Hong Kong has been engulfed in protests for months now. The demonstrations were triggered by a proposed extradition bill, which would allow for accused Hong Kong residents to face trial on the mainland, where criminal cases are little more than show trials. There has been wide spread opposition to the bill in Hong Kong, as many fear that this will greatly undermine Hong Kong’s guaranteed freedom. Protests have been constant for months and have reached over a million participants at times. The police have tried and failed to suppress the demonstrations, and now Beijing is threatening military intervention.
China has been increasing the rhetoric against the protesters. In the past few weeks, the Chinese state-run newspaper, The Global Times, has published articles with overt threats of military action. Concurrently, state-operated television has been playing videos of People’s Liberation Army (the Chinese Army) soldiers practicing invading a place that looks suspiciously similar to Hong Kong. In those videos soldiers have also conducted “training simulation” involving “anti-riot” tactics, according to The National Interest.
The Chinese government has now begun to label some demonstrators as terrorists. Many are concerned that this label will be used as a pretext to conduct an “anti-terrorism operation” in Hong Kong. These fears are well-founded considering China’s long history of wiping out dissenters. Most famously, in 1989, at Tiananmen Square, the Chinese Army massacred thousands of protestors (some estimate between 2,000 to 3,000).
According to Reuters the Chinese ambassador to Britain — Hong Kong’s former colonizer — said today that, “The central government will not sit on its hands and watch [the protests.]”
The rhetoric coming out of the Chinese government suggests they plan to repeat history if the demonstrations continue. Recent intelligence has now confirmed that China is preparing to back up its threats. The government yesterday conducted a massive military parade in Shenzhen — the closest city in China to Hong Kong. This has been viewed as a blatant threat by the Beijing government against the protestors, who are no more than a hundred feet away.
It was discovered that the People’s Liberation Army has been secretly stockpiling men and war materiel in Shenzhen. The government has tried to hide this fact from the world, but the sheer amount of supplies that they have concentrated, makes such a feat impossible. In order to keep the massive military vehicles out of plain view, the central government has hidden the vehicles in soccer stadiums. This information was discovered on Monday by surveillance photos from Maxar Technologies.
Photo of Chinese military equipment stashed in a soccor stadium:
The next day, President Trump told reporters that the U.S. government had independently verified a military buildup near Hong Kong.
If China sends their forces into Hong Kong, many could die. It would also effectively result in the end of all freedoms that have been previously promised to the special administrative region.