China Threatens Death Penalty for Taiwan Independence Supporters, Escalating Pressure on the Island

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China Threatens Death Penalty for Taiwan Independence Supporters, Escalating Pressure on the Island

China Threatens Death Penalty for Taiwan Independence Supporters

China has threatened to impose the death penalty on "diehard" Taiwan independence supporters, escalating pressure on the democratically governed island. This move comes despite the fact that Chinese courts have no jurisdiction over Taiwan.

China views Taiwan as its own territory and has expressed strong disapproval of President Lai Ching-te, who took office in May 2023. China considers Lai a "separatist" and conducted military exercises shortly after his inauguration.

Taiwan has faced increasing pressure from China since Lai's election victory in January 2023. This pressure includes ongoing military activities, trade sanctions, and coast guard patrols around Taiwan-controlled islands near China.

New guidelines issued by China state that its courts, prosecutors, public security, and state security bodies should "severely punish Taiwan independence diehards for splitting the country and inciting secession crimes in accordance with the law." These guidelines aim to "resolutely defend national sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity."

The guidelines are based on existing laws, including the 2005 Anti-Secession Law. This law provides China with the legal basis to take military action against Taiwan if it secedes or appears to be on the verge of doing so.

Sun Ping, an official from China's Ministry of Public Security, confirmed that the maximum penalty for the "crime of secession" is the death penalty. She stated that "the sharp sword of legal action will always hang high."

The Taiwanese government has not yet responded to the new guidelines. One official stated that they are still reviewing the contents of the document.

The guidelines detail actions considered punishable offenses, including promoting Taiwan's entry into international organizations where statehood is a requirement, engaging in "external official exchanges," and suppressing parties, groups, and individuals who advocate for "reunification."

The guidelines also include a broad clause that defines any "other acts that seek to separate Taiwan from China" as a crime, allowing for a wide interpretation of the rules.

President Lai has repeatedly offered to hold talks with China but has been rejected. He maintains that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future.

China has previously taken legal action against Taiwanese officials, including imposing sanctions on Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan's former de facto ambassador to the United States and current vice president. However, these punishments have little practical effect as Chinese courts lack jurisdiction in Taiwan, whose government rejects Beijing's sovereignty claims. Senior Taiwanese officials, including the president, do not visit China.