Taiwan issues travel alert for China

Taiwan issues travel alert for China

Alert comes after Beijing released new judicial guidelines that include death penalty for ‘diehard’ supporters of Taiwan independence

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) - Taiwan on Thursday raised alert over travel to China, days after Beijing released new judicial guidelines that include the death penalty for "diehard" supporters of independence for the island nation.

The administration of President William Lai Ching-te “advised the public to reconsider travel to China and for those currently in the country to be vigilant about their safety,” daily Taiwan News reported.

Taipei’s warning comes as the guidelines document released last week, read: “Those who commit the crime of splitting the state may be sentenced to death if the crime causes particularly grave harm to the state and the people or if the circumstances are particularly serious."

China considers Taiwan its “breakaway province” while Taipei has maintained its independence since 1949.

Taiwanese Cabinet spokesman Chen Shi-kai said: “The legal procedures behind these punishments are unclear and overly broad.”

“These actions provoke cross-strait confrontation and affect exchanges and interactions between both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” said Chen.

Commenting on the new guidelines, Lai early this week said: “China has no right to sanction Taiwanese people for their political opinions or pursue prosecution across borders. Democracy is not a crime; autocracy is what’s truly malicious. Once again, I urge China to choose dialogue with Taiwan's democratically elected government.”

"According to China's logic, not supporting unification equates to supporting Taiwan independence. So, whether you are for Taiwan, the Republic of China, or the Republic of China, Taiwan, in their eyes these all mean supporting Taiwan independence," Lai said in Taipei, according to the Focus Taiwan.

The new guidelines specifically target "Taiwan independence" separatists, who engage in acts of organizing, plotting or carrying out schemes of "de jure independence," or seeking independence by relying on foreign support or by force.

Meanwhile, Taipei said Thursday that Beijing was “attempting to establish a new normal” in Taiwan Strait, which separates the mainland from the island nation.

Defense Minister Wellington Koo said China was doing so by “increasing its activities in the prohibited and restricted waters” around Taipei-controlled Kinmen islands.​​​​​​​

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