CCTV news broadcast a video on Thursday of the People’s Liberation Army’s Hong Kong Garrison conducting a variety of air, land and sea drills in Hong Kong.

The broadcast comes as the controversy over pro-independence candidates continues. This week a number of pro-independence candidates were barred from running in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections. The candidates are expected to speak at a rally Friday night.

The video, which was originally uploaded to YouTube on July 22nd, was then broadcast on a CCTV news program on Thursday. It showed the PLA special forces conducting drills at a training area as well as landing from a helicopter onto a boat at sea. The broadcast indicated that the exercises took place “recently.”

The CCTV narration on Thursday said the special forces exercise took place over five days and four nights. Soldiers were shown climbing up and down buildings and conducting battle simulations with “real guns and real bullets.” The report also said that “everyone is an expert at operating the 22 types of special forces weapons, and everyone has their own special skill.”

Chen Yufei, the No. 1 company commander of the special forces teams, said “the training must be very harsh, and it must close to real combat. Only this way will we get used to the situation in a real battlefield.”

PLA training. Photo: Youtube screencap.

The version of the video that CCTV uploaded to YouTube on July 22 did not contain any narration.

Veteran commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu told Ming Pao that the PLA’s anniversary had just passed and that the video may be related to the enhancement of the PLA’s image. He said “this does not mean that if there is a riot in Hong Kong, the PLA will be deployed.”

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.