PLA Helps Guard Hong Kong in ‘Challenging Times’, Ming Pao Says

  • China’s soldiers ‘strong force’ supporting society’s stability
  • City a ‘pivotal point’ in international political relations

The presence of China’s armed forces in Hong Kong has helped keep the city stable during challenging times, including the Occupy Movement in 2014, Ming Pao newspaper reported, citing Feng Wei, deputy director of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

China’s People’s Liberation Army is a “strong force” supporting the stability of the society, Feng said during an internal meeting marking the 20th anniversary of PLA’s presence in the city on Friday. Hong Kong is a pivotal point in international political relations, and PLA forces should be prepared to deal with more complicated tasks going forward, Feng said.

Hong Kong will mark the 20th anniversary of its handover by Britain to China on July 1, and Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit for the first time since assuming office in 2013. The special administrative region has experienced growing opposition to what some see as the mainland’s political interference in the past three years, with tens of thousands taking to the streets in 2014 and violent demonstrations erupting last year.

The 2014 demonstrators, who became known as the Occupy Movement, held 79 days of street rallies, occupying roads and disrupting traffic in the city center, after China insisted that it would vet candidates for the chief executive post. Last year, police officers were injured in protests by pro-independence “localists” in what China described as a threat to national security that must be stopped.

Earlier this year, Hong Kong selected former Chief Secretary Carrie Lam as its new chief executive in an election decided by a 1,163-member committee dominated by China loyalists. She replaces Leung Chun-ying on July 1.

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