Images seem to show armored carriers in Shenzhen

Top News | ASSOCIATED PRESS 15 Aug 2019

Satellite photos show what appear to be armored personnel carriers and other vehicles belonging to the China's paramilitary People's Armed Police parked in a sports complex in the city of Shenzhen, in what some have interpreted as a threat from Beijing to use increased force against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The pictures collected on Monday by Maxar's WorldView show 500 or more vehicles sitting on and around the soccer stadium at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center just across the harbor from Hong Kong.

State media have said only that the exercises had been planned before hand and were not directly related to the unrest, although they came shortly after Beijing said the protests were beginning to show "sprouts of terrorism.''

US President Donald Trump tweeted that US intelligence believes that the central government is moving troops to its border with Hong Kong and that "Everyone should be calm and safe!''

Beijing has been apparently reluctant to send in police or army units from the mainland or to mobilize the People's Liberation Army Garrison in Hong Kong to quell the unrest. It is seen as mindful of the devastating effect that would have both on the territory's reputation as a safe and stable place to invest in, and as indication of the Communist Party's failure to win over the hearts and minds of the city's 7.3 million residents, 22 years after the former British colony was handed over to China.

It would also be a shocking reminder of the PLA's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations centered on Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, which remains a taboo subject in China but is memorialized with a massive rally and march each year in Hong Kong.

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