As China celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Thursday, Chairman Xi Jinping vowed that China will not be bullied by foreign powers and that those who attempt it will have their “heads bashed bloody.”
“The Chinese people have never bullied, oppressed or enslaved the peoples of other countries,” Xi said, according to remarks translated by the Washington Post. “At the same time, the Chinese people will never allow any foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us. Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against a Great Wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
Xi characterized China’s rapid military buildup in recent years as the construction of a force for peace in the world, the New York Times reported.
Xi also said China is seeking a peaceful reunification with the island of Taiwan, which governs itself as an independent nation but which China also claims is part of its territory. During his remarks, the Chinese leader warned against “schemes” to help Taiwan maintain its independence from China.
Xi’s warnings about Taiwan come after China criticized a June visit to Taiwan by three U.S. senators, and began practicing amphibious landing drills on the beaches of China’s Fujian Province, across the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan. Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Senior Col. Wu Qian called the June visit “an abominable political provocation that challenges the one-China principle” and said China’s PLA “will resolutely defeat any attempt by the secessionists to separate Taiwan region from China, and safeguard national unity and territorial integrity at all costs.”
According to Reuters, during his Thursday speech, Xi also said, “All sons and daughters of China, including compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must work together and move forward in solidarity, resolutely smashing any ‘Taiwan independence’ plots.”
On Thursday, Xi said, “Nobody should underestimate the staunch determination, firm will and powerful capacity of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The people of China are not only good at destroying the old world, they have also created a new world,” Xi said. “Only socialism can save China.”
Xi also called on China to “accelerate the modernization of national defense and the armed forces.”
Regarding Hong Kong, Xi said China will “stay true to the letter and spirit of the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems,'” under which the two Chinese territories are to retain a high degree of autonomy. Xi said this despite China passing and starting enforcement of new national security legislation over Hong Kong exactly one year ago on July 1, 2020.
The Hong Kong security legislation banned broadly defined activities, such as “sedition,” “subversion” and “succession” against the Chinese government. Last year, Hong Kongers were warned that those who shouted pro-independence slogans could be charged under the new national security laws. This year, multiple Hong Kong activists were also arrested for promoting candlelight vigils commemorating the 32nd anniversary of when PLA troops violently dispersed activists in Tiananmen Square in a deadly event commonly referred to as Tiananmen Square Massacre. The Tiananmen Square Massacre is already heavily censored in China.