China stirs Taiwanese ire by threatening criminal accountability of independence supporters
A supporter waves a Taiwanese flag during a campaign rally for Han Kuo-yu, the presidential candidate of the Kuomintang party, ahead of the presidential election on January 9, 2020 in Taipei, Taiwan.
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China will hold those who support “Taiwan independence” criminally responsible for life, he said on Friday, angering and ridiculing Democratic Island at a time of heightened tension across the sensitive Taiwan Strait .
For the first time, China was spelling out the punishment that awaits those known to support Taiwan’s independence, including senior officials from the autonomous island, as tension mounts over what China sees as a province in its own right.
China has not ruled out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, despite the island’s claim that it is an independent country that will defend its freedom and democracy.
The Taiwan Affairs Bureau has called Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang, Speaker of Parliament You Si-kun and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu “stubbornly pro-independence from Taiwan” because he has made public for the first time he had compiled a list of those falling into the category.
China will apply sanctions to those on the list by not allowing them to enter the mainland and its special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian said in a statement on Friday.
Those blacklisted people will not be allowed to cooperate with entities or people on the continent, and their companies, or the entities that fund them, will not be allowed to profit from the continent, she added.
The Taiwan Mainland Council rebuked China, saying Taiwan is a democratic society with the rule of law and not ruled by Beijing.
“We do not accept the intimidation and threats of an autocratic and authoritarian region,” the council said, adding that it would take the “necessary countermeasures to safeguard the safety and well-being of the people.”
Zhu said the message China wanted to send to supporters of Taiwan independence was: “Those who forget their ancestors, betray the homeland and divide the country, will never end well, and will be despised by the people and judged by the story”.
In a Twitter message on Saturday, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu wrote: “I have received countless congratulatory notes after being blacklisted and sanctioned, for life, by the #PCC.” , referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
“Many are jealous of not being recognized; some ask where they can apply. To deserve this rare honor, I will continue to fight for the freedom and democracy of #Taiwan.”
China believes Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is a separatist determined to officially declare independence. She says Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.