Beijing threatens “fierce Taiwan separatists” with death penalty

Beijing threatens “fierce Taiwan separatists” with death penalty
Beijing threatens “fierce Taiwan separatists” with death penalty

China on June 21 threatened to impose the death penalty on “stubborn separatists” campaigning for Taiwan’s independence, the Reuters news agency reported.

Considering Taiwan as a rebel province, China does not hide its hostility towards the new Taiwanese president Lai Ching-te, whom it describes as “separatist”.

Read also : Lai Ching-te, elected president of Taiwan

Since Lai Ching-te took office in May 2024, Taiwan has denounced an intensification of Chinese pressure, in particular through repeated military maneuvers, trade sanctions and coast guard patrols around the islands controlled by Taipei.

Besides, Chinese authorities have published “a set of guidelines on imposing criminal penalties on die-hard Taiwan independence separatists for leading or inciting secession, authorizing the death penalty and trial in absentia in relevant cases.”

The document specifies “the clearly defined circumstances in which a very limited number of die-hard separatists for Taiwan independence, through acts such as organizing, plotting, or carrying out plans for de jure independence, or seeking to achieve ‘independence by relying on foreign support or by force, must be held criminally responsible’.

It also states that “those found to be in collusion with a foreign or overseas institution, organization or individual to commit such crimes should be given a more severe punishment.”

According to article 6 of the document, persons who commit the crime of dividing the State may be sentenced to death, if the crime causes particularly serious harm to the State and the people or if the circumstances are particularly serious.

According to a Chinese Communist Party security advisor, interviewed by Agence France Presse, these new rules aim to place a sword of Damocles over Taiwanese separatists. However, this threat appears essentially symbolic, as China in practice has no legal power over Taiwan.

Taiwan reacts

“Democracy is not a crime, autocracy is”declared leader Lai Ching-te on June 24 in Taipei, following China’s threats to seek the death penalty against what they call “the fiercest Taiwanese independence activists”.

“China has neither the right nor the authority to prosecute Taiwanese citizens simply because of their opinions”declared the head of state. “According to Chinese logic, not supporting unification is tantamount to supporting Taiwan’s independence, and whether one is for Taiwan, for the Republic of China or for Taiwan, the Republic of China”he noted.

Lai Ching-te called on Beijing to accept the existence of the Republic of China and engage in exchanges with the government democratically elected by the Taiwanese people.

In a statement issued on June 21, the Ministry of Mainland Affairs stressed that Taiwan’s 23 million citizens enjoy the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of China, and that the Beijing authorities have absolutely no jurisdiction over Taiwan.

“The government calls on the country’s population not to be threatened or intimidated by the Chinese Communist Party”he added.

For its part, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimated on the X platform on June 23 that “ “China’s threat to seek the death penalty against Taiwan’s fiercest separatists highlights a dangerous resort to legal warfare.”

“Democracies must oppose Beijing-led coercion and the unjustified use of domestic laws to change the regional status quo,” he insisted.

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