BEIJING, April 15 (Reuters) - The head of China's securities regulator said on Saturday that stock exchange overseers must "brandish the sword" and combat any activities that disturb market order.
Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), said in a speech to members of the Shenzhen stock exchange that markets must play a central role in bringing market forces to support national strategy, enterprise reform and technological innovation.
"(We) must further liberate thinking and have the courage to brandish the sword, and defend legal oversight authority ... to resolutely combat behaviour that disturbs market order and in no way be lenient," Liu said.
"Stock exchanges are duty bound to safeguard market order. Stock exchange members also have responsibility to safeguard market stability," Liu said in the speech that was posted to the CSRC website.
Chinese regulators have turned their sights on controlling risks in financial markets as speculative activity and leverage in the economy rise, with the securities regulator vowing to clear out "abnormal phenomena" from capital markets.
China's crackdown on illegal market activities has intensified since the mid-2015 stock market crash that wiped out almost $3 trillion of share value.
The regulator has said that China will focus on stable development of its capital markets this year, but will press ahead to further open its markets to foreign companies. (Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Stephen Coates)