The massive land, sea and air forces conducted the live ammunition military exercise as thousands of protestors continue to challenge the city’s Beijing-backed government. Images and video footage of the demonstration included search and rescue drills in waters, marching formations, close quarter combat and live fire exercise with assault rifles and machine guns. The military exercise reportedly took place last Wednesday.
An estimated 6,000 PLA troops are stationed in the former British colony, but they generally keep a low profile and are rarely seen in uniform in public.
The PLA said the exercise was geared towards enhancing the combat-readiness and emergency response capabilities of the Hong Kong-based troops, according to CCTV.
The open house comes amid weeks of protests in Hong Kong against controversial legislation that would allow extraditions to mainland China.
China on Tuesday condemned violent protests in Hong Kong as an “undisguised challenge” to the formula under which the city is ruled, hours after police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who stormed and trashed the legislature.
A representative of China’s Hong Kong affairs office denounced the demonstrators, who are furious about proposed legislation allowing extraditions to China, and argued Beijing supports holding criminals responsible, state media said.
The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including freedom to protest and an independent judiciary.
Monday was the 22nd anniversary of the handover.
Beijing denies interfering, but for many Hong Kong residents, the extradition bill is the latest step in a relentless march towards mainland control.
However, government offices, where protesters smashed computers and spray-painted “anti-extradition” and slurs against the police and government on chamber walls, were closed.
The executive council meeting was due to be held in Government House, officials said, while the legislature would remain closed for the next two weeks.
Millions of people have taken to the streets in the past few weeks to protest against the now-suspended extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party.