Beijing/Hong Kong: The Chinese Defence Ministry has issued a clear warning stating that ‘the protestors’ attack on the Beijing representative’s office in Hong Kong posed a challenge to the ruling Chinese government and thus, the military force could be used to crush the protests’. Hong Kong has a Chinese base with nearly 6,000 soldiers along with warships, fighter jets, tanks and armed vehicles. There is a precedent for China using brutal military force, to crush the agitation demanding democracy, in the Chinese capital of Beijing, in 1989.
During the protests on Sunday, angry protestors attacked the Chinese representative’s office, expressing severe discontent against the Chinese government. Some of the angry protestors even defaced the main entrance of the office, breaking the security cordon. Sharp reactions were received from the pro-Chinese administration in Hong Kong, Chinese officials and the Chinese media, on the incident. The Chinese press suggested a firm action against the protestors stating that the attack on the representative’s office amounted to an open challenge to the Chinese regime.
Clear indications were received of the Chinese government preparing for such action, from the warning issued by the Defence Ministry. The Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman, Wu Qian issued a stern warning and stated, ‘On 21st of July, some aggressive protestors attacked the Chinese representative’s office in Hong Kong. The act is an open challenge to the Chinese government. Also, the protestors have disregarded even the ‘one country two systems’ constitutional framework. It will never be tolerated.’
The Spokesman warned that China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) could intervene under Article 14 of the Garrison Law. The Law was adopted at the time of Hong Kong’s handover from the United Kingdom to China. Accordingly, the local Hong Kong administration can seek help from the Chinese military base in the city-state. The Law has explicit provisions to ask the people’s government for such military assistance in maintaining social order and disaster relief.
At the same time, the Chinese military base has no authority to interfere in the internal matters of Hong Kong. In the last 22 years, the Chinese military base has, therefore, never openly taken any action in Hong Kong. Given the developments, if the Chinese government invokes the Garrison Law to crush the agitation against the controversial Extradition Bill, it may cause severe repercussions.
Meanwhile, the Chinese rulers have openly accused the United States of having a hand in the Hong Kong demonstrations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has issued a stern warning to the US. It said, “The hand of the US officials is seen behind the incitement of the protests, and the US should thus withdraw their ‘Black Hands’.