People’s Liberation Army (PLA) autos and troops are seen contained in the Tam Mei PLA base in Hong Kong’s northern New Territories, China November 16, 2019. — Reuters pic
HONG KONG, Nov 16 — Jogging in ranks, energetically clearing bricks, obstacles and particles in a choreographed motion as swift because it was disciplined, opinions had been divided over the sudden look of Chinese soldiers on Hong Kong’s streets on Saturday.
The debut of plain-clothes soldiers from a Chinese PLA barracks in Kowloon Tong was welcomed by some as a well timed demonstration of order and energy, in a metropolis caught in a close to six-month disaster.
“Very good, they’re helping the weak and poor,” a person who gave his title as Chu advised AFP, including the protests had gone too far.
“We can’t even walk on the roads, old grannies can’t go to the doctor, they’re (the protesters) breaking all this stuff but I have to pay for it with my taxes.”
Others perceived the clean-up as a warning to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, in a metropolis rocked by every week of intensified violence and chaos.
“We could get in big trouble,” mentioned a 24-year-old pupil demonstrator who recognized himself by the surname Leung.
Lawmaker Claudia Mo urged town to “stay alert” following the “political PR show”.
The protests are framed by fears Beijing could deploy its safety forces to quell the billowing unrest.
Article 14 of the Basic Law — Hong Kong’s mini-constitution since its handover from Britain to China in 1997 — permits the native authorities to request assist from PLA garrisons within the metropolis within the occasion of a public order breakdown.
During the clean-up, the lads sometimes broke off to kind ranks and take orders, all underneath the lens of an accompanying army cameraman, earlier than throwing bricks to the roadside and loading pink buckets and trolleys with particles earlier than pouring it into skips.
Others swept up after them with brooms and shovels in a tightly-organised excercise lasting lower than an hour.
Once every group had completed, they ran again into the barracks in ranks, shouting loudly in Mandarin: “One, two, three, four.”
A gaggle of individuals got here out to applaud shouting “Hong Kong add oil”, recasting a slogan of encouragement made well-known by pro-democracy protesters to assist the federal government facet.
China’s propaganda machine has constantly warned protesters a troublesome safety response is looming.
Political analyst Dixon Sing mentioned the intervention was “symbolic” due to the barracks proximity to the roadblocks.
“So I’m not quite sure if the PLA will extend their action similar to what we have seen to other areas,” he mentioned. “We will have to wait and see.” — AFP