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China threatens death penalty for Taiwanese separatists

China threatens death penalty for Taiwanese separatists
China threatens death penalty for Taiwanese separatists

 


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China has officially defined behavior aimed at Taiwan independence as a criminal act, threatening sanctions up to the death penalty for perpetrators, in a move that analysts say could further inflame tensions across the strait.

The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministries of Public Security and State Security and the Ministry of Justice jointly announced guidelines on Friday to punish hard-line independence separatists. Taiwan for committing crimes of secession and incitement to secession.

The new rules outline the general definition of crimes and punishment standards based on existing law such as China's Criminal Code, its Criminal Procedure Law and the 2005 Taiwan Anti-Secession Law, the news agency said official Xinhua.

The new rules define Taiwan independence as a crime under Chinese laws for the first time, analysts said.

In serious cases, such as plotting independence with the help of external forces, the death penalty applies, Sun Ping, deputy head of the legal department of the Ministry of Public Security, said at a conference. press conference in Beijing, according to Taiwanese media.

Although this move is mostly symbolic, given that Beijing has no jurisdiction over Taiwan which has its own government, borders, military and courts, it could discourage Taiwanese citizens from traveling to China, as well as make travel to other riskier countries.

This announcement has a threefold purpose: it aims to explain domestically how they oppose Taiwan independence, it aims to declare internationally their claimed jurisdiction over Taiwan, and it aims to deter the Taiwanese, Chang Wu said -yueh, an expert on relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Tamkang University in Taipei.

Chang said Taiwanese should also carefully consider traveling to third countries that have extradition agreements with China.

The People's Republic of China insists that Taiwan is part of its territory, a claim that Taipei rejects and threatens to annex the island by force if Taiwan refuses to submit to its control indefinitely.

Since Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te, a staunch defender of Taiwan's de facto independence, took office last month, Beijing has stepped up its belligerent rhetoric, conducting military exercises near Taiwan and stepping up efforts to involve the country's opposition. China has already denounced Lai as a dangerous separatist.

Taiwan's government has repeatedly warned its citizens against traveling to China, including Hong Kong, since Beijing imposed a national security law on the city in 2020, which covers crimes broadly defined as terrorism. , secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces.

Even though Chinese courts have no power over Taiwanese people in their country, the new guidelines could also have a chilling effect on Chinese citizens and businesses, who will be forced to consider whether the Taiwanese citizens they deal with might fall under the provisions.

The Taiwanese government said Beijing's move would only provoke confrontation between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, which would seriously affect [cross-Strait] Exchanges. The Mainland Affairs Council, China's cabinet-level policy body on Taiwan, called it a brutal and crude provocation to countries around the world that love Taiwan and support Taiwan's freedom and democracy.

A senior Taiwanese government official said the new rules also suggested that any third-country citizen who spoke out in favor of Taiwan's free and democratic status quo, such as U.S. lawmakers who frequently visit Taipei, would face Chinese criminal prosecutions.

China's criminal code already includes provisions covering secession. But the Taiwan-specific anti-secession law stipulates that the state will never allow Taiwan independence secessionist forces to force Taiwan to secede from China under any name or by any means.

The new guidelines define the practice of applying criminal law to the Taiwan context and distinguish between plotting independence with the assistance of external forces, plotting independence by military force, and implementing work of Taiwan's de jure independence, Xinhua said.

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