The PLA’s Hong Kong garrison is likely to remain under the direct command of the all-powerful Central Military Commission once a sweeping military overhaul is complete, analysts said yesterday. The Hong Kong garrison has been under the CMC’s direct command since the handover on July 1, 1997 and is funded and staffed by the central government. It must abide by all the local laws of Hong Kong, including the Basic Law and the Garrison Law. But the garrison has also been administered by the Guangzhou military area command, the source of most of the garrison’s commanders and military commissars. In the ongoing restructure of the People’s Liberation Army , the Guangzhou military area command has been renamed the South Combat Zone and will be responsible for maritime security in the South China Sea. READ MORE: China’s retired PLA Hong Kong garrison political commissar under investigation for ‘violating law’ Beijing-based military analyst Xu Guangyu said that despite the restructuring of the Guangzhou command, the Hong Kong garrison would probably continue to stay under the CMC and receive logistical support from the new South zone because of the garrison’s political significance. “It is a political symbol of Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong,” Xu said. “[The garrison’s] special status is stipulated by the Basic Law.” This is also expected to be the case with the PLA’s Macau garrison, which has been in place in the former Portuguese colony since 1999. Hong Kong-based military analyst Liang Guoliang said there was no urgent need to “reposition” the two garrisons in this round of military reform so changes were unlikely to take place any time soon. “Any deployment of troops, including possible involvement in local public security issues, would have to have the Central Military Commission’s approval,” Liang said. READ MORE: Major General Tan Benhong, the new leader for PLA’s Hong Kong garrison Commanders and commissars of the two special administrative region garrisons were ranked on par with a deputy chief of a major military region, even though the units they oversaw were smaller. As a result, the posts have been a springboard for rapid promotion up the ranks. Eight of the 12 commanders and commissars of the Hong Kong garrison so far have been elevated from major general to lieutenant general while in the SAR. Xu said similar conditions were likely to put in place after the military combat zones were up and running. “A basic principle for the garrisons in the overhaul is to maintain their stability,” Xu said.