HK police trained to perform PLA-style foot drills for 1st time
Published: Feb 23, 2021 08:38 PM


More than 23 years after Hong Kong returned to the motherland, putting an end to its colonial past, the Hong Kong Police College held Chinese-style foot drill trainings, taught by members of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison for the first time, after the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) invited the PLA Hong Kong Garrison Honor Guard Battalion. 

Some experts and representatives from the HKPF consider such training necessary, as the HKPF has continued to adopt the British-style foot drills after 1997, with strong colonial characteristics that need to change. 

But experts noted that the changes should be conducted gradually and could not be achieved overnight.   

Local media in Hong Kong reported on Monday that the Hong Kong Police College held PLA-style foot drills training at the parade grounds in Wong Chuk Hang, taught by members of the PLA Hong Kong Garrison. And the South China Morning Post, citing an unnamed government source, reported that the skills acquired from the unprecedented training sessions would be deployed at the handover parade on July 1, 2022 for the 25th anniversary celebrations for Hong Kong's return to the motherland. 

A spokesperson of the HKPF told Global Times that the HKPF's current style foot drills remain unchanged, and will continue to be used in training and ceremonial work, and this was also the first time that the HKPF invited the PLA Hong Kong Garrison Honor Guard Battalion to the Hong Kong Police College to conduct such training and exchanges with the HKPF and Disciplined Services. 

The training is only for ceremonial activities and the HKPF has no plans to change current foot drills, according to the spokesperson. 

The Global Times learned from experts that there are many differences between Chinese and British foot drills, which mainly lie in moves and the way to hold guns. 

The moves in British-style foot drills are slower than those in the Chinese style. Members of the British honor guard hold assault rifles with their left hand while those in Chinese honor guards hold semi-automatic rifles with their right hand, according to experts.

The HKPF uses typical moves of British-style foot drills such as swinging their arms to the level of their shoulders and knee lifts to 90 degrees.   

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the HKPF continued to use British-style foot drills after 1997, which is a heritage of colonization. 

"The custom will be changed gradually," Song said.

Despite the HKPF said they do not plan to change current foot drills, the attempt they are making still deserves praise and support, an observer told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.  

"The HKPF will keep up with the times and change. One of the key principles for development and change is de-colonization. Colonization marks should not be saved under the guise of diversification," the anonymous observer said. 

In the process of change, the HKPF should borrow some bright spots from PLA foot drills while try to integrate their own characteristics, the observer said, noting that as any behavior of the HKPF would attract public attention, they should improve gradually to avoid controversy. 

Chinese netizens also agree that it is necessary for the HKPF to change and gradually use Chinese-style foot drills with their own characteristics to help them de-colonize.  

"Since Hong Kong has returned to the motherland, any trace of the colonization period should be abandoned," said a Sina Weibo user.

"They have started to de-colonize bit by bit. How could Hong Kong residents get a sense of belonging to the country while even their disciplined services are applying British-style training?" said another.