China has told its police forces near Hong Kong to be ready to crack down on ‘subversive, violent and terrorist activities’ ahead of the country’s 70th anniversary.
The order was issued by the head of China’s Public Security Ministry to officers in the southern province of Guangdong after anti-government unrest in the financial hub escalated to a new level over the weekend.
Beijing has mobilised hundreds of military trucks and thousands of paramilitary police officers to Shenzhen, a city that borders Hong Kong, and instructed at least two large-scale anti-riot drills to be carried out in a show of military might.
A Chinese official has instructed police forces in Guangdong to be ready to crack down on ‘violent and terrorist activities’. His speech clearly referred to protests in Hong Kong. Pictured, paramilitary officers take part in an anti-riot drill in Shenzhen, Guangdong, on August 6
Beijing has mobilised hundreds of military trucks and thousands of paramilitary police officers to Shenzhen, a city that borders Hong Kong. Pictured, military vehicles are seen parked on the grounds of the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center, a stone’s throw from Hong Kong, on August 15
The demonstrations in Hong Kong were initially sparked by a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed some criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Pictured, A protester uses a tennis racquet to hit back tear gas canisters on August 25
Semi-autonomous city Hong Kong has been engulfed in angry and sometimes bloody protests against the government for two months.
The rallies were initially sparked by a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed some criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.
The opposition to the bill has since morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement that has thrown down the most significant challenge to Beijing since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule 22 years ago.
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
Police and soldiers were photographed on August 16 using the weapon which, if electric, can cause burns and puncture wounds, as the former British colony braced for another week of protests that could see more than a million people on the street
Chinese servicemen attend a crowd control exercise at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center
Beijing has labelled activists ‘near terrorists’ and said the former British colony was at its ‘worst crisis’ since its handover to Chinese rule in 1997.
The Communist Party is eager to quell the unrest ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1 when celebrations will be carried out nationwide.
During a visit to Guangdong Province on Monday, China’s Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi instructed police officers to safeguard the country’s ‘southern gate’ and maintain the country’s political security.
Zhao Kezhi (pictured in 2017), the head of China’s Public Security Ministry, urged police officers in the province of Guangdong to safeguard the country’s ‘southern gate’
Mr Zhao (third from the right) is seen speaking to an officer while visiting a police station in Guangzhou on Monday. He urged police forces in Guangdong to ‘recognise the situation’
Chinese military warns it can hit Hong Kong in 10 minutes
The land force of the Eastern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has condemned the violent acts from Hong Kong demonstrators.
In a social media post this month, the troop shared a picture showing military trucks parked outside Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre.
The sports centre, nicknamed ‘Silkworm Stadium’ for its design, looks out to Hong Kong across Shenzhen Bay.
‘The Silkworm Stadium near Shenzhen Bay is situated 56 kilometres (35 miles) from Hong Kong Airport and it takes 10 minutes to reach Hong Kong from here,’ the post warned.
Eastern Theater Command is one of the five military regions in China. Its jurisdiction does not include Guangdong, the province where Shenzhen is.
Addressing police officers in the provincial capital Guangzhou, Mr Zhao ordered them to take precaution and crack down on all kinds of ‘subversive and damaging infiltration’ as well as ‘violent and terrorist activities’.
Although Mr Zhao did not mention the word Hong Kong, the speech was clearly indicating the ongoing anti-government demonstrations in the territory.
The minister instructed police officers to ‘recognise the situation’ and ‘resolutely win the tough war of social stability for the 70th anniversary of the founding of China’.
‘[You] must focus on building a toughened ‘iron’ police team that can let the Communist Party and people rest assured,’ he commanded.
Hong Kong faced unprecedented chaos over the past weekend. More than 80 people as young as 12 were arrested after protesters occupied city streets.
They built barriers across the roads and threw bricks and petrol bombs to try to block the police advance.
Demonstrations in Hong Kong have escalated after police fired live bullets, water cannon and tear gas while protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs in the 12th weekend of the anti-extradition-bill movement. Pictured, police fire tear gas in Tsuen Wan on August 25
An insider said the city’s government was unlikely to cave in to the protesters anytime soon. Pictured, protesters return tear gas in Tsuen Wan on August 25 in the latest clashes
Carrie Lam (pictured) has disputed criticism that her government is ignoring the protesters. ‘It is not a question of not responding,’ she said. ‘It is a question of not accepting those demands’
Police said on Monday that they were forced to fire water cannon and a warning shot to fend off ‘extremely violent’ demonstrators, marking some of the worst clashes the city has seen since June.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam later warned that authorities would be forced to stamp down on the escalating violence.
She also refused to accept the protests’ demands which include a complete withdraw of the extradition bill, an independent enquiry into police violence and genuine universal suffrage.
A satellite image shows military and security vehicles parked in a stadium in Shenzhen
Chinese state media also released videos to show tanks and military trucks being mobilised
Hong Kong and the mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen shares a 37-kilometre-long (22-mile-long) border. The satellite images suggested the military trucks have been assembled in Shenzhen Bay, a stone’s throw from Hong Kong across the water
In a latest display of discontent, hundreds of Hong Kong protesters today took to the streets to denounce Cathay Pacific Airways for dismissing crew taking part in or supporting anti-government rallies.
Cathay was targeted for its sacking of 20 pilots and cabin crew and what staff have described as ‘white terror’, a phrase used in Hong Kong and elsewhere to describe anonymous acts that create a climate of fear.
Rupert Hogg, the airline’s former CEO, announced his resignation in a shock move earlier this month after Beijing demanded the carrier suspend personnel who engaged in illegal protests and submit ID clarification for cabin crew on China-bound flights.
Demonstrators gather for a protest against the recent firings of Cathay Pacific employees in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Cathay was targeted for its sacking of 20 pilots and cabin crew
A protester wears a plastic patch over his eye in reference to a female demonstrator who was allegedly hit by a bean bag round in her eye by police during a clash earlier this month
One female protester holds a placard that reads ‘revoke termination, stop terrorising CX staff’. Cathay staff have described current situation in the company as ‘white terror’, a phrase used in Hong Kong and elsewhere to describe anonymous acts that create a climate of fear