.
On Tuesday, Beijing again warned against foreign meddling in Hong Kong's affairs, after the G7 summit of leaders of seven industrialized nations called for violence to be avoided.
Xinhua on Thursday also released photos of trucks carrying troops at the border, armored personnel carriers, and a ship entering Hong Kong bay.
According to observers, the garrison has about 8,000 to 10,000 soldiers at any given time, split between bases in southern China and a network of former British army barracks in Hong Kong.
Additionally on Thursday, Xinhua quoted the PLA's garrison in Hong Kong as saying that it would make "new" contributions to maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, without giving details.
Hong Kong has been governed under a "one-country, two-system" model since the city – a former British colony – was returned to China in 1997.
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