China's Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the military is following closely the recent situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), citing a law that allows the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong to conduct public security missions after the local government makes a request to the central government.
"We have been paying close attention to the developments in Hong Kong, especially after riots on Sunday when radical forces besieged the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong," Wu Qian, spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defense, told a media briefing on Wednesday.
Wu said that radical demonstrators have challenged the authority of the central government and touched the bottom line of the "one country, two systems," which is absolutely intolerable.
Tarnishing the "Pearl of the Orient" [which refers to Hong Kong] is not allowed, Wu said.
Responding to a question on how to deal with rising Hong Kong secessionist forces, Wu cited the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Garrisoning of the HKSAR, which stipulates that the HKSAR government could request the central government to allow the PLA garrison in Hong Kong to maintain social order and disaster relief when necessary.
Wu's remarks came amid rumors claiming that a number of office buildings will be guarded by the Chinese PLA Hong Kong Garrison. Those offices include the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the HKSAR, the Chief Executive's Office and the Legislative Council Complex.
The HKSAR government dismissed the rumors on Tuesday, saying they were "totally unfounded."