Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping issued a stark warning when it comes to “territorial integrity,” one of the communist state’s “core interests.”
“Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry quoted Xi as stating in Nepal, where he met this past weekend with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In Hong Kong, meanwhile, thousands of protesters took to the streets on Saturday and Sunday, many wearing masks of Xi in defiance of a new law which prohibits protesters from wearing masks.
Joshua Wong, one of the protest leaders, posted a photo on Twitter of protesters in the Xi masks, writing: “President Xi, 5 demands, not one less!”
The five demands are: the full withdrawal of a bill that would allow extradition to China; freedom for political prisoners; an independent investigation into police brutality; direct election of lawmakers; and an end to being called “rioters.”
“Any external forces that support the splitting of China can only be regarded as delusional by the Chinese people,” Xi said.
Xinhua quoted Xi as saying in Nepal: “Anyone attempting separatist activities in any part of China will be crushed and any external force backing such attempts will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming.”
China has accused the United States of helping to orchestrate the Hong Kong protests.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, was in Hong Kong on Oct. 13 to support the protesters
“We’ve seen over two million people come to the streets standing up for freedom, standing up for democracy, and standing up against the oppression of the Chinese Communist regime,” Cruz said. “I think it is very much in the United States interests to support the people of Hong Kong. I’m here, I’m dressed in all black standing in solidarity with the protesters.”
Xi’s comments were seen by many as a warning not only to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong but to supporters of Taiwan’s independence.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, during the celebrations honoring the establishing of a free Taiwan last week, responded to Xi’s National Day speech, saying: “We are witnessing China’s rise and expansion, as they challenge free, democratic values and the global order through a combination of authoritarianism, nationalism, and economic might. As the strategic forefront of the Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan has become the first line of defense for democratic values.”
“China is encroaching on us through their sharp power, but as a crucial member of the region, we know that Taiwan must fulfill its responsibilities to the international community. We will not act provocatively or rashly; rather, we will work with like-minded countries to ensure that the peaceful and stable cross-strait status quo is not unilaterally altered,” Tsai added.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted in August: “The PLA is supposed to protect the people, not pound them into submission. It’s time for authoritarian China to back off!”