The head of the Chinese army in Hong Kong has spoken on the protests for the first time, saying the unrest has “seriously threatened the life and safety” of the people and should not be tolerated.
The commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong warned it was “determined to protect national sovereignty, security, stability and the prosperity of Hong Kong”.
The remarks were made by Chen Daoxiang on Wednesday at a reception celebrating the 92nd anniversary of the PLA. They came the day after 43 protesters were charged with rioting and released on bail. Some of those charged were as young as 16 and included a Cathay Pacific pilot.
At the reception, the PLA released a dramatic video showcasing the army. In one scene, the South China Morning Post reports, an anti-riot drill was shown. A soldier was seen shouting in Cantonese: “All consequences are at your own risk.”
The first chief executive of Hong Kong, Tung Chee-hwa, has also accused the US and Taiwan of orchestrating the protests that have rocked the former British colony for eight weeks.
Tung claimed that “foreign politicians and anti-China forces with ulterior motives” are working “to incite the fear of the people of Hong Kong and undermine the relationship between the mainland and Hong Kong”. He warned Hong Kong people from “being used”.
This is a developing news story, please check back for updates.