The Chinese military released a video on Thursday warning of “consequences” for the people of Hong Kong if they continue to protest against Beijing’s encroachment on their freedoms.
The release of the propaganda video came as the head of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong made his first public statement on the protests that have rocked the city over the past four months.
“Recently, Hong Kong saw a series of violent radical incidents, which seriously disrupted Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, seriously challenged Hong Kong’s rule of law and social order, seriously threatened the life and property of Hong Kong citizens, and seriously violated the bottom line of One Country, Two Systems,” said commander Chen Daoxiang. “This cannot be tolerated and we express strong condemnation.”
“One Country, Two Systems” is the governing principle that states China has sovereignty over Hong Kong but cannot impose communism there.
Chen, addressing an event commemorating the 92nd anniversary of the establishment of the PLA, went on to argue that the Hong Kong garrison had become a “heroic force” that continues to act as “linchpin for Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.”
The event was also an opportunity for the PLA to showcase a promotional video of troops carrying out combative operations. One of these operations was an anti-riot drill, where troops are seen pushing back protesters while displaying a red warning flag with the words “stop charging or we use force.” At one point in the video, a soldier shouts the following warning in Cantonese: “All consequences are at your own risk.”
The video is broken up into “chapters” showcasing different military skillsets. In one chapter, “Maintaining Order,” soldiers wearing riot gear attack demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas, detaining people en masse. In a later chapter titled “Anti-Terrorism,” troops are seen storming buildings, driving tanks, and shooting targets from long range.
The video concludes with Chinese people praising the PLA and discussing their patriotic feelings. One man describes how the “PLA and people of Hong Kong are integrated,” while another girl simply says: “I love my country.”
The Chinese army in Hong Kong has released a PR video: https://t.co/mLKhbbAeaV The three-minute clip includes a scene where a soldier shouts a warning in Cantonese: “All consequences are at your own risk.” pic.twitter.com/h4bWX3lrrS
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) August 1, 2019
Some of the attendees at Wednesday’s event included current pro-China Chief Executive Carrie Lam, her predecessor, Tung Chee-hwa, the director of the China Liaison Office Wang Zhimin, and Hong Kong Police Chief Stephen Lo. In his remarks, Tung blamed the United States and Taiwan without evidence of being behind the recent civil unrest that has left over 160 people injured and more than 200 arrested, while five people have committed suicide in protest.
“This political storm escalated quickly and is massive in scale. Its organization appears loose but is intricate and hidden, and is clearly different from past movements,” said Tung. “There is reason to believe that there are masterminds behind the storm, and may be related to the involvement of foreign forces, with signs pointing to Taiwan and the United States.”