China releases footage of live fire drills as it warns over fresh Hong Kong protests

Beijing has issued an ominous warning with a new video of the Chinese military engaging in live fire drills as Hong Kong anti-government protests rocked the city over Christmas.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV released a 47-second clip showing the military garrison stationed in Hong Kong participating in emergency action on warship Qinzhou, a type 056 corvette, in the South China Sea.

“Fire the missiles!” shouted a commander.

The video, set to dramatic music, was aired on China’s state broadcaster and posted online.

State media proclaimed that soldiers must train in order to form a “compliant golden-hooped rod” around Hong Kong, a reference to a traditional Chinese tale in which magical warriors obey their master, the Monkey King.

The footage was released as Beijing’s representative office in Hong Kong issued a statement, saying it was a “key moment for stopping violence and ending chaos.”

The remarks called on mainland Chinese institutions and businesses in Hong Kong to support the central government.

They should “support the government” and “put great effort into tackling engrained problems and conflicts in various social sectors such as politics, economics, and education.”

Protests spread through Hong Kong over Christmas Eve and Day, with some demonstrators donning reindeer costumes in light of the holiday.Rallies ended in clouds of tear gas, with one police officer pointing his gun at the crowd, but not firing.

Footage shown on Hong Kong’s public broadcaster also showed a man falling from the first to the second floor of a shopping centre as he tried to evade police.Anti-government protests in Hong Kong are nearing the end of a seventh continuous month with no sign of ending.

Protesters were initially upset about an extradition bill they said would have sent suspects to face unfair trial in mainland China’s murky judicial system.

But they have stayed in the streets to rally against encroaching Communist Party influence, which demonstrators say is eroding freedoms meant to be guaranteed in the former British colony under the “one country, two systemes arrangement.”

The liaison office statement also referenced a speech in Macau given last week by Xi Jinping, leader of the Chinese Communist Party, largely seen as a thinly veiled rebuke toward Hong Kong.

Macau is “a beautiful chapter” under the “one country, two systems arrangement” as its residents have put patriotism ahead of other core values including democracy, rule of law, human rights and freedom, the president said.

Mr Xi also reiterated that Beijing would never allow “external forces” to challenge China’s sovereignty.

Government officials have blamed the UK, US and other Western nations for fomenting unrest in Hong Kong to destabilise China. Macau, like Hong Kong, is a former Western colony, and was under Portugese rule until 1999.