Fears of Beijing intervening in the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests were raised Monday after footage emerged showing several armored trucks belonging to China’s People’s Armed Police traveling through Shenzhen, which borders the autonomous city.
On Monday, both the Global Times and People’s Daily posted a short video clip showing dozens of Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) traveling in a convoy to Guangdong province’s Shenzhen ahead of what a Beijing military expert claims are regular exercises.
The APCs’ guns are noticeably missing from their turrets during the display.
“The central government has repeatedly stated it will only interfere if there are large-scale riots and the Hong Kong government has applied voluntarily for support,” China military specialist Zhou Chenming told the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
However, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Political Science Professor Dixon Sing Ming asserted the armored vehicles’ presence is a blatant “psychological warfare tactic,” meant to thin out protester morale and numbers in Hong Kong.
“The drill is part and parcel of a well-coordinated attempt by Beijing to pressure the protesters and the general public to give up their five demands, including the one for universal suffrage immediately.”
The demonstrators’ demands, according to the SCMP, include: a withdrawal of the extradition bill, the resignation of two chief executives, a government denouncement of Hong Kong’s…