Taking the floor at the opening ceremony of the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing on Monday, Wei Fenghe addressed the annual conference on security and defence arguing that nations should sort out their differences in no other way but through dialogue and mutual respect, stressing that China would never succumb to external pressure.
“Wanton interference in other countries’ affairs will never win", Wei said. “Interfering in other countries’ domestic affairs, instigating a colour revolution or even attempts to subvert the legitimate governments of other countries are the real causes of wars and unrest in different regions [around the world]".
Wei proceeded by saying that “wielding the big sticks or resorting to long-arm jurisdiction cannot solve any problems", blasting sanctions as counter-productive and arguing that the Chinese “don’t buy such intimidation and are not afraid to fight".
The minister then moved on the contentious issue of Taiwan, warning “external forces” against getting involved.
“China is committed to promoting the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, and to pushing for peaceful reunification [with Taiwan]", Wei said.
“But we will definitely not stand idly by in allowing Taiwan independence forces [to split the country], nor do nothing to stop external forces from interference", he noted asserting that “reunification with the motherland is the only way, and [all attempts] to split the country will lead to dead ends".
Although no country was specifically mentioned in the minister’s lines on foreign interference, his comments are purported to refer to last week’s approval by the US House of Representatives of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, with the move paving the way for it to become a law that would target the Hong Kong government.
Political analysts have thus suggested that the Chinese defence minister was taking a jab at the United States for “instigating colour revolutions” in other countries and using “long-arm tactics” to exert influence on China’s internal affairs.
Per Alexander Neill, a senior fellow for Asia-Pacific security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, cited by the SCMP, Wei’s warning about a colour revolution was “a clear reference to Hong Kong protesters”.
Jiang Xinfeng, a military researcher from the Academy of Military Sciences, the Chinese military’s top research body, argued that Wei was undoubtedly referring to the United States. "It is a well-known fact that the US has taken to colour revolutions to subvert other countries and promote its own ideology", Jiang said, reiterating Beijing’s stance.
The situation in Hong Kong, where thousands have been taking to the streets to have their say on new legislation, has been extremely tense of late: despite the authorities dumping an unpopular bill that would've granted extradition to the mainland, rallies have continued and turned violent.
Rioters further demanded that they be not banned from wearing masks during rallies and amnesty be granted to those detained during street gatherings. Beijing views the protests as a result of foreign interference in China’s domestic policies and threw its weight behind the measures undertaken by local authorities to disperse protests if they grow violent.