Published: Sat, August 03, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Commander of Chinese military in Hong Kong warns that protests are 'intolerable'

Commander of Chinese military in Hong Kong warns that protests are 'intolerable'

Civil servants and medical workers will join the next round of weekend protests.

Both men publicly met Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers performing drills during a demonstration at an open day at the Ngong Shuen Chau Barracks on Stonecutters Island in Hong Kong.

The protests evolved into a people power movement for democratic reforms and an end to eroding freedoms, in the most significant challenge to Beijing's rule since the city's handover from Britain in 1997.

Beijing insisted that its troops in Hong Kong would "defend the city" when negotiating with the United Kingdom on the city's future, but it agreed to confine troops to their camps - and they could only be deployed if requested by the Hong Kong government and approved by Beijing.

Civil servants attend a rally to support the anti-extradition bill protest in Hong Kong, Aug. 2, 2019.

"Hong Kongers, fight on!"

The protest was aimed at supporting growing calls for an independent commission of public inquiry into the government's handling of planned amendments to the city's Fugitive Offenders Ordinance that would allow the extradition of alleged criminal suspects to mainland China, where they would stand trial in a judiciary that is wholly loyal to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

The commander of the army's city garrison said he was determined to maintain law and order.

In the latest confrontation, police used pepper spray and batons against hundreds of protesters who had gathered outside a police station in solidarity with the 44 who had just been charged.

But last week, leading pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong told NPR, "We should determine our own destiny instead of the Hong Kong people's future being dominated by Beijing".

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, China's top agency overseeing Hong Kong, said in an unprecedented briefing Monday that the unrest in the financial hub had gone "far beyond" peaceful protest.

But he said he doesn't expect to see military intervention any time soon.

The voiceover hails the PLA garrison as a symbol of Beijing's sovereignty and a buttress of the "One country, two systems" policy, as well as Hong Kong's stability and prosperity.

People from the finance community hold up umbrellas and shine lights during a rally against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong, on August 01, 2019.

Hong Kong's retail and tourism sectors could suffer.

Bloomberg quoted an anonymous Trump administration official, who said that there were clear signs armed police were converging at the border.

"I want the middle-aged and older generations - many of whom are still asleep and don't really understand the young people - to compare now to how good it was, relatively, in the British colonial period", she told AFP at a weekend rally in the heart of the Causeway Bay shopping district.

That wasn't the night's only scary situation outside of a Hong Kong police station, however, as clashes broke out at another one in the area of Kwai Chung where a crowd waited for the 44 suspects who had been charged with rioting over Sunday's violence to be released on bail. Others gave their occupations as nurse, teacher, or clerk.

China has largely allowed Hong Kong's authorities to contend with the protests nonetheless fears are rising that it could well possibly step in if disruption continues. It includes a segment showing the army's ability to tackle terrorists and maintain public order that seemed to be targeting Hong Kong's protesters. One of them faced an additional charge of assaulting police. The event was billed as an action against gangs of people who recently beat dozens of people in a suburban town as bystanders begged police for help.

Media footage of the incident has shown a number of police vehicles passing groups of white-shirted men gathering on the street prior to the attack, carrying rods and sticks, without taking any action.

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