BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping warned adversaries on Sunday that any attempt to split China will “end in crushed bodies and shattered bones” according to state media, as anti-government protesters in Hong Kong returned to the streets for a 19th consecutive weekend.
Though Xi didn’t explicitly name Hong Kong in his comments, his references to “separatists” and “external forces” echoed the previous language used by Beijing when talking about protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
“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,” said Xi during a state visit to Nepal, according to state news agency Xinhua.
The comments differed slightly to those aired by CCTV, with no mention of crushed bodies or shattered bones.
Demonstrations in Hong Kong continued Sunday, but were smaller than in previous weeks and appeared to portend a shift to more guerrilla-style tactics.
Groups of protesters engaged in flash-mob style demonstrations across the city, embracing the phrase “blossom everywhere” on social media.
Though the majority of protests are still peaceful, the number of violent incidents has risen as the unrest has dragged on.
During a press conference Monday, a police spokesperson said that officers had uncovered an improvised explosive device on Sunday night on Nathan Road, one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares.
“The tactic used in such kind of bomb and the explosives involved in it are almost identical to those used in different terrorist attacks around the world,” said Suryanto Chin Chiu, the superintendent of the Hong Kong Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau.
Suryanto said the device, which was hidden meters from a police car in a planter and controlled by a mobile phone, appeared to be homemade but required a significant amount of time and expertise to put together. No one was reported injured.
Violence in Hong Kong has become more acute since the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, used colonial-era emergency powers to ban citizens from wearing masks at public gatherings earlier this month. On Sunday, protesters dressed in black vandalized and set fire to government facilities, subway stations and shops deemed to be pro-China.
Several incidents were caught on video, including one showing what appears to be a protester stabbing an officer in the neck with what police called a “sharp-edged object.” A group of protesters was also filmed attacking a lone officer in riot gear, with one delivering a jump kick to the neck.
Beijing has been particularly critical of Washington’s support for the Hong Kong protesters in recent months, with authorities accusing the US of helping to organize demonstrations, claims the US State Department has called “ridiculous.”
(PHOTO: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)