Chinese President Xi Jinping threatens to “ground” pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters into “powder”

China's president Xi Jinping has issued a warning against dissent, saying any attempt to divide China will end in "bodies smashed and bones ground to powder".

Xi Jinping's comments came during a state visit to Nepal on Sunday.

He didn't mention any particular region but it was seen as a warning to Hong Kong, where anti-Beijing protests have been ongoing for months.

"Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder. Any external forces that support the splitting of China can only be regarded as delusional by the Chinese people," Xi said according to a foreign ministry statement issued on Sunday.

The Hong Kong protests started four months ago and it has turned violent recently. Beijing has so far said it believes Hong Kong's police force is capable of handling the crisis. But protesters fear Beijing could send in troops to end the violence on the streets.

In 1989, beijing began a pro-democracy crackdown in Tiananmen Square in Beijing that resulted in death of hundreds.

China has blamed "external forces" for fuelling the unrest, and accused the US and UK of interfering in Chinese domestic affairs.