Why did the PLA Join the Clean-Up?
It was an “unmistakable” reminder that deploying the PLA remains an option for China’s central government, according to Willy Lam, a Hong Kong-based political analyst.
“(The troops) presented a very amicable, peaceful persona to the Hong Kong public,” Lam said of the clean-up.
“However, the other side of the message was that they could at any moment’s notice participate in the much tougher job of suppressing the so-called rioters.”
China’s President Xi Jinping said last week in a rare statement on the unrest that “stopping violence and controlling chaos while restoring order is currently Hong Kong’s most urgent task”.
Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian on Monday referred to Xi’s comments when he defended the clean-up operation, as he repeated warnings about military force.
“(The garrison) has the determination, confidence and capabilities to safeguard sovereignty security and development interests of Hong Kong,” Wu said, referring to the Basic Law.