“Garrison officers and soldiers are determined, confident, and capable of safeguarding national sovereignty and development interests and the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong,” Chen stated Tuesday, including that the Hong Kong Garrison considered the nationwide safety legislation as “conducive to deter separatist forces and external intervention.”
Chen’s phrases do carry some further weight, nonetheless, given the uneasy standing of the PLA within the metropolis.
Chinese troops have been garrisoned in Hong Kong since its handover to Chinese rule in 1997, however the PLA has traditionally stored a really low profile. This started to alter throughout final yr’s anti-government unrest, as paramilitary troops have been moved to the Chinese aspect of the border, and Hong Kong PLA troopers engaged in cleanup actions.
The proposed nationwide safety legislation — which additionally permits Chinese safety companies to function in Hong Kong for the primary time — has led to fears amongst many within the metropolis that members of the PLA might be deployed onto the streets ought to violent protests resume.
In mainland China, sweeping nationwide safety legal guidelines have been used to focus on human rights activists, attorneys, journalists and pro-democracy campaigners.
Another protest is anticipated Wednesday, as Hong Kong legislators meet to debate a proposed nationwide anthem legislation. While the laws is unrelated to the nationwide safety invoice, it’s one other legislation that has been imposed on the town by Beijing.
Protesters have known as for individuals to collect outdoors the legislative council early Wednesday in an try and repeat their success final yr, once they managed to stop legislators from debating an extradition invoice with China, that was finally withdrawn.
Such a improvement is unlikely this week, as police plan to deploy hundreds of officers to protect an already fortified legislature.
“There is no need for us to worry because in the last 23 years whenever people worried about Hong Kong’s freedoms of speech and freedoms of expressions and protest, time and again Hong Kong has proven that we uphold and preserve those values,” she stated. “I think the best thing is to see the legislation in front of us, and to understand why at this point in time Hong Kong needs this piece of legislation, for the bigger benefit of the great majority of Hong Kong people.”
CNN’s Isaac Yee and Vanesse Chan contributed reporting.