China has adopted a new law to strengthen border protection amid a prolonged standoff with India and security issues in neighboring Afghanistan.
The Land Borders Law, which will take effect early next year, stipulates that China can close its borders if a war or other armed conflict nearby threatens border security.
The country will "take effective measures to resolutely protect territorial sovereignty and land border security," it says.
The law, however, does not necessarily change how border security is handled.
The Chinese military and military police are responsible for guarding the border against any "invasion, encroachment, infiltration, provocation,” it says.
The measure is also taken as China has been trying to contain the COVID-19 virus outside of its borders.
This is the first time that the People's Republic of China — founded 72 years ago — has a dedicated law specifying how it governs and guards the country’s frontiers.
China has long been embroiled in a border standoff with India at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Troops from both countries have been locked in a face-off in the western Himalayas, where both sides have been trading accusations of violating the LAC.
Both Beijing and New Delhi deployed troops to the region, amid the ongoing border standoff earlier this year.
China has reportedly been building dozens of large weather-proof structures along the LAC for its troops to stay in during the winter.
Regarding the county’s border with Afghanistan, maintaining regional stability and securing Afghanistan’s borders is also a major concern for China.