Chinese state-run media on Monday (Aug 12) showed armoured personnel carriers and tanks assembling at a mainland city just across the border from Hong Kong.
The footage released by two outlets showed a large number of armoured vehicles on the move and several parked in the city of Shenzhen.
The release of the video comes after a dramatic escalation of a 10-week crisis that has been the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of Hong Kong since the 1997 British handover.
In a video tweet, the People’s Daily said the convoy of armoured vehicles was travelling to Shenzhen for a drill.
“Hong Kong’s radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging,” said Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
On Aug 6, a total of 12,000 Chinese police officers took part in an anti-riot training drill in Shenzhen.
The drill aimed to maintain social stability, encourage police morale and prepare the forces ahead of China’s 70th founding anniversary, said Shenzhen police in a statement to Global Times.
A senior official in the administration of US President Donald Trump has urged “all sides” to avoid violence in Hong Kong.
“Societies are best served when diverse political views are respected and can be freely and peacefully expressed,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on China “to be very careful and very respectful in how it deals with people who have legitimate concerns in Hong Kong”.