What Is the Chinese Military Doing in Hong Kong?

The People’s Liberation Army has kept a low profile in the city since China resumed control. But the recent protests have some fearing it could emerge from the barracks.

Comments: 37

  1. Ask the Uigers about brute force. Notice how forcefully the international community has responded? The belt & road program rolls along through predominantly muslim countries. This is a leadership group that executes its political rivals for corruption. Or imprisons them for life. Threatens their families. Accepted as normal operating procedure. We still want their cheap steel. They blow up corral reefs, build military islands in areas contested by their neighbours, then righteously confront vessels violating their borders. Do they worry about their image? How would the world react to a Tiananmen crackdown in HK? They're prepping their citizens for it. They'd support it as an overdue comeuppance. The world would talk about its outrage, then move on to the next outrage in a few weeks. Eventually award them another olympic games. And Taiwan's reaction to this. Get their backs up; buy more US military hardware. Then grow more dependent on their largest trade partner. And come to view the HK crackdown as their inevitable future. For those who think China worries about its image: an HK crackdown may very well enhance the underlying image that China's leadership wants.

  2. @Dred The security forces were responding to some brutal attacks, by Uighurs, on Chinese civilians. That kind of response happens everywhere. The Chinese have yet to start a war. The US should look to that aspect of its own behavior. Or address the issues of reconciling the injustices of slavery and genocides directed at the American Indians.

  3. @Popsiq The Chinese may not have yet started a war but they agressively throw their weight around in dealings with all their smaller neighbors...simply ask Brunei, or the Vietnamese, the Philippines, the Malaysians, and the Taiwanese, who have all been violated, sometimes massively, in these past years. Seeking to draw some kind of moral equivalency between the actions of the US and China is in error. US citizens can protest and exercise their vote at the ballot box. Neither is true for Chinese citizens. The Constitution and courts constrain the actions of the US government. The Chinese Constitution is manipulated by the Party. Chinese courts enforce law on the basis of Communist Party priorities with no independent media and a complete lack of transparency. The Uighur concentration camps which China erected, to emasculate a culture and to imprison a million people, and yet vehemently denied in spite of strong independent evidence to the contrary, shows there is no moral equivalency.

  4. @Popsiq They haven't launched wars that were publicized. Since the inception of the PRC, they have started multiple wars: - Sino-Indian War 1962 -- PLA were aggressors - Nathu La and Cho La incidents 1967 - PLA were aggressors - Sino-Soviet Border Conflicts 1969 - PLA launched a surprise attack - Sino-Vietnamese War 1979 - PLA were aggressors You're right... the US should look to the Chinese example...

  5. "...during mass pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong five years ago, people on higher floors of the building could sometimes be seen monitoring protesters on the streets below." It's likely the building's CCTV system has been significantly upgraded to the extent that far fewer mysterious figures with binoculars and cameras need be visible on the upper floors. Given what's known about the expansion of surveillance inside the PRC proper, including versus the Uighers and other minorities, there's little reason to believe it's much less pervasive in Hong Kong.

  6. @Mike it appears that recently 37 countries in the UN, many Muslim, said that china's organisation of society in xinjiang is good. Of course the western media won't show much of this event, as it overshadowed the 22 western countries (non Muslim) that condemned it.

  7. Dictatorships do not tolerate dissent.

  8. @Potlemac, Cautionary tale for those who do not understand how fragile is our hold on democracy in the USA. It must be defended by getting every person who believes in the ideas contained in our Constitution to vote to remove those like McConnell and Trump who stop all legislation from passing by refusing to reach compromises, cozy up to dictators and constantly assault the reporting of news.

  9. @Potlemac, I agree fully. Witness the POTUS section chiefs starting the "send her back" chant at a recent POTUS rally. Dissent is not tolerated within the Republican party, and we now see attempts to extend this to the USA in general.

  10. This whole round of protests has profoundly shown how little the Mainland knows or understands how hearts and minds might be won in Hong Kong. It seems like the local government also does not fully grasp how their actions will be received by the locals. The recent violent attack on protestors in Yuen Long is only the latest incident, each of which has only ratcheted up tensions. I hope things start to cool down.

  11. @Matt it actually shows how powerful the western media and Western NGO funding of anti China groups in HK, are extreme influential. Years of experience of doing it else where I'd say.

  12. @Oli This is what bias-minded western "free media" are very good at doing. They fooled themselves and the mass in 2016. I would bet a penny that they will do so again and again ...

  13. @Oli Quote: "it actually shows how powerful the western media and Western NGO funding of anti China groups in HK, are extreme influential." If that is really the case, then it strongly suggests China's government is unconscionably weak and ineffectual when it comes to protecting its domestic security. Alternatively, you could try peddling a more convincing line than the CCP's tired old fig-leaf about foreign powers wanting to subvert China, and address the very real concerns of millions of Hong Kong people about the legally unwarranted erosion of their freedoms by a hubristic mainland dictatorship.

  14. Looks like China is gunning for a Tiananmen 2.0 event. Could be another one they'll work hard to erase from the history books.

  15. Only PLA can stop the annoying protesters. The amendment of extradition law of HK has been postponed, but the protesters continue their march to everywhere in HK. HK police forces are not trained to deal with well planned, organized, and highly coordinated protests. In addition, some local politicians blame HK police for their inept attitude towards wild youth. HK police forces are thus in a no win situation. HK needs outside forces who are not afraid of criticism by the free press and local politicians. Not until those protesters taste the pain, they won't be stopped. If these protesters continue without thinking real hard, PLA will march into HK and put a stop on this nonsense.

  16. @UsokIf the PLA ends up in Hong Kong the cities developed market status could be at risk. On top of proving Mainland's non-existent support requiring violence in this matter, China risks its only seat at the big boy table in global finance. There is nowhere in emerging China's dismal rule of law backwater that can replace Hong Kong.

  17. @Hank Not quite. Hong Kong is no longer at the forefront of China's economy. It makes essentially no contribution to the country's revenue. It is no longer a financial hub for China since Shanghai has largely taken that position, and not a gateway to China anymore. When the British left, there is no agreement on how to govern Hong Kong, it is a one-side promise from Chinese leaders.

  18. @josh wrote: “Hong Kong is no longer at the forefront of China's economy. It makes essentially no contribution to the country's revenue. It is no longer a financial hub for China since Shanghai has largely taken that position, and not a gateway to China anymore.” All the more reason for China to let Hong Kong go its own way. Hong Kong provides no advantages to China. It will be Xi’s and the Chinese Communist Party’s downfall if the PLA goes in.

  19. Could this be a repeat "Tiananmen", the use of brute force instead of a reasoned pacific approach to our differences, a show of tolerance in accepting different points of view? How long ought this violence go on, trampling the human spirit, and to hell with human rights? Can't we see that Xi's communist regime is considered an institutionalized violence against the dignity of it's own people? Can't we learn from the past, exercise some humility. for the little we know, instead of the current arrogance based on ignoring what makes as stronger, our social intercourse towards justice and peace? Not that these United States, currently under the rule of an undignified and unhinged despot, can be taken as a guide as to how to behave. Still, diplomacy must be given a chance, and the sooner the better.

  20. “The law states that any such action must be initiated by the Hong Kong government...” The law states blah, blah, blah. We are not talking about responsible country, we’re talking about a nominally Communist, genocidal dictatorship that has arbitrarily imprisoned in concentration camps over a million people because they belong to an ethnic minority. We’re talking about a regime that has imprisoned all members of a religious sect, Falun Gong, for the last twenty years, regularly lethally injecting and dissecting followers to fulfill foreign organ transplant needs. There is no law in China. To paraphrase Big Papi Ortiz, it is your blessed city. The PLA cannot defeat an armed populace. Who wants to be next in line as an unwilling organ donor?

  21. POTUS has given China a green light for a repeat of Tienanmen with his statement that Xi Jinping has acted 'very responsibly' with the protests in Hong Kong. The White Shirts thuggery was just the beginning of a ramping up of violence. Look for Beijing to pull a Putin and surreptitiously engineer a violent act, that will be used to justify imposition of martial law and more Communist troops. And the US signals to Beijing, whether they realize it or not, are that the US will not intervene in such circumstances.

  22. POTUS believes he has control but wise Americans have disconnected the wires behind the control panel long ago. He can flip switches and turn dials madly until 2020. We all know he and his incompetent crew will be banished from the control tower at that time.

  23. @On Therideau The US won't intervene under any circumstances irregardless of who was President. This is unambiguously an internal issue for the PRC an intervention would be an Act Of War. I don't think any President would invite war with Chine over HK, No matter who they were

  24. In March 1979, China’s PLA invaded Vietnam to punish Vietnam for invading Cambodia and for driving out the genocidal mass-murdering Beijing puppet Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Millions of innocent men, women, children and infants were executed by Cambodian Communists to rid Cambodia of anyone who could read. Pol Pot took his guidance and inspiration from Mao in China. The Vietnamese could no longer tolerate the mass mayhem and drove it out of Cambodia by force. For this noble service to humanity, the PRC’s PLA invaded Vietnam. Despite the PLA claims of victory, the truth is the Vietnamese army defeated the PLA. The times the PLA have fought the Vietnamese, it has not had a happy ending for it. If it tries to invade and annex Taiwan, it will be humiliated and defeated. It will at best be a pyrrhic outcome that will undo the CCP.

  25. @Jake Russia exported Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism to China. But ungrateful Mao blamed Russians as " "Revisionists". They had a "mini-War". China exported Maoism to Vietnam. Vietnam's Ho Chi Min blamed Maoists as 'land grabbers'. They had a "mini war". Vietnam exported 'their War of National Liberation' to Cambodia. But Cambodia's Pol Pot massacred his own people with China's help. Viets attacked Cambodia . The Cambodians, however, did not like Viets' staying in their country and drove them out! The Question: Why did the U.S. spent billions in wars with the Soviets, the Viets and the Cambodians? Especially, when they were doing it themselves? The U.S. later rebuilt China to be the World's No. 2 economy? And now Trump has to 'tariff' them to maintain our First Place? Now, We are helping Viets to rebuild their economy and against the Chinese!

  26. Mostly agree, generally.

  27. The title is misleading. Chinese military is on Chinese territory - Hong Kong, period.

  28. @JD "The title is misleading." To the unwary, perhaps. To the percipient, on the other hand, the title is cleverly ambiguous to challenge readers' thinking and draw them in. That's how good journalism works.

  29. HK is, like Macau, a SAR.

  30. Not to worry, it's still "one country, two systems." The brutally authoritarian system, and the not-quite-so-brutally-authoritarian-as-the-other-system system.

  31. Hong Kong is a reliable catalyst for international finance and commerce between China and the Rest of the World. Shanghai is not. Why? The world has high confidence that any disputes between Chinese companies and contractual foreign parties will be arbitrated fairly without influence from Beijing. Not so in Shanghai. If China’s global commerce is to grow, it needs to present a fair system of principles and laws that minimize risk to foreign parties. Hong Kong’s Arbitration Centre is world-renowned. Transactional risk is unacceptable without Hong Kong, unless London, New York or Singapore are specified by the contract, which might be a stretch.

  32. The single biggest reason for hoping that President Xi won't use Chinese troops to put down the demonstrations in Hong Kong is that it would kill whatever hope there might be of convincing Taiwan to accept a similar "one country-two systems" arrangement.

  33. Actually the clue that the dogs are about to unleashed in HK. Will be when the CCP brings in Hard troops from the borders accustomed to doing what their ordered without question, pity or sympathy. Or ethnic minority troops who will have little sympathy or compassion for the locals. The garrison troops have been there long enough to have built up local ties thus rendering them.. Unreliable? for this kind of duty. Anyone who thinks the CCP is going to negotiate? Well that's a big mistake. Beijing will never negotiate that would viewed has weakness in an environment where weakness is inevitably fatal. Let it go? Never going to happen HK is viewed has a great wrong inflicted on China! Not inaccurately I'm afraid. If it comes down to it? And I think it will. China Will drown HK in blood rather then let it go. Or if they're feeling pleasant, They'll just turn off the water which is supplied from the Mainland. And wait for the (inevitable) surrender. My money's on blood. But I suspect the Chinese government has substantial support for an example being made. For those calling for the US or the UK to do something ? It's internal...US or UK interference would be viewed (Rightly) has an act of war. Nobody is willing to fight a war over HK. HK is on its own and in the long term CANNOT win unless the PRC let's it win. An unlikely prospect I think.

  34. So in other words, the Chinese government has behaved with great restraint while American media fantasize endlessly about violence and crackdowns.

  35. Scenario made for Hollywood. The PLA move into Hong Kong. The people retreat to thousands of tall skyscrapers, block the doors and disable the elevators. The PLA below gets bombarded from high roof tops and balconies - pots, plants, irons, everything heavy traveling at 100 mph. Tough urban jungle. Close quarters.

  36. One question. If the PLA is mobilized in Hong Kong, what happens if the elevators suddenly stop working? Soldiers climbing the stairs will be difficult in a city of huge skyscrapers. Close quarters. Blind corners. Terra incognito.

  37. The recent violent demonstrations by those unhappy Hong Kong people and mobs were really a big surprise to me. My first visit to Hong Kong was in Feb. 1939 during the British colonial rule. As a school kid I didn't have any idea what was the colonial rule means to me. But I enjoyed my elementary school years. My parents and my family really enjoyed our Hong Kong years until the Japanese Army occupied the island after the Pearl Harbor attack. I saw with my own eyes about the Japanese atrocities and killing innocent Hong Kong people. I couldn't believe what I saw and it was very bloody. I also saw a few hundred British/Canadian troops were captured by the Japanese and they were waiting for the Japanese to send them to military camps somewhere in the island. We were told about 300 poorly armed British troops were stationed in Hong Kong because of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, the British government didn't expect that Japan would attack Hong Kong but they did and occupied the island until the end of WWII. We were so excited about the unconditional surrender of Japan to the allied forces in August, 1945. I can't believe that Chinese government would need 6,000 plus troops stationed in Hong Kong. I also was invited by the last British government to attend the handover ceremony on July 1, 1997. I remember China promised to the Hong Kong people the island will remain the same for 50 years. China please keep your promise and leave HK alone. We all love Hong Kong.