A former paramilitary chief of the Xinjiang region in China has been named the new commander for the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong.

Peng Jingtang, the new chief of the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong. Photo: Gov CN.

Major General Peng Jingtang was previously the deputy chief of staff of China’s paramilitary police force, the People’s Armed Police, according to Chinese media.

Peng’s appointment was signed into order by China’s leader Xi Jinping, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Peng Jingtang, the new chief of the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong meets Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK.

According to an official statement, Peng will “resolutely follow the orders of the party, the Central Military Commission and Chairman Xi, to fully implement ‘One country two systems,’ and resolutely defend national sovereignty, security and interests.”

Anti-terrorism drills

Peng held the role of chief of staff for the Chinese paramilitary’s Xinjiang contingency in 2019, when he led anti-terrorism combat drills with Kyrgyzstan military forces in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.

The predominantly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group in the province are among the minorities targeted in what Beijing claims is a campaign to tackle unrest and separatism. The UN says a million Uyghurs have been arbitrarily detained in “political re-education camps,” whilst Human Rights Watch reports that surveillance and repression in Xinjiang has increased dramatically since 2016. Several western countries have imposed sanctions over Beijing’s actions.

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