In the beginning, the Chinese military opted to stay low-key. The garrison’s commander, Major General Chen Daoxiang, told visiting US principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs David Helvey in June that the Hong Kong government and city police would have to deal with the demonstrations.
Yet the rift between the protesters and city government has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks with increasing violence and arrests. And on Wednesday Chen told an auditorium of Hong Kong officials and foreign diplomats at the garrison’s Central Barracks to mark the PLA’s 92nd anniversary, that China’s sovereignty and “one country, two systems” framework must not be challenged. Ongoing violence and rioting would not be tolerated.