On Friday, China Daily wrote about the situation in Hong Kong: “It does not take Sherlock Holmes to conclude that the CIA has been – to whatever degree removed – behind the more extreme acts [of protesters].”

It said that the mainland has “so far remained restrained despite all the provocations, does not mean that it has no capability to bring the situation in Hong Kong under control.”

On Friday a protest was held at Hong Kong’s international airport.

Global Times ran a front page story predicting “large scale violence” in Yuen Long in the New Territories on Saturday, with one headline warning “PLA involvement debated to end turmoil in HKSAR”.

Police refused to authorise a planned protest in Yuen Long against Triad gangs on Saturday, that is expected to go ahead regardless. There has been a wide backlash in Hong Kong to the violent attacks by white-shirted men in Yuen Long that left 40 people with injuries on Sunday night.

“Debate is growing over whether the central government should deploy the People’s Liberation Army to end the chaos as soon as possible,” the Global Times story said.

But the veiled threats in Chinese media that the PLA could be deployed contradict statements from the Hong Kong government, which on Wednesday dispelled rumours the PLA would be used to guard the Legislative Council and other key buildings as “totally unfounded”.

In Hong Kong, New Territories North Acting Regional Commander Tsang Ching-fo said police will be deployed to Yuen Long to prevent violence on Saturday, and conceded police handling of attacks on July 21 didn’t meet public expectation.

Umbrella movement founder Joshua Wong said the Global Times was encouraging mainland Chinese people to travel to Yuen Long ahead of the planned protest, after it published an article that suggested Yuen Long egg rolls were the best souvenir for mainland tourists going to Hong Kong.

Global Times editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, argued the PLA garrison shouldn’t be used as “Hong Kong’s police back-up” and the Chinese mainland needed to be patient.

People’s Daily had earlier in the week delivered a stern condemnation on its front page of Sunday’s graffiti attack on the national emblem as “openly challenging the authority of the central government and touching the bottom line of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle.”

On Friday a Hong Kong appeal judge overturned the convictions of two police who had been sentenced to jail for assaulting a protester during the 2014 Umbrella movement protests. But five police officers were returned to jail for the attack, with sentences reduced.

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