Hong Kong, February 25 (ANI): The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is teaching Hong Kong police with "goose-stepping" Chinese-style marching for the handover parade on July 1, 2022, for the 25th anniversary celebrations of the city's return from the British rule for the first time, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
The training started on Monday with pictures emerging of PLA soldiers in olive green uniforms giving instructions at Hong Kong Police College's parade ground in Wong Chuk Hang on the Chinese military's "goose-stepping" style of ceremonial marching, reported SCMP.
A government source said about 10 soldiers from the PLA's Hong Kong Garrison Honour Guard Battalion were invited to provide two weeks of training to selected officers, with members of other disciplined services, such as the customs and immigration departments, also joining the lessons.
The two-week marching skills programme launched this week is the first the PLA has given to Hong Kong police. The Chinese military is known for its ceremonial "goose step", in which troops keep their legs rigidly straight when lifting them off the ground, while their arms swing at a 90-degree angle in front of their chests.
Currently, each police officer undergoes up to 36 weeks of college training with repeated foot drills on the parade ground to build up a sense of consciousness, self-discipline and team spirit. Traditional British foot drills remain the standard style for Hong Kong's 33,000-strong police force.
Earlier in May 2019, some of Hong Kong's uniformed cadet groups switched from their traditional British drills to Chinese military marches at a flag-raising ceremony to mark the centenary of the May Fourth Movement, reported SCMP.
At least four of the 16 cadet groups at the Golden Bauhinia Square event broke with tradition and marched in the familiar Chinese manner, including goose-stepping. The groups said it was the first time they had switched from the British marching style since the ceremony started in 2006.
The change came after one of the main organisers, the pro-Beijing Committee of Youth Activities, sent a notice in March suggesting the cadet groups use the Chinese drills to "show respect to China", reported SCMP.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Commissioner of Police Chris Tang Ping-Keung on Tuesday said that the force had always exchanged marching knowledge with counterparts from different places, and that was also the intention behind the invitation to the PLA.
"At the moment we do not have plans to change our marching style. We often review the style with the times," said Tang.
When asked if all police officers would need to learn the Chinese foot drills, the chief said they should receive "appropriate marching training when necessary". (ANI)