Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Xinjiang anti-terrorism cop to lead Hong Kong garrison



Xinjiang anti-terrorism cop to lead Hong Kong garrison

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People gather on a quiet Sunday afternoon on the grounds outside the Central Government Complex in Hong Kong’s Admiralty district. AFP

Xinjiang anti-terrorism cop to lead Hong Kong garrison

A general who led China’s anti-terrorism special forces in Xinjiang has been promoted to head up the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Hong Kong, state media has reported.

The appointment comes as Beijing is remoulding the international business hub in its own image and run the city according to its laws after destabilising protests in 2019.

Under the city’s mini-constitution, Hong Kong has its own police force but China has maintained military barracks there since the city’s 1997 handover when colonial Britain’s forces left.

A new national security law has also empowered the mainland’s security agents to operate openly in the city.

China’s official Xinhua news agency announced on January 9 that major general Peng Jingtang, deputy chief of staff of the People’s Armed Police, has been appointed the Hong Kong garrison’s commander by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Among the few details released on state media about Peng’s career is his former post as the chief of staff of the Armed Police Corps in Xinjiang, part of China’s paramilitary police force.

Three years ago Reference News – a branch of Xinhua – reported that a new special force called Mountain Eagle Commando had been formed in Xinjiang “for the anti-terrorism needs in the region and across China”.

Peng was quoted in the report as being the force’s leader.

“Every single bullet of ours is aiming at the battlefield,” he was quoted as saying, alongside revealing that the ammunition spent by Mountain Eagle in training sessions over a single year was three times what other units use.

China has blanketed western Xinjiang in a security crackdown in recent years after ethnic riots in the capital followed by attacks by Uighur militants.

Dense deployment of paramilitary forces and massive surveillance systems were installed to stamp out what the ruling Communist Party described as widespread Islamic extremism and separatism in the region.

Campaigners say at least one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim minorities, have been detained in Xinjiang camps alongside a deliberate campaign to assimilate the minority group’s religion, language and culture.

Washington has labelled the crackdown a “genocide”.

After initially denying the existence of the Xinjiang camps, China later defended them as vocational training centres aimed at reducing the appeal of Islamic extremism and Beijing denies a genocide is taking place.

Peng is replacing his predecessor Chen Daoxiang, who is reaching the retirement age.

Under Chen’s leadership, Hong Kong’s PLA soldiers have become more visible – during the 2019 protests they cleared debris following a confrontation between demonstrators and police, as well as holding frequent drills simulating crowd control and anti-terrorism operations.

China’s leadership has dismissed the city’s huge democracy rallies, portraying the movement as “local terrorism” and separatism, rhetoric similar to that used for Xinjiang.

Dozens of prominent democracy campaigners are in jail on national security charges.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the