Videos have been circulating in Chinese state media of exercises in Hong Kong's neighboring city of Shenzhen conducted by the People's Armed Police (PAP), a paramilitary group under the direct control of the Central Military Commission, headed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
This is part of a highly coordinated government propaganda campaign aimed at reinforcing its message that the Chinese military or armed police can be sent in to quash riots or violence if the protests in Hong Kong get out of the control of local authorities.
The video itself is no shaky cell phone footage that has spontaneously surfaced online. It is slickly produced, showing rows of armored vehicles moving on the expressways of Shenzhen and assembling in a service area, complete with smooth drone shots and menacing music tracks. There are a few different versions posted by different state media outlets -- but they are obviously all cut from the same source material. Some clips contain Chinese subtitles that spell out the relevant Chinese law that authorizes the use of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) to “handle riots, unrest, severe violent criminal activities, terrorist attacks and other public safety incidents.”
The Chinese government and military have been saying for days/weeks that they can be called upon by the Hong Kong government to preserve security and stability in Hong Kong if needed. This latest video is the clearest message yet from Beijing as it hardens its rhetoric with the protests in Hong Kong showing no sign of abating.