What Happened: China more than doubled its military personnel in Hong Kong last month to upward of roughly 12,000 troops, Reuters reported Sept. 30, citing a number of Asian and Western envoys in Hong Kong. Beijing has also allegedly deployed its People's Armed Police as reinforcements, along with large stockpiles of anti-riot gear including water cannon-equipped trucks and street barricades.
Why It Matters: The additional forces do not necessarily mean a Chinese security crackdown in Hong Kong has become imminent. But the increase does highlight how Beijing is at least taking active measures to prepare for such a contingency, and that the option clearly remains on the table should protests in Hong Kong continue to escalate.
Background: Hong Kong's ongoing political crisis recently entered its 17th straight week. On Sept. 28, security forces deployed tear gas and water cannons against a pro-democracy rally after protesters began throwing Molotov cocktails and other objects at government buildings.
- Hong Kong Reaches a Point of No Return (Sept. 5, 2019)
- Where Do Hong Kong's Protests Go From Here? (Aug. 30, 2019)
- Charting the Growth and Turmoil of Hong Kong's Protest Movement (Aug. 28, 2019)