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Chinese army releases promo video for Hong Kong troops

AP  |  Hong Kong 

The Chinese army has released a promotional video for its Hong Kong-based troops at a time of uncertainty over whether the military will intervene in the city's summer of protest.

On the eve of Thursday's anniversary of the army's founding, the Hong Kong Garrison of China's People's Liberation Army posted on its official social media account a three-minute video showing soldiers rappelling from helicopters, aiming sniper guns and, in one sequence, throwing tear gas at a crowd dressed as civilians.

This section of the footage, labeled "anti-riot drill," shows armed soldiers in riot gear pelting tear gas and shooting water cannons in a scene with stark similarities to the current situation in Hong Kong, where the police have used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to quell pro-democracy demonstrators.

Some of the targeted civilians shown in the army video are wearing helmets and masks, much like those worn by protesters who have taken to Hong Kong's streets in the hundreds of thousands over the past two months.

Soldiers in the video hold up a red warning banner that declares: "Stop Charging Or We Use Force."

A similar banner is used by Hong Kong police when they quell protests. At the end of the drill, soldiers are seen taking some handcuffed civilians away.

Hong Kong police this week arrested 44 people on rioting charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 on the principle of "one country, two systems." The framework promises Hong Kong certain democratic freedoms not afforded to the mainland.

In recent years, however, Hong Kong residents have complained that Beijing is increasingly encroaching on their freedoms.

An undercurrent of distrust for the Communist Party-led central government has propelled the mass demonstrations, which began in response to extradition legislation that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China to stand trial.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 01 2019. 17:20 IST