China’s military has rotated a new batch of troops into Hong Kong describing the move as routine, state media said Thursday, as protests against Beijing continue to rock the Asian financial hub.
Asian and Western diplomats in Hong Kong watching the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) movements had been expecting a routine rotation about this time and will be looking closely for any sign of increased numbers or unusual activity.
Regardless of the movement being termed “routine”, the timing is likely to hit nerves in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese control in 1997 under a “One State, Two Systems” agreement that gave Hong Kong special status.
China had also warned that Beijing would not “sit by and watch” as unrest continued in the semi-autonomous city.
Hong Kong has been engulfed in angry and sometimes violent protests against the government for three months, sparked by a now-suspended extradition bill and concerns that Beijing was trying to bring the territory under greater mainland control.