China's Xi Jinping demands 'strong hands' to maintain stability ahead of 19th party congress

China celebrates its National Day on Oct 1, marking its 68th founding anniversary. On Oct 18, the country will have the opening of 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
China celebrates its National Day on Oct 1, marking its 68th founding anniversary. On Oct 18, the country will have the opening of 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (Reuters) - Stability is an absolute principle that needs to be dealt with using "strong hands", Chinese President Xi Jinping has told security officials ahead of next month's (Oct) key Congress of the ruling Communist Party.

China always steps up security ahead of important meetings.

Those working in the public security sector should improve their political awareness and maintain the authority and unified leadership of the party, Xi said, in comments reported by the official Xinhua news agency late on Tuesday (Sept 19).

"Xi noted that development and stability were the absolute principles, so both should be dealt with by strong hands," Xinhua said.

It is important to prevent and control major risks through the party's leadership, Xi added.

More effort needs to be exerted to improve "social governance by socialism with Chinese characteristics" to ensure the country enjoys long-term peace and stability, he was cited as saying.

The party is wary of what it terms "mass incidents", a euphemism for protests, of which there are thousands every year in China, over everything from illegal land seizures and pollution to corruption.

The party opens its once-every-five years Congress on Oct 18, where Xi will seek to consolidate his already tight grip on power.