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China: Death Penalty for ‘Diehard’ Independence Advocates in Taiwan

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China has stepped over yet another line with Taiwan with its latest threat: the death penalty for “diehard” separatists advocating for Taiwan’s independence. This severe warning represents a dangerous escalation that many see as a potential act of war. Any other country (especially the United States) would be unlikely to tolerate such aggressive threats, threats to leadership are tantamount to a declaration of war.

The catalyst for this intensifying tension is Taiwan’s newly inaugurated President Lai Ching-te. Beijing, viewing him as a dangerous “separatist,” wasted no time expressing its disdain. Soon after his inauguration, China launched war games, imposed trade sanctions, and increased military patrols around Taiwan-controlled islands, signaling its readiness to confront what it sees as a rebellious province.

The new guidelines from China are chilling. According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, these laws state that courts, prosecutors, and security bodies should “severely punish Taiwan independence diehards,” with the most extreme cases resulting in the death penalty. “The sharp sword of legal action will always hang high,” warned Sun Ping, an official from China’s ministry of public security. These penalties target those who cause “particularly serious harm to the state and the people,” aiming to crush any form of resistance to China’s authority.

Taiwan’s government has fiercely rejected these threats. The Mainland Affairs Council of Taiwan urged its citizens not to be intimidated, asserting, “The Beijing authorities have absolutely no jurisdiction over Taiwan, and the Chinese communists’ so-called laws and norms have no binding force on our people.” Despite China’s menacing stance, Taiwan remains resolute in its pursuit of democracy and self-governance.

The guidelines are broad and ominous, criminalizing a wide range of actions related to independence. This includes promoting Taiwan’s entry into international organizations where statehood is a condition, engaging in official exchanges, and opposing groups that advocate for reunification with China. These sweeping measures allow for almost any pro-independence activity to be deemed illegal, creating a climate of fear and uncertainty.

President Lai Ching-te has made repeated offers to hold talks with China, but these have been consistently rebuffed. Beijing’s refusal to engage in dialogue reveals its uncompromising stance on Taiwan, viewing any form of independence movement as a direct threat to its sovereignty. “Since taking office, the leader of the Taiwan region has seriously challenged the one-China principle,” said China’s defense chief Dong Jun. “Pushing our compatriots in Taiwan into a perilous situation of war and danger.”

China’s aggressive posturing and legal threats are not new. It has previously imposed sanctions on Taiwanese officials, such as Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s former de facto ambassador to the US, now the island’s vice president. However, these measures have had little practical effect as Chinese courts lack jurisdiction in Taiwan, and Taiwanese officials rarely visit China.

The threat of war looms large. Over the last two days, China has sent a staggering 66 warplanes into Taiwanese airspace, a show of force that underscores the growing danger. Some reports suggest that China might attempt to isolate the island, destroy its economy, and force it into submission without resorting to outright warfare. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a US-based think tank, has warned that “gray zone” tactics could be used to achieve Beijing’s goal of possessing Taiwan. This could involve China’s navy cutting off access to Taiwanese ports for vital supplies, with military forces only acting in support roles.

This situation is not just a regional issue; it is a significant concern for the international community. The United States and other countries have made it clear that they support Taiwan’s right to self-governance and will not stand by if China attempts to forcibly change the status quo. As tensions rise, global leaders must support Taiwan and deter any aggressive moves by China that threaten peace and stability in the region.

China is nudging closer and closer to war. The only way to stop it is to be ready for it. Unfortunately, we believe the Biden administration is not up to the task…

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