(Bloomberg) -- The head of China’s police has vowed to crack down on agricultural crimes to ensure food security as drought persists in parts of the country, an unusual move underscoring the leadership’s focus on stability ahead of a key party conclave next month.

Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong on Monday said police should work closely with other agencies to clamp down on crimes such as selling fake farming products and destroying arable land, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. He also cited the threat of drought in the central province of Henan, a key grains hub, and called on authorities to respond to emergencies.

The remarks on food security, rare from a police chief, come just weeks before leaders of the ruling Communist Party are set to meet to discuss its long-term policy agenda. Wang’s comments echoed President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on national security and followed police officials’ pledge last month to safeguard “regime security” in a nationwide meeting.

Xi on Tuesday also urged all-out efforts in flood control and drought relief to ensure people’s safety and maintain an “overall situation of social stability,” state broadcaster CCTV reported. China has delivered 443 million yuan ($61.1 million) for seven provinces, including major grains producers Shandong and Henan, to combat drought and prevent agricultural disaster, according to the finance ministry. 

Food security is “an important foundation of state security that brooks no negligence at any time,” Wang said during an inspection trip in Henan, according to Xinhua’s report on Tuesday. The comments could also signal that Wang, a close confidant of Xi, has a wider area of responsibility extending beyond just public safety.

Continued droughts in Henan and parts of northern China threaten to hurt the country’s grains output, with officials warning of worse days ahead as low rainfall and high temperatures persist.

Local authorities have resorted to cloud seeding to induce rainfall, and farmers have been seen praying to traditional Chinese gods. Videos of them kneeling and crying for rain are widely viewed on Chinese social media, putting pressure on the government to respond.

(Adds comments from Xi in the fourth paragraph)

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