Satellite photos reveal that hundreds of armored vehicles belonging to China’s paramilitary force are parked in a sports complex just outside Hong Kong, sparking concern that a potentially violent response to protesters in Hong Kong could come soon, according to The Associated Press.
The Hong Kong protests began in June in response to a bill that would have allowed for the extradition of people from Hong Kong to the Communist China mainland, a potential threat to the civil rights granted to Hong Kong residents under the “one country, two systems” policy.
Chinese state media claims that the 500 or more vehicles belonging to the People’s Armed Police are there as a part of an exercise that was planned before the mass demonstrations. However, the Chinese government has planted the seed for justifying violence against protesters by saying the demonstrations are showing “sprouts of terrorism.”
Tuesday, President Donald Trump urged calm and safety on Twitter, although he avoided direct criticism of the Chinese government for its handling of the situation. China has accused the U.S. of instigating the protests, pointing to reports in Chinese state media that U.S. diplomats were in contact with protest student leaders.
“Our intelligence has informed us that the Chinese government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Everyone should remain calm and safe!”
The Associated Press reported that the Chinese government may have planted decoys among protesters to encourage violence that will sway public opinion against the protests.
According to The Guardian, protesters want six main outcomes: The resignation of Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, the unconditional release and dropping of charges for all arrested protesters, the withdrawal of the use of the word “riot” by the government describing the protests, an independent inquiry into police behavior, and implementation of universal suffrage.