China to hold Taiwan independence supporters criminally liable for life
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on November 5 issued a statement declaring that the pro-Taiwanese activists who support Taiwan’s independence to be held liable criminally for life, sparking a new tension in the already strained Beijing-Taipei relations amid the island nation’s claim of being an independent country.
The Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, is a small island separated from Mainland China by Taiwan Strait and is among the densest populated countries of the world.
The island has been functioning independently since 1949. ROC has official diplomatic relations with fourteen nations out of 193 countries that are a part of the United Nations.
The independent status of Taiwan is disputed as the People's Republic of China (PRC) or Mainland China claims Taiwan to be a territory of Mainland China.
PRC maintains a strong “One China” policy and is adamant about merging Taiwan into China by any means necessary including physical force if required. On the other hand, Taiwan maintains an autonomous status in the international forums.
The ties between Taiwan and China are already strained and are worsening in recent times. Recently, Chinese military planes entered Taiwan’s air defence.
Reports have claimed that the numbers and frequency of warplanes of China entering Taiwan’s air defence are increasing, which is escalating psychological pressure on Taiwan.
Similarly, Taiwan is also increasing its military power and it is further being strengthened by the United States' Taiwan Deterrence Act.
The Taiwan Deterrence Act is being introduced in the US Senate by the Republicans to provide financial aid of around $2 Billion a year to Taiwan to strengthen its defence.
The Taiwan Deterrence Act seeks to provide financial aid for the long term till 2032 subject to a yearly review of funds allocated and their use by Taiwan.
Jim Risch is the main sponsor of the bill along with Marco Rubi, Mitt Romney, Bill Hagerty and other prominent Republican figures. The bill is aimed to support Taiwan by strengthening its defence against China.
According to Jim Risch, peace between Taiwan and China is vital for the Indo-Pacific Region and the bill aims to achieve peace in the Taiwan Strait region. The Bill also seeks to amend the Arms Export Control Act to facilitate the US to sell arms and ammunition to Taiwan.
The relations between China and Taiwan are deteriorating with both countries arming against each other. According to the Defence Minister of ROC, the relations between the two nations are at their worst in four decades.
For the first time, China has pronounced the punishment of life sentence for supporters of Taiwan and has proclaimed a list of people who are falling into this category.
Imposing several restrictions on some 'blacklisted' key notable individuals, including Su Tseng-China (Premier of ROC), You Si-Kun and Joseph Wu (Foreign Minister of ROC), Beijing has banned their entry into Mainland China perpetuity.
The official media in Mainland China has branded the blacklisted individuals as “Diehard Taiwan Independence Separatists”.
According to Zhu Fenglain, a spokeswoman for Taiwan Affairs Office, the blacklisted people alongside their relatives would not be allowed to enter Mainland China or regions of Hongkong or Macau.
Further, the blacklisted people or their companies would not be allowed to work with people or entities from Mainland China. In addition to this, stringent measures would also be imposed against people or entities who support the pro-Taiwan individual.
It is interesting to note here that according to Reuters, thousands of Taiwanese are directly or indirectly employed in Mainland China and many of the politicians in Taiwan depend upon the financial help from the companies that mainly derive their profit from Mainland China.
Taiwan's Council for Mainland Affairs Council has condemned such statements by Mainland China and has reiterated the autonomous and democratic status of Taiwan. The Council has also signaled to take counteractions to bulwark their independent status and security of the nation as well as of its citizens.
The proclamation by China has drawn criticism from around the globe for its extreme stance.
According to experts, the policy is not well defined and fails to delineate the term pro-Taiwanese, and there is a possibility of abuse of power by blanket banning all anti-China activities.
Experts have also expressed concerns for people of Han Descent residing in Mainland China who are likely to be caught in the crossfires between China and Taiwan.