China Issues Deadly Warning to Taiwanese Separatists

Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te last week blasted Beijing for threatening to impose the death penalty on the so-called extremist separatists advocating for Taiwanese independence.

On Friday, June 21, Beijing released new guidelines for Chinese judges, prosecutors, and state security, calling for “severe” punishment for those in Taiwan who support independence over their attempts to incite “secession crimes,” even though the Chinese authorities have no jurisdiction over Taiwan.

The Chinese government, which considers Taiwan a part of China, has not been hesitant to express its disapproval of President Lai who took office in May. Beijing, which has described Lai as a “separatist,” launched war games in the Strait of Taiwan following his inauguration. 

When asked about the new guidelines at a press conference last Monday, President Lai stressed that Beijing had no authority to impose sanctions on the Taiwanese people over “the positions they hold.” He added that China had no right to target the rights of those across its borders.

Lai noted that for Chinese officials, anyone who does not support Taiwan’s reunification with mainland China is considered a separatist.

He called on Beijing to acknowledge the existence of the Republic of China (the former name for Taiwan) and urged Chinese officials to engage in “dialogue” and “exchanges” with “Taiwan’s democratically elected” and “legitimate government.”

He said if China refuses, the relations between it and Taiwan would “only become more and more estranged.”

In a press briefing last Monday, US State Department press secretary Matthew Miller said Washington condemned Beijing’s “escalatory and destabilizing language and actions.” He told reporters that a “peaceful resolution” to China’s differences with Taiwan would not be achieved through “threats and legal warfare.”

The Mainland Affairs Council of Taiwan on June 21 urged the public not to be fearful of the threats from Beijing, reiterating that authorities in China “have absolutely no jurisdiction over Taiwan” and Beijing’s “so-called laws” are not binding on the Taiwanese people.