The leadership is to make an appeal for ethnic harmony and national unity during the Macau handover period. A party source said in Beijing yesterday that, apart from offering an olive branch to Taiwan, the authorities wanted to take advantage of the occasion to send a message of reconciliation to ethnic minorities, particularly those in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. The message would be a key theme of speeches made by President Jiang Zemin and other leaders in the run-up to and at the handover ceremony on December 19. 'Central leaders will stress that, with the Macau handover, the chapter is being closed on colonial humiliation,' the source said. 'They will point out that ethnic minorities should strive to promote unity and strength now that China has stood up in the community of nations.' At the same time, a warning would be served to separatists in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang not to collude with 'outside forces' to split the motherland. Relevant directives have been sent by the party leadership to the national media to uphold the theme of harmony. Media in Xinjiang and Tibet will push the value of internal cohesiveness now that Beijing has erased all so-called traces of humiliation at the hands of imperialists. Meanwhile, security has been tightened not only in areas close to Macau but in other cities, including Beijing. A security source said Beijing was worried about separatists and dissidents spoiling the Macau ceremony by 'making trouble' in mainland cities. The source said police officers were also targeting followers of the banned Falun Gong sect. He said an alert had been given to local police authorities to stop foreign-based Falun Gong affiliates from 'infiltrating' the mainland during the sensitive period.