It's been a dark and turbulent couple of months for Hong Kong as the city has been rocked by pro-democracy protests.
And the last 10 weeks, in particular, have seen increasingly violent clashes between protestors and police - airports were forced to suspend hundreds of flights as a result of these protests.
As protestors in Hong Kong remain unwavering and defiant in their beliefs, tensions are beginning to run high across the rest of mid-land China - so high, in fact, that the Chinese military seems to be preparing for the very worst.
And now, terrifying footage has emerged of a huge military vehicle build-up along the border of Hong Kong. Flights remain well and truly grounded, and the overwhelming military presence is making many feel uneasy about what may happen next.
Keep scrolling to see the footage, which only highlights China's growing tensions with the protestors in Hong Kong.
Let me give you a little bit of context...
via: GettyHong Kong is unique from any other Chinese city. It was originally a British Colony until the Chinese handover of 1997. Though it became a part of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong was able to keep its own unique legal system, currency, and borders separate to the rest of the country.
One country, two systems.In the late 20th century, 3 Chinese territories remained beyond the control of the Chinese Communist Party - Hong Kong being one of them. It was acknowledged that, by imposing China’s political system on 2 colonies, panic and economic mayhem could be caused. Therefore, “one country, two systems" would allow the territories to remain much as they were while keeping their independent legal systems and police forces.
This arrangement is to last for fifty years.
via: GettyUntil the year 2047, that is. However, throughout the last few years, democracy activists have been growing steadily more and more frustrated and worried about what will happen when the fifty years are up.
Tensions had already boiled over back in 2014.
via: GettyAll of the frustration and fret led to the so-called "Umbrella Movement of 2014," a series of protests and sit-ins aimed at securing a promise of genuine democracy.
The Umbrella Movement was the largest social movement in Hong Kong's history.
via: GettyIn response to the originally peaceful protests, police resorted to tear gas and pepper-spray to combat protestors. The Umbrella Movement quickly turned ugly.
In response to this movement, the central authorities stood by their “one country" side of the deal.
via: GettyIn the years following the movement, several legislators were acquitted for disrespecting China. They went on to change Hong Kong’s constitution to require the passage of a law that would punish people for insulting the national anthem, mirroring a law that China passed in 2017.
But, years on, Hong Kongers are protesting again.
via: GettyThis year's protests were initially focused on a bill that will make it possible to extradite people from Hong Kong to China, where the Communist Party controls the courts.
Many Hong Kongers fear this bill.
via: GettyAnd some believe that the law would be used by authorities to target political enemies and, more importantly, that it would signify the end of the “one country, two systems" policy.
Though the bill has now been suspended, the protestors are still demanding action.
via: GettyHong Kongers want the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, unconditional release of arrested protesters, charges against them dropped, and an independent inquiry into the police's violent behavior.
The protests have grown to terrifying new levels.
via: GettyNumerous reports of shocking violence from both the protestors and the police have been coming in thick and fast throughout the last few days.
And it wasn't long before Hong Kong Airport was targeted.
via: GettyLast Friday, demonstrators arrived at Hong Kong Airport and initiated a peaceful sit-in. They initially staged a mass sit-down, and simply handed out pamphlets about the issue to visitors. However, the peace didn't last long.
Things began to turn violent.
via: GettyThe following Monday, 3 days into the sit-in and in response to the police brutality experienced over the weekend, protestors changed their tactics.
They brought the airport to a standstill.
More protesters started to gather in Terminal 2. They blocked the departure way with multiple trolleys, and chanted… https://t.co/0SS0mUfK3H— Athena (@Athena)1565686434.0
Hundreds of flights were subsequently grounded.By mid-afternoon on Monday, demonstrators had started blocking passengers from checking in and moving through the departures area, prompting the airport authority to suddenly cancel the hundreds of flights coming and going from the airport, which is one of the busiest in the world.
Things turned even uglier as the day progressed.
Fu Guohao, reporter of GT website is being seized by demonstrators at HK airport. I affirm this man being tied in t… https://t.co/UVxGMnK3jd— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@Hu Xijin 胡锡进)1565713383.0
Scenes at the airport became chaotic.
Protesters use lasers and luggage carts in an attempt to block riot police at Hong Kong airport, @PHancocksCNN repo… https://t.co/9KkGUQAYld— CNN International (@CNN International)1565710886.0
The violence continued.
WATCH: Things turn violent at the #HKairport as protesters holding batons attack police officers #HongKongprotests… https://t.co/5DdodIetjZ— CNA (@CNA)1565712704.0
This chaos went on for days.
via: GettyThe demonstrations brought flights to a halt for 2 consecutive days, subsequently stranding thousands of visitors trying to enter and leave the city. After last night's chaos, the airport has now resumed most of its flights and is now working on getting the thousands of stranded passengers onto replacement flights.
Though the protestors have now issued an apology to those who were left stranded at the airport.
Netizens on @lihkgofficial apologise for the inconvenience they caused yesterday at the Hong Kong airport. Chaos er… https://t.co/y5AjCKQMB0— Ezra Cheung (@Ezra Cheung)1565755697.0
Yet, despite their apology...
via: GettyThe crisis is far from over. Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the city had been placed on a “path of no return" after 10 weeks of the disruptive and violent protests.
And the Chinese military are seemingly making their preparations.
via: GettyNumbers of reports have been flooding in regarding the Chinese military's preparations to intervene with the unrest in Hong Kong. The Chinese government has previously warned Hong Kong about their movements, and said on Monday that the protests across the city had begun to show “sprouts of terrorism." However, China defines terrorism quite loosely, as it has previously used the term to describe non-violent opposition movements.
Terrifying footage of military vehicles has emerged.
Is China sending in the army to #HongKong? Look alike a massive build up. https://t.co/hxnUthz83Y— Anuraag Saxena (@Anuraag Saxena)1565713671.0
People have been describing the military presence as "overwhelming."
Overwhelming the number of military cars entering the city of #Shenzhen next to the boarder with #HongKong.… https://t.co/s2R3IPlP8j— Alexandre Krauss (@Alexandre Krauss)1565629179.0
The military seems to be preparing for something big.
The Chinese military, believing in the intel and these videos, have set in place a comprehensive military operation… https://t.co/eUq0nHwYVf— Alexandre Krauss (@Alexandre Krauss)1565626632.0
Tensions are well and truly at breaking point.
via: GettyThe messages from Beijing to protesters in Hong Kong are becoming increasingly ominous. Chinese authorities, who recently denounced protests as “terrorist acts," have promised an “iron fist" response to the protestors. In this current climate, we can only hope that the issues growing within the conflicted country can only be resolved peacefully with no further violence or brutality.