Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday said that any attempts to drive a wedge between China and its territories will “end in crushed bodies and shattered bones.”
Xi made the remarks during a state visit to Nepal on Sunday.
“Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones,” he told Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli , according to China’s state broadcaster CCTV.
Chinese state media added that Nepal’s leader pledged to “firmly support China in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity and stand firm in upholding the ‘One-China policy,’” which refers to China’s position that there is only one Chinese government despite Taiwan’s reference to itself as the “Republic of China.”
“And any external forces backing such attempts dividing China will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming!” Xi told Oli.
Xi is the first Chinese president to visit Nepal in 22 years. Oli promised that Nepal would oppose any “anti-China activities” on its soil, according to CCTV.
The Chinese president’s comments come as pro-democracy protests in its semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong have continued into their fourth month.
What began as demonstrations against legislation that would have allowed for the extradition of Hong Kong residents to China to face trial has since snowballed into a violent fight against Chinese influence in the region.
Though a portion of protests over the past 19 weeks have been peaceful and largely without incident, offshoot groups of protesters have frequently clashed with the police, throwing bricks, umbrellas, and other objects at law enforcement.
The police have ramped up their responses to protests, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds, infiltrating protest groups using disguises, and arresting people en masse. Protesters have also suggested that the police have turned to organised gangs to carry out attacks on commuters.
On Sunday, peaceful rallies in the city descended into chaos, leading to the destruction of Beijing-linked shops and the closure of at least 27 train stations, according to the BBC.
Authorities say petrol bombs were also thrown at a police station in Mong Kok, and a police officer was stabbed in the neck.
Earlier this month, police shot 18-year-old protester Tsang Chi-kin at point-blank range in the chest, marking the first time that live fire was used since protests began in June.
A foreign journalist was also blinded after being hit in the eye with a rubber bullet while covering clashes.