China’s Xi warns efforts to divide China will end with ‘crushed bodies and shattered bones'

Sophia Yan
Chinese President Xi Jinping made the warning ahead of a key event in Hong Kong this week - The Rising Nepal

China’s president Xi Jinping has warned efforts to divide or destabilise China will end with “shattered bones,” as international pressure mounts over the government’s handling of protests in Hong Kong and a widespread crackdown on Muslim minority groups. 

“Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones,” Mr Xi said, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. 

“And any external forces backing such attempts dividing China will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming!” he was quoted as saying to Nepal’s prime minister KP Sharma Oli during China’s first state visit to the South Asian country in two decades.

Mr Xi’s comments come ahead of a potential flashpoint on Wednesday, when the Hong Kong government will reconvene its Legislative Council for a fall session. Embattled chief executive Carrie Lam is also scheduled to give a speech, and is expected to formally withdraw the extradition bill that sparked the protests.

With violence escalating, foreign governments including the US and UK are putting more pressure on Beijing to act humanely and hold up its end of the Sino-British Joint Declaration – an agreement meant to protect freedoms in Hong Kong when the former colony was returned to China.

American politicians have also introduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would mandate an annual review to determine whether Hong Kong remained sufficiently autonomous to justify unique treatment by the US.

It would also sanction individuals over human rights violations and bar them from entering the country.

The bill has drawn bipartisan support and is scheduled to be considered in the House this week, after sailing unanimously through earlier committees.

Protesters first took to the streets over concerns that suspects extradited to China would not receive a fair trial, as Communist Party control contributes to a 99.9 per cent conviction rate. 

But after a summer of unrest, a pledge Ms Lam made last month to officially axe the legislation wasn’t enough to appease protesters. Activists have expanded their demands to include Ms Lam’s resignation, an independent probe into police handling of the protests, democratic election reforms, and for all rioting charges to be dropped as the offence carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. 

Police have fired live rounds, sometimes as a warning, hitting at least two teenage protesters. Activists are also increasingly aggressive, hitting police officers with sticks, throwing petrol bombs and setting fire to road barricades. Over the weekend, the back of a police officer’s neck was also slashed.

China is also battling foreign scrutiny in Xinjiang, a land-locked western province where millions of Muslim minorities have been locked up and tortured in “re-education camps.”

Last week, the US Commerce Department also announced sanctions on 28 public security bureaus and companies in China implicated in human rights violations in Xinjiang.