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Global Times

Xi praises PLA's HK Garrison for serving central govt's administration of HK

Global Times

By Leng Shumei and Wang Wenwen Published: Jul 01, 2022 11:39 PM

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, on Friday inspected the People's Liberation Army Garrison stationed in Hong Kong, and said that, given the deep and complex changes in Hong Kong in recent years, the Garrison had firmly served the big picture of the central government's administration of Hong Kong and played an important role in the process for the city to move from chaos to order and greater prosperity.

In the past 25 years, the Garrison has strictly lived up to instructions of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Central Military Commission, and has fully honored the "one country, two systems" principle as well as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's Basic Law and the Garrison Law, Xi said, noting that the Garrison has done a good job in fulfilling its missions centered around defense affairs.

Hong Kong is at a vital point to emerge from chaos to order, and to greater prosperity. The tasks on the Garrison are heavy and the responsibility of the Garrison is huge, Xi said.

Xi called on the Garrison to enhance construction of the team and strengthen its capacity to fulfill its missions in order to make greater contributions to safeguarding national security and long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and implementing "one country, two systems" in the city.

The inspection of Xi, who is also Chairman of the Central Military Commission, demonstrated the central government's firmness to implement "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Friday.

The inspection is also intended to reiterate the importance of the Garrison as it is the anchor to safeguard the stability and national security in Hong Kong after social unrest in recent years, especially given current tense relations between China and the US, experts noted.

Some overseas forces had infiltrated the management of Hong Kong, and the PLA Garrison, together with other departments of the central government in Hong Kong, has contributed to guaranteeing the implementation of "one country, two systems," Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs at Nankai University, told the Global Times on Friday.

As a military force, the Garrison shouldered the responsibility to deter secessionist forces and enhance Hong Kong society's confidence in the city's stability by showing its firmness, capacity and preparedness amid overseas forces' threats, according to experts.

For example, during the social unrest in 2019 in Hong Kong, after seeing local residents who voluntarily cleaned up the mess on the roads left by rioters nearby the Kowloon East Barracks of the Garrison, some soldiers from the Garrison, in their casual clothes, came out to help.

Local residents told the Global Times that they were happy and touched by the move.

Although cleaning the streets was just social work instead of any military action, the move of these soldiers still made them relieved while rioters blocked the roads, paralyzed traffic, threw Molotov cocktails and attacked ordinary people, the resident said.

After the social unrest in 2019, the central government also made some adjustments to the Garrison to make it more suitable for its mission to safeguard national security and stability in Hong Kong.

In January this year, Chinese People's Armed Police Force (PAP) Major General Peng Jingtang was named the new commander of the Garrison to help safeguard the stability and prosperity of the city, as he is the first Garrison commander hailing from the Armed Police Force - and the first to have experience in fighting terrorism in the Xinjiang region.

If any foreign country sends a military facility to threaten Hong Kong, or if a war breaks out in the Taiwan Straits which will also threaten Hong Kong, the Garrison would play a key role in safeguarding Hong Kong, which would be more and more important given the current international situation, Tang Fei, a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, told the Global Times.

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