Chinese President Xi Jinping threatened to grind bodies into “powder” and “smash” the bodies of anyone who attempts to split Hong Kong from China.
“Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder,” Xi reportedly said in a statement on Sunday.
“Any external forces that support the splitting of China can only be regarded as delusional by the Chinese people,” he added.
The Chinese leader made the warning while visiting Nepal and did not name any specific territories or countries in his comments, but the Hong Kong protests are now in their 29th week.
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have been protesting for 29 weeks in Hong Kong after a proposed extradition bill would let the Chinese government extradite individuals charged with crimes in Hong Kong to mainland China for prosecution.
Chinese state media have attempted to control the narrative surrounding the protests, with one state-owned outlet re-writing Xi’s quote to sound less violent.
“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,” the outlet, Xinhua, quoted Xi as saying.
Additionally, the state-run tabloid, Global Times, compared the Hong Kong protesters to terrorists in ISIS.
“In movies, masked people cloaked in black are almost always bandits who kill and plunder. Such an image is also typical of a member of the Islamic State,” wrote “research fellow” Zhi Zhenfeng for the outlet.
“However, in the riots that started after the anti-extradition bill protests morphed into a so-called ‘pro-democracy movement’ during the last three months, the belligerent protesters acted violently under the garb of masks and black clothes.”
Moreover, the Chinese government has arrested those who question official state narratives or are even perceived to be disloyal to the state for their mere presence in the country.
Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation, called the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, on Tuesday that requires Washington to review Hong Kong’s human rights situation annually and implement sanctions against officials linked to rights abuses in the city, if approved by the Senate, Radio Free Asia reported.
After activists threw 20 gasoline bombs at a police station, an explosive device detonated when a police car drove by and an officer’s neck was slashed, Hong Kong police said violence against police has reached “life-threatening” levels, Reuters reported.
“Violence against police has reached a life-threatening level,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Tang Ping-Keung said. “They are not protesters, they are rioters and criminals. Whatever cause they are fighting for, it never justifies such violence.”