Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a chilling warning this week to those he believes are trying to divide China.
Xi made his comments while speaking to Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli during a historic meeting between the neighboring nations. Xi is the first Chinese president to visit Nepal in over 20 years, Reuters reported.
“Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones,” Xi was quoted as saying by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, according to Fox News and other American outlets. “And any external forces backing such attempts dividing China will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming.”
The meeting between the two leaders covered a wide variety of topics, including a study that will look into the feasibility of a massive railway project connecting China and Nepal as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Other issues that the leaders signed agreements on included “connectivity, security, border management, trade, tourism and education,” Fox reported.
Amid growing international scrutiny, China appears to have an ally in Nepal, with Oli reportedly telling his Chinese counterpart that Nepal will oppose “anti-China activities” within the country.
In issuing his dire warning, Xi was likely alluding to the rapidly escalating situation in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protests are drawing thousands of demonstrators.
The protests started earlier this year in opposition to an extradition bill and have since turned into broader demonstrations against mainland China’s authoritarian government.
Hong Kong police have reported instances of bomb attacks, while activists have countered with claims of brutality and the use of live ammunition to quell protests.
“Police said they arrested 201 people, ages 14 to 62, on Saturday and Sunday,” according to Fox. They also reported injuries to 12 police officers.
While the pro-democracy protesters have garnered international support, President Donald Trump has largely avoided the issue amid ongoing trade negotiations with China.
During a meeting Friday with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Trump said the Hong Kong situation is “going to take care of itself,” according to a White House transcript of his remarks.
However, the Trump administration has been more fervent in its criticism of what is happening in China on other fronts.
Last week, the Commerce Department said the Trump administration would be be blacklisting 28 Chinese companies for their role in the Chinese government’s mistreatment of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, CNN reported.
China has been cracking down on the Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority that has been vocally opposed to the communist government.
This crackdown has consisted of internment in detention camps, restriction on religious activities and even alleged organ harvesting.
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