What’s the concern? Ahead of Sunday’s rally, video surfaced appearing to show Chinese police and armed police forces holding a joint training in the neighboring mainland city of Shenzhen, according to Chinese state media People’s Daily.
In a video, police can be heard chanting “Stop the violence and repent” in Cantonese and “We listen to the party’s command! We can win the battle! We forge exemplary conduct!” in Mandarin Chinese, a standard chant of the Chinese Army.
Why is it significant? The videos come as fears of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) intervention has spread through the city and triggered memories of the brutal 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
There is no indication that the Chinese military or People’s Armed Police members are set to enter Hong Kong. But state media has repeatedly brought up that possibility and propaganda videos of soldiers training in makeshift riot scenes have been heavily promoted by the government in the mainland.
What are protesters saying? In response to the Chinese show of armed force in Shenzhen, one man says they are “empty threats.”
For us, I think most of us would agree that those would be empty threats. Deep in the heart we know that they have too much to lose so military wouldn’t be coming to Hong Kong.
One woman agrees. “It doesn’t worry me because we know that if the military force from China or Shenzhen come to Hong Kong, the whole social order is being destroyed. And I don’t think this is what the government are willing to see,” she told CNN.
Another young woman whose surname is Choi, said she is worried about a possible intervention but she doesn’t think Beijing would dare send in the troops.
“They would not want a repeat of Tiananmen,” she said. “They spent too long doing PR, they had an economic boom, they’ve been trying to get more influence in the world.” She said if they did a repeat of Tiananmen, “they would lose all that credibility.”
Choi also said that while Hong Kong has seen some minor violence, international attention is focused on the city.
“I don’t think we have done anything that require them to escalate that way,” she said. “We are not generally violent, and they can’t really justify releasing the army into the city.”
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