China’s rubber-stamp legislature adopted a land border law on Oct. 23 amid a protracted standoff over disputed territory with India.
The measure takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and comes after a step-up in Chinese activity along its disputed border with India and Bhutan, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), at its Himalayan frontier.
At the LAC, Chinese soldiers have been in a standoff with Indian troops since April 2020, with violent, deadly clashes breaking out in May, ending with a true in June. Ongoing talks held between the corps commanders on the two sides now in their 13th round failed to reach a resolution again on Oct. 10.
This is the first time that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing has outlined a dedicated law specifying how it governs and guards its 22,000-kilometer (14,000-mile) land border shared with 14 countries, including former superpower Russia, North Korea, Mongolia.
The law says that China will formally combine defence of its land borders with efforts to increase social and economic development in border areas, including the disputed LAC.
It says, the state shall take measures to “support economic and social development as well as opening-up in border areas, improve public services and infrastructure in such areas, encourage and support people’s life and work there, and promote coordination between border defence and social, economic development in border areas.”
Protests in India have already erupted over China’s construction of a village on land in India’s state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China has defended by saying that it has “never recognized” India’s claims in that region.
The law also says the CCP will “take effective measures to resolutely protect territorial sovereignty and land border security,” the law says, adding it will “protect and combat any act” that undermines China’s territorial claims and land boundaries.
The Chinese military and military police—the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Armed Police Force—are responsible for guarding the border against any “invasion, encroachment, infiltration, provocation,” it continues.
The law stipulates that China can close its border if a war or other armed conflict nearby threatens border security.
The Epoch Times contributed to this report.