China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been rushing to meet its annual drilling requirements after the COVID-19 pandemic halted exercises at the start of 2020. For the PLA’s garrison in the southeastern city of Hong Kong, that has meant naval, aerial and marine drilling across the region.
On Thursday, the People’s Liberation Army’s Hong Kong Garrison tested out a new facility downtown, dispatching an auxiliary vessel to dock there.
Someone across the bay spotted the ship on Thursday, incorrectly identifying the auxiliary as a “PLA battlecruiser.”
The 150-meter long dock was the last Hong Kong facility to be handed over to the PLA by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government after the implementation of the new national security law, which for the first time included Hong Kong. At the September 29 handover, Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam urged that the PLA would only use the dock on a “discretionary basis.”
Unnamed military experts told the Global Times at the time the downtown dock would “help the PLA deal with terrorism-related activities and meet China’s actual needs amid frequent foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs.”
In the years prior to the implementation of the new security law in late June, the former British colony was rocked by militant protests with extensive foreign backing, including by the United States’ National Endowment for Democracy, an organization with deep ties to the CIA. After the security…