China passed a law to strengthen border protection amid military impasse with India, worries about spill over effects from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and the spread of COVID-19 from Southeast Asia.
China has been closely watching neighboring Afghanistan, where the Taliban returned to power in August, to guard against a possible inflow of refugees or extremists crossing over to link up with the Muslim Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region.
At its Himalayan frontier, Chinese soldiers have been in a standoff with Indian troops since April 2020.
The Land Borders Law will not necessarily change how border security is handled when the measure takes effect on Jan.
1, but it reflects China’s growing confidence in its capability to manage its frontiers.
China has also taken great pains to keep the COVID-19 virus outside of its borders, after illegal crossings from Myanmar and Vietnam contributed this year to a surge in cases in its southern provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi respectively.
“The country will take effective measures to resolutely protect territorial sovereignty and land border security,” the law says.
The law stipulates that China can close its border if a war or other armed conflict nearby threatens border security.
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China adopts new land border law amid protection