Peng Jingtang will take up the position in Hong Kong after a stint as the deputy chief of staff at the People’s Armed Police.
China has appointed a former paramilitary chief, Peng Jingtang, as the new commander of the People Liberation Army’s (PLA) garrison in Hong Kong, state broadcaster CCTV reported late on Sunday citing the PLA spokesman.
Peng, who holds the rank of major general, was previously the deputy chief of staff of China’s paramilitary police force, the People’s Armed Police. His appointment was signed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, CCTV said.
CCTV also quoted Peng as saying that he would in his new appointment work with all members of the garrison to follow the command of the ruling Communist Party and Xi, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and security interests.
Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with Beijing promising that it would respect the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the territory – and unknown on the mainland – for at least 50 years.
Critics say China has failed to keep that pledge, noting that freedoms have been eroded, particularly since the imposition of the national security law in June 2020, following pro-democracy protests the previous year that sometimes turned violent.
Dozens of elected politicians and activists have been arrested since the law came into force while others have fled into exile. Beijing has also moved to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system in a move it said was necessary to ensure only “patriots” were able to hold office.