In the clearest signal ever that the Chinese military may be deployed on the ground in Hong Kong, Major General Chen Daoxiang, commander of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison, said his troops will execute the central government's policies and strive to safeguard the city's prosperity and stability.
Earlier, the Chinese government had asserted that the Hong Kong Garrison would not interfere in the working of the city's police.
The National People's Congress (NPC) is expected to give the nod Thursday to impose a National Security Law on Hong Kong in a move critics say will fundamentally undermine the freedoms that were enshrined in the territory's laws when the British returned it Chinese rule in 1997.
“Beijing’s disastrous decision is only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms and China’s own promises to the Hong Kong people under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-filed international treaty,” Michael R. Pompeo, US Secretary of State said in a statement today.
Chen, also a deputy to the 13th NPC, was quoted as saying by China National Radio on Tuesday that the PLA Hong Kong Garrison “strongly supports” the draft decision proposed by the Standing Committee of the 13th NPC concerning measures on national security in Hong Kong.
"This decision will help to curb and punish any attempt to jeopardize the national unity, deter separatists and foreign interference, and show our unwavering resolution of safeguarding the national sovereignty and territorial integrity," the officer said.
The garrison's troops will uphold the principle of "one country, two systems" and complete missions given by the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people, Chen said.