BEIJING â China on Wednesday warned that it would not tolerate protestersâ efforts to threaten the central governmentâs authority in Hong Kong and suggested that it could, if necessary, mobilize troops in the Peopleâs Liberation Army garrison there to maintain order.
The warning came as the government released a new defense strategy that accused the United States of undermining global stability and identified separatism as Chinaâs most immediate security threat.
In the case of Hong Kong, the chief spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, Senior Col. Wu Qian, cited the protests on Sunday outside the central governmentâs liaison office in Hong Kong, which protesters painted with graffiti, suggesting that instances of violence were straining Beijingâs patience.
âThe behavior of some radical protesters challenges the central governmentâs authority, touching on the bottom line principle of âone country, two systems,ââ Colonel Wu said during a news conference announcing the new security strategy. âThat absolutely cannot be tolerated.â
He pointedly cited a specific article in the Basic Law, which details relations between the city and Beijing, that allows the Peopleâs Liberation Army to intervene to maintain order or assist in cases of natural disasters, when asked by Hong Kongâs leaders.
Beijingâs defense strategy, the first to be released in six years, also refused to rule out the use of force against Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, in the event the self-governing democracy took any formal steps toward independence. The document cited âexternal forcesâ that support such moves, an oblique reference to the United States, which has long provided political and military support to Taiwan.
The warnings about what are, to China, core matters of sovereignty underlined growing concern about threats to the central authority of the Communist Party government under Xi Jinping, who has repeatedly pledged never to cede any territory. Although China has long warned Taiwan against declaring formal independence, the warnings about the island were more detailed and voluminous than in previous defense strategies.
âWe must resolutely point out that engaging in Taiwan independence is a road to a dead end,â said Colonel Wu, who was joined by several senior military officials to detail aspects of the new strategy document. âIf anyone dares to try to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese Army will certainly not hesitate to fight and resolutely defend the sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of the country.â
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