Amid four-month-long anti-Beijing unrest in Hong Kong, President Xi Jinping has warned that any attempts to split China would result in “bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.” As per a foreign ministry statement on Sunday, President Xi issued the dire message during a weekend visit to Nepal.
According to the ministry, President Xi said, “Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.”
“Any external forces that support the splitting of China can only be regarded as delusional by the Chinese people,” he further claimed during his Nepal visit.
The Chinese leader did not mention any region by name but his comments came as riot police and pro-democracy protesters clashed one more time in Hong Kong on Sunday and with self-ruled Taiwan.
In Hong Kong, several rallies erupted while some protesters blocked roads, sabotaging train tracks, and trashing pro-China businesses. For the fuelling unrest situation in the city, China has blamed “external forces”. The former British Colony, Hong Kong enjoys rights unheard of in the mainland, such as freedom of speech.
The opposition sparked the protests regarding a now-scrapped proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China which later turned into a larger movement for democracy and police accountability.
There has been anxiety that China may send in troops to put an end to the unrest but Beijing has till now said it believes Hong Kong’s police force is capable of controlling the protests.
According to a few analysts, Beijing may risk international condemnation by repeating its 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, when it deployed tanks and troops to quash the uprising, leaving hundreds, perhaps more than 1,000, dead.
Beijing has also strengthened its stance with Taipei since President Tsai Ing-wen was elected in 2016, as her government refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of “one China”.
Till the end of a civil war in 1949, Taiwan has ruled itself but China claims the island as its territory and has vowed to seize it by force if needed. There is another tension in US criticism of Beijing’s security crackdown in the northwest region of Xinjiang.