China put the finishing touches yesterday to a massive military parade to celebrate Communist China's 70th anniversary, but protesters in Hong Kong threatened to steal the global media spotlight. Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed yesterday to uphold the "one country, two systems" principle in Hong Kong, after months of protests in the semi-autonomous city. Speaking at a reception in Beijing the night before celebrations to mark China's anniversary, Xi said the country would "continue to fully and faithfully implement the principles of ‘one country, two systems' and a high degree of autonomy."
According to reports, the contingent of Chinese military personnel in Hong Kong had more than doubled in size since the protests began. They estimated the number of military personnel is now between 10,000 and 12,000, up from 3,000 to 5,000 in the months before the reinforcement. As a result, it is believed that China has now assembled its largest-ever active force of People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops and other anti-riot personnel and equipment in Hong Kong.
On Sunday, Hong Kong witnessed its fiercest political violence in weeks when riot police spent hours in running battles with protesters, the streets blanketed in tear gas and smoke from burning barricades. Hong Kong's protests, now in their fourth month, have often descended into violence late in the day and at night. A hardcore group of protesters says the extreme actions are needed to get the government's attention.