Since August, China has more than doubled the amount of People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops stationed in Hong Kong, including extra reinforcements of anti-riot police from mainland China. Since Hong Kong's handoff to the Chinese, Beijing has always kept a small number of PLA troops in the city, conducting rotations from time to time for resupply. Before protests started in June, envoys in the region put the number of Chinese forces at somewhere between 3,000-5,000. According to a Reuters report, that number has almost doubled, as envoys told the agency that the number of PLA troops was now at 10,000-12,000. Analysts say that the Chinese government used the most recent troop rotation as a smokescreen to allow extra troops to enter Hong Kong, making the current PLA garrison the largest to ever be active in Hong Kong.
Even more concerning, envoys in the area report that along with the PLA troops, Beijing has sent a detachment of People's Liberation Police officers, a mainland anti-riot group under the direct command of the PLA. According to Reuters sources, the PLP has brought in new anti-riot equipment, including heavy vehicles with water cannons and barbed-wire laying capabilities. •
Protests in Hong Kong have become increasingly more violent in the past days, as China gets closer to celebrating its 70th anniversary of communist rule (which is tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct 1st). On Sunday, protesters stormed Hong Kong business district, throwing Molotov cocktails and tearing down pro-china signs, showing their increased anger at the mainland Chinese government. Although officials in Hong Kong have banned demonstrations from occurring on Tuesday, protesters are still expected to take to the streets en masse, a move that could distract from China's military parade in Tiananmen square, and embarrass the country on a day where they plan to show national strength and unity.
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