AP NEWS

Q&A: The Chinese troops in Hong Kong and what they can do

November 17, 2019
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In this image made from video, People’s Liberation Army soldiers, dressed in shorts and T-shirts pick up bricks scattered by protesters at Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Troops from the Chinese army joined an effort to clean up debris outside the university, which was the site of clashes this week. (Television Broadcasts Limited Hong Kong via AP)
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In this image made from video, People’s Liberation Army soldiers, dressed in shorts and T-shirts pick up bricks scattered by protesters at Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Troops from the Chinese army joined an effort to clean up debris outside the university, which was the site of clashes this week. (Television Broadcasts Limited Hong Kong via AP)

HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese troops made a rare public appearance on the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday, joining an effort to clear streets of debris from the anti-government protests that are now in their sixth month. Here’s a look at the People’s Liberation Army role in the semi-autonomous territory:

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WHY ARE THERE CHINESE TROOPS IN HONG KONG?

Hong Kong is a Chinese city, and 4,000 army, navy and air force personnel entered Hong Kong when the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. Many are stationed in former British military facilities.

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HOW MANY TROOPS ARE IN HONG KONG NOW?

The number is not publicly known, but past estimates have put it at 8,000 or 10,000.

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WHAT IS THEIR ROLE?

The Hong Kong Garrison was established to defend and maintain Chinese sovereignty of the city and its security.

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COULD THEY INTERVENE IN THE PROTESTS?

The Garrison Law allows them to help maintain public order at the request of the city government. That has never happened, and Hong Kong authorities have said they can handle the situation themselves.