situation report

China: Beijing Doubles Its Military Presence in Hong Kong

1 MIN READSep 30, 2019 | 15:35 GMT

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.

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