A Chinese province which borders Hong Kong has ordered 150,000 police officers to step up their effort in anti-riot campaigns in a warning to anti-government protesters in the financial hub.
The police authority of Guangdong Province in southern China urged the land, naval and air forces across the region to conduct more drills to improve their combat capabilities ahead of the country’s National Day on October 1.
Hong Kong has been rocked by more than 100 days of street protests which call for democratic reforms.
The police authority of China’s Guangdong Province has ordered its forces to be in stand-by mode for potential riot crackdowns in a warning to anti-government protesters in Hong Kong
Footage released by Guangdong police shows tens of thousands of officers taking part in drills
Hong Kong protest organiser asks US for help
A Hong Kong pop star and protest organiser today urged the US Congress to take action against China over its crackdown on the months-long protests in the city.
Cantopop star Denise Ho, whose music has been banned in mainland China because of her activism, made a ‘plea for universal human rights’ today in an appearance likely to infuriate Beijing.
‘This is not a plea for so-called foreign interference. This is a plea for democracy,’ she told a congressional commission in Washington.
Ho said China’s clampdown in Hong Kong marked a test for all who believe in a world that is ‘free, open and civil.’
‘If Hong Kong falls, it would easily become the springboard for the totalitarian regime of China to push its rules and priorities overseas, utilising its economic powers to conform others to their communist values,’ she said.
The country’s ruling Communist Party will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of its regime in less than two weeks time, and the ongoing pro-democracy unrest is one of the most sensitive and critical issues it faces.
Guangdong and Hong Kong share close social and cultural ties. Many Hong Kongers have ancestors from Guangdong, previously known as Canton, and both regions speak Cantonese.
The Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department yesterday demanded its troops to carry out more live-fire drills to sharpen their skills.
It said the forces must live up to the responsibilities given by the Communist Party and the people.
The department released a Hollywood-style video through Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, which shows officers conducting a series of drills in preparation for a potential crackdown on Hong Kong protesters.
Large-scale exercises were organised in 21 cities across the province, including populous cities like Zhuhai.
The authority demanded its troops to carry out more live-fire drills to sharpen their skills
Officers have conducted counter-terrorism drills in 21 cities across Guangdong since August
Such operations are billed as ‘anti-riot, counter-terrorism’ training and have been going on since the beginning of August when chaos in Hong Kong escalated.
Authorities have also mobilised hundreds of military vehicles and thousands of paramilitary officers to Shenzhen, which is 10 minutes away from Hong Kong, to be ready for action.
Beijing has labelled a small group of more violent Hong Kong protesters ‘rioters’ and ‘terrorists’, and described their rallies as ‘political terrorism’.
The drills have involved 150,000 officers and featured helicopters, naval vessels and cutting-edge high-tech technologies, according to Passion News, a news outlet affiliated to Young Pioneers of China.
Hundreds of medical workers attend a protest in Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong on August 2
Demonstrators have urged Britain and the United States to help them with their movement
China will hold the biggest military parade in its history in Beijing to celebrate the country’s 70th founding anniversary.
Zhao Kezhi, the country’s Public Security Minister, instructed police officers in Guangdong to safeguard the country’s ‘southern gate’ and maintain the country’s political security during a visit to the province early this month.
Mr Zhao ordered his troops to take precaution and crack down on all kinds of ‘subversive and damaging infiltration’ as well as ‘violent and terrorist activities’.
A satellite image shows military and security vehicles parked in a stadium in Shenzhen
Chinese servicemen attend a crowd control exercise at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center in Shenzhen across the bay from Hong Kong on August 16. One of the soldiers is seen carrying a huge fork, which may also be electric, to be used in crowd control during a staged clash
Hong Kong and the mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen shares a 22-mile-long border
Unrest in Hong Kong began at the beginning of June when the city’s government tried to pass a bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China to stand trial.
The bill was suspended indefinitely by the government in June, but the rallies have morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement that calls for governmental reforms and universal suffrage, among others.
The city is ruled under the ‘one country, two system’ policy and has different legal and governing systems to mainland China. The principle was agreed on by China and the UK before the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
Demonstrators in Hong Kong are angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam (pictured) has promised to withdraw a bill that caused the unrest
They also demand the government officially withdraw its description of ‘rioters’ on protesters.
In a round of latest rallies over the weekend, protesters defied a police ban and marched to the British Consulate. They said ‘one country, two systems’ was dead and urged its former ruler Britain to help with their movement.
China says it is committed to the Hong Kong formula, denies meddling and says the city is an internal Chinese issue.
It has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business.