Observers say show of strength part of growing effort to intimidate members of independence movement
Chinese president Xi Jinping has presided over Hong Kongs biggest military parade since the British handover in a tub-thumping show of strength that observers said was intended to intimidate members of the former colonys nascent independence movement.
More than 3,100 troops gathered at the Shek Kong military base near Hong Kongs border with mainland China on Friday morning to stage the review for Xi, who is on a rare tour of the city to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the the former British colonys return to Chinese control on 1 July.
Chinas official news agency, Xinhua, said more than 100 pieces of military hardware, including air defense missiles and helicopters, were put on show in what local media described as the largest such mobilisation since Hong Kong returned to Chinese control in 1997.
Greetings, comrades! Chinas leader called out as he rode past the assembled troops on an open-top jeep. Comrades, youve worked hard!
Greetings, chairman, the armed soldiers bellowed back at their commander-in-chief as giant red China flags fluttered behind them. Serve the people!
Xinhua said the review was watched by about 4,000 spectators from all walks of life. According to the South China Morning Post, the spectacle included 20 squads of the Peoples Liberation Armys Hong Kong garrison, which has been stationed in the semi-autonomous city since the handover. The last such parade, in 2012, involved 15 squads.