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China plays down reports of assembling troops at Hong Kong borders

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Press Trust of India Beijing
Playing down reports of assembling its troops near the borders of Hong Kong, which is witnessing huge pro-democracy protests for the last two months, China on Wednesday said that the onus is on the US to prove that it has no hand in instigating the anti-Beijing demonstrations.
Reports from Washington quoting officials of the White House said that the US is monitoring a congregation of Chinese forces near the border of Hong Kong which is witnessing the biggest pro-democracy protests since it was handed over by Britain to China in 1997.
For over two months, the former British colony is gripped with mass protests with participation of millions of people opposing a bill to extradite wanted locals to mainland China for prosecution. The protests continued even after the local government said the bill is dead.
The protests at times turned violent as police tried to supress them with tear gas and rubber bullets.
China earlier hinted at deploying its troops currently stationed at a garrison in Hong Kong at the request of the local government.
The reports on Tuesday quoted a White House official, who was not identified, as saying that nature of the Chinese troop build-up was not clear but the units of the Chinese military or the armed police had gathered at the border with Hong Kong.
Asked for her reaction at a media briefing here on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, who on Tuesday alleged the US' hand behind the protests in Hong Kong, said that "I am not aware of the specific situation but if the White House prefers to see prosperity and stability in Hong Kong they should give some advice to those violent protestors to protest in peaceful way rather than resorting to violence."

Hua, on Tuesday, criticised US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's remarks that China should do the right thing in Hong Kong.
"I wonder does he hoped that those violent protesters who are attacking the police with iron batons can go to the US and show how democratic the US is," Hua said, referring to Pompeo's comments.
"I believe Pompeo is not putting himself in a right position. I am afraid he still believes he is the CIA chief. He thinks the violent behaviours in Hong Kong are reasonable because the US also contributed to that," she said.
Pompeo was the former director of the CIA before his appointment as the Secretary of State.
Hua alleged the US' hand behind the protests. "There have been many American faces in the protests in Hong Kong, and even some American flags," Hua added.
When pointed out that the US officials dismissed her remarks as ridiculous, she said "US need to give frank explanation to the whole world. Indeed, if the US can prove and promise that it will never have a hand in Hong Kong affairs we will surely welcome that."

Asked whether China would provide evidence to back its allegations, Hua said "do you think it is necessary to provide further proof and more evidence. From what we can see from the media and public, I believe we can come to a conclusion. US is the one that may need to provide more evidence that it will not have a hand in Hong Kong affairs."

"No matter what the US does, we hope it can promise it will never interfere in Hong Kong affairs," she said.

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First Published: Jul 31 2019 | 6:00 PM IST

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