Chinese Police Conduct Anti-Riot Exercise Near Hong Kong - Reports
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Chinese police and armed police have conducted a joint anti-riot drill in the city of Shenzhen next to restive Hong Kong, local media reported on Thursday.
The drill is part of a series of exercises that have been taking place this month while nearby Hong Kong has been rocked by violent skirmishes between the police and the protesters.
According to People's Daily newspaper, "rioters" in yellow hard hats, armed with sticks and umbrellas, attacked the police in full anti-riot gear, who asked them to fall back in Cantonese, widespread in Hong Kong, among other places. In the end, the police used water cannons and successfully dealt with "rioters."
The mass protests in Hong Kong initially started in early June as a reaction to proposed amendments to the legislation that would allow extradition to mainland China. The city's chief executive, Carrie Lam, has since declared the bill to be "dead" although according to protesters it has not been officially scrubbed from the record.
Protesters are demanding that the offensive bill officially be withdrawn. Locals also want city authorities to implement universal suffrage and retract criminal charges against the protesters.
Last week, rallies reportedly turned violent, with police firing warning shots for the first time in three months. In mid-August, protesters occupied the Hong Kong International airport. The peaceful sit-in rally escalated into fierce clashes with some Chinese police officers who were reported injured. Beijing condemned what it described as the violent actions of the protesters, calling them "near-terrorist acts".
The United Kingdom and the United States have expressed concern over alleged acts of violence that occurred during major protests in Hong Kong. Beijing has warned against foreign interference in domestic Hong Kong affairs.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the situation in Hong Kong amid recent massive protests the most serious since the region's return to China in 1997.
In 1997, Hong Kong became the first administrative region of China under a "one country, two systems" policy. The move ended colonial rule by Britain of the region.
Hong Kong, reportedly enjoying a level of autonomy from China, except for foreign and defence policies has a legal system that significantly differs from Beijing.
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