The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sent in fresh military troops and armored tanks into Hong Kong at Huanggang Port in the early hours of Thursday, Aug. 29.

The move came a day after the Hong Kong Confederation Trade Unions organized a protest condemning Cathay Pacific Airways for firing its cabin crew and just hours after a peaceful Chater Garden night rally against alleged police sexual harassment of female protesters.

Amid mounting fears that the Chinese army would forcefully crush the ongoing pro-democracy protests, video footage from state-controlled media agency Xinhua showed CCP troops and armored vehicles arriving in Hong Kong last night, for what the Chinese communist regime called a “routine rotation.”

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The footage showed soldiers shouting, “Stay true to our original aspiration! Keep our mission firmly in mind! Carry forward the spirit of the Hong Kong garrison! Carry out the mission without fail!”

Footage also showed various armored carriers, trucks, and a patrols boat crossing the border from Shenzhen city into Hong Kong.

Troops ready to protect sovereignty, said Hong Kong battalion chief

Hong Kong Battalion of China Deputy Chief of Staff Liu Zhaohui reinforced the ominous message: “The rotation of personnel and equipment will further improve the capacity of the garrison to fulfill the duty of defense. We will firmly follow the command of the Central Committee of the party and the Central Military Commission.”

Liu continued, “We will resolutely safeguard the national sovereignty, security, and development interests.”

Xinhua news agency reported that China’s Central Military Commission, led by Chinese party leader Xi Jinping, approved the rotation.

Will CCP deploy troops to stamp out pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong?

Almost three months of on-going pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong triggered concerns that the Communist Party would deploy the military to crush the demonstrations, as it had done 30 years ago, during the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre.

Although Chinese authorities stated that Thursday’s deployment is a “routine rotation,” it sparked a debate as to whether or not the CCP would resort to violence.

Photographs from state-run media agency Xinhua showed that the Communist Party has swapped its military version of the Type 092 armored tanks for the WJ-03B, a model used by armed anti-riot police, according to a report from the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong-based military observer Liang Guoliang said the switch indicated that the CCP is prepared for anti-riot operations if necessary, reported the Post.

Liang stated that anti-aircraft machine guns in the military tanks had been removed, allowing room for more troops in anti-riot missions. He said the body of the anti-riot model has more holes to allow police inside to shoot rubber bullets, tear gas, and other anti-riot weapons more easily at protesters.

Liang saw the deployment of the anti-riot armored tanks as also part of the preparation before mainland China’s October 1 National Day celebrations.

On  Aug. 26, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam made it clear that local authorities would use law enforcement to “stamp out that violence.”

“We will adopt one yardstick, one yardstick in dealing with all forms of violence,” said Lam. “If violence continues, the only thing that we should do is to stamp out that violence through law enforcement actions.”

Whether the Chinese regime would resort to military force to crush the pro-democracy protests remains to be seen. However, there are strong indicators that the CCP will resort to violence, brutality, and other tactics against the pro-democracy activists.

The Hong Kong battalion had earlier broadcast a promotional video, showing scenes of soldiers, deceptively dressed like the protesters, facing off local residents.

Troops based in Macao, another special administrative region of China, also completed a rotation on Thursday.