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Spokesman gives statement about Hong Kong clean-up by Chinese PLA

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in shorts and t-shirts appeared in Hong Kong streets on Saturday, helping residents clean up debris after anti-government protests blocked roads.


Spokesman gives statement about Hong Kong clean-up by Chinese PLA

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A city spokesman has said that the move by China's PLA to clear debris and barricades in Hong Kong was initiated as a "voluntary community activity."
  • He added that the city government did not request assistance from the PLA.

A move by China's People's Liberation Army to clear debris and barricades left by anti-government protesters in Hong Kong on Saturday was initiated as a "voluntary community activity" by the military, a city spokesman said. The spokesman said the city government did not request assistance from the PLA, which has stayed confined to its garrison during months of protests that have gripped Hong Kong.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in shorts and t-shirts appeared in Hong Kong streets on Saturday, helping residents clean up debris after anti-government protests blocked roads, witnesses said. The presence of PLA troops on the streets, even in such a role, could stoke further controversy over the Chinese-ruled territory's autonomous status.

Hong Kong has been rocked by more than five months of demonstrations by protesters angry at perceived Communist Party meddling in the former British colony, which was guaranteed its freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Beijing denies interfering and has blamed the unrest on foreign influences.

Clashes between protesters and police have become increasingly violent. China has said any attempt at independence for Hong Kong will be crushed, but troops have remained inside their base.

Chinese state media repeatedly broadcast comments made on Thursday by President Xi Jinping, in which he denounced the unrest and said: "stopping violence and controlling the chaos while restoring order is currently Hong Kong's most urgent task".

(With inputs from agencies.)


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