China threatens to use force against Hong Kong protests

       

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense recalls that the People’s Liberation Army can act if requested by the local government.

Hong kong protests continue

The national emblem was stained with black ink. Since its beginning a month and a half ago, the massive protests in Hong Kong had developed following a domestic logic. The protesters cornered the local government with their claims, while China remained hidden in the shadow that surrounds the bottom of the matter: the slow dismantling of the democratic system inherited from the United Kingdom. But on Sunday this changed. For the first time the Hong Kong people pointed directly to their real enemy, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and a crowd gathered in front of their official representation on the island, the Liaison Office. And this Wednesday, China, also for the first time, has pointed them out with a warning: the Chinese Army could act in Hong Kong if the local government requests it.

“Intolerable”. This is how the performance of the Hong Kong protesters Wu Qian, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, during a press conference of the State Council to present the new White Paper on national defense, a document that describes Chinese military policy. In his opinion, “the behavior of some radicals challenged the authority of the central government.” “We are following closely the development of events in Hong Kong,” he added, along with the veiled threat: “Article 14 is clear

Article 14 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong regulates the presence of the Chinese military force, the People’s Liberation Army, in the territory and states that “the units stationed by the central government will not interfere in the local affairs of the region,” except when “the local government requests your assistance to maintain public order or in case of catastrophe.” The statements of the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense are very significant, since it is the first time that the regime puts on the table the possibility of a direct intervention on the ground.

The extradition law that triggered this social movement began as a personal initiative of Carrie Lam, head of the Hong Kong Executive, who decided to take advantage of a favorable narrative – a man accused of the murder of his wife went unpunished for having committed his crime in Taiwan – to sign up somewhat in the eyes of the Chinese central government. When the popular reaction escaped his control, Beijing rejected his resignation and instructed him to fix the disaster. Lam became the target of the protests, which resulted in a paradoxical image: protesters surrounded his office as they turned their backs on the headquarters of the Popular Army, located across the street.

The Chinese Army garrison in Hong Kong is housed in a large square tower on the front line of the bay, recognizable by the discreet red star that crowns the construction. From its central position it seems to monitor what happens around: an intuition confirmed by the number of cameras installed in its perimeter. Inside there are thousands of soldiers, who went there just a few hours after the return of the former British colony was formalized in 1997. Among the population, its presence has been perceived as an interference that creates concern.

To the words emitted from Beijing this Wednesday is added a growing activity of the Popular Army. The day after the irruption of protesters in Parliament, for example, the Chinese Army organized naval maneuvers off the coast to “improve their preparedness for emergency expeditions.”

This rhetorical escalation brings to the collective memory the memory, always fresh, of what happened the last time the Chinese Government faced a popular challenge. It is estimated that at least 1,000 people lost their lives in the massacre with which the historic protests of Tiananmen Square were dissolved. From this sad date, the 30th anniversary was celebrated last month, and the Government demonstrated in this regard by breastfeeding in the editorial of the Diario del Pueblo, congratulating itself on having executed a necessary action. His political leader, former Prime Minister Li Peng, died earlier this week. The Tiananmen Gate precisely adorns the center of the national emblem: Sunday was stained with black ink, the color of the protests.

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