The idea of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) on the streets of Hong Kong seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Now it is being considered a possibility.As Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests grow in frequency and intensity, the commander of the city's PLA garrison spoke about the demonstrations for the first time last week, saying that violence "should not be tolerated."
Since then Hong Kong has witnessed another five consecutive days of mass protests, which have shut down stores, disrupted air travel and led to clashes between police and demonstrators. The Hong Kong stock market had its worst day in months on Monday.
At a press conference on Tuesday, spokesman for China's Hong Kong and Macau Office said the local government and police were "fully capable" of handling the protests. But he said the city was being plunged into a "dangerous abyss," warning "those who play with fire will perish by it."