China Says It Will Hold Supporters of ‘Taiwan Independence’ Criminally Liable for Life

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China will make those who support “Taiwan independence” criminally liable for life, the country’s Taiwan Affairs Office said on Oct. 5 as the island faces growing pressure from the other side of the strait.

The grim warning on Friday was the first concrete punishment Beijing has spelled out revolving the sovereignty of the democratic ruling island, which Beijing claims as its own and threatens to seize by force if necessary.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the office, China’s highest administrative body overseeing Taiwan-related issues, on Friday also named three Taiwanese officials, Taiwan’s Premier Su Tseng-chang, Parliament Speaker You Si-kun, and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, who she labeled as being “stubbornly pro-Taiwan independence.”

The three have been placed on a blacklist banning them and their relatives from entering mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, Zhu said. Companies and entities associated with them will not be allowed to collaborate with mainland organizations or individuals, nor could they seek profits in the mainland, according to Zhu.

She said that the three officials had been guilty of fanning negative sentiment and “smearing” mainland China, as well as colluding with foreign forces—accusations that Beijing has leveled against pro-democracy activists and Western lawmakers in the past.

Wu has been a target of Chinese state media attacks recently after he made a rare trip to Europe late last month, rallying like-minded nations to band together against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Party-controlled tabloid Global Times has run multiple articles claiming Wu was engaging in “dollar diplomacy” to alienate Europe from China, which Taiwan dismissed as “smearing.”

Taiwan’s foreign ministry did not immediately return a request for comment.

Beijing had rolled out the sanction as it steps up a campaign of intimidation against the island. The regime has been displaying its military strength by sending fighter jets toward Taiwan, raising concern about a possible Chinese attack.

A top Taiwanese official a day prior revealed that Beijing has debated invading islands controlled by Taiwan lying near the mainland, although he considered the scenario unlikely before 2024.

By Eva Fu

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