23:12 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Chinese Military Vows 'New' Contributions to Stability in Hong Kong - Report

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    The news comes amid ongoing protests in the financial hub, which reportedly turned violent last week for the first time since hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents took to the streets almost two months ago.

    The People's Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong said Thursday that the Chinese military will make 'new' contributions to maintaining Hong Kong prosperity and stability, Reuters reported, citing the Xinhua news agency.

    According to the media report, the Chinese military has now completed a routine troop rotation in Hong Kong, with air, land and maritime forces entering the territory.

    Protests in the financial hub began over two months ago after local legislature opened debate on a bill that would allow extradition to mainland China. The city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has since declared the bill to be "dead" although according to protesters it has not been officially scrubbed from the record.

    Protesters are demanding that the offensive bill officially be withdrawn. Locals also want city authorities to implement universal suffrage and retract criminal charges against the protesters.

    Last week, rallies reportedly turned violent, with police firing warning shots for the first time in three months. In mid-August, protesters occupied the Hong Kong International airport. The peaceful sit-in rally escalated into fierce clashes with some Chinese police officers who were reported injured. Beijing condemned what it described as the violent actions of the protesters, calling them "near-terrorist acts".

    The United Kingdom and the United States have expressed concern over alleged acts of violence that occurred during major protests in Hong Kong. Beijing has warned against foreign interference in domestic Hong Kong affairs.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the situation in Hong Kong amid recent massive protests the most serious since the region's return to China in 1997.

    In 1997, Hong Kong became the first administrative region of China under a "one country, two systems" policy. The move ended colonial rule by Britain of the region.

    Hong Kong, reportedly enjoying a level of autonomy from China, except for foreign and defense policies, has a legal system that significantly differs from Beijing.

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