'Rights are a crime, not democracy': Taiwan President on China's threat to give death penalty to staunch supporters of Taiwan independence

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
3 Min Read


Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te on Monday stressed that democracy is not a crime but authoritarianism is, after China threatened to impose the death penalty on staunch supporters of Taiwan independence, reports Focus Taiwan.

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“I would like to emphasize that democracy is not a crime, while autocracy is,” the Taiwanese president said at a press event. When asked about China's new guidelines that allow the death penalty for “hardcore” supporters of Taiwan independence, he said, “I would like to emphasize that democracy is not a crime, while autocracy is.”

Lai further said that China has no right or authority to punish Taiwanese people for expressing their opinions or stance, reports Focus Taiwan.

“According to China's logic, not supporting unification is equivalent to supporting Taiwan independence. So whether you're for Taiwan, Republic of China or Republic of China, Taiwan, in their eyes, it means supporting Taiwan independence,” Lai said.

Lai stressed that the Chinese Unification Promotion Party is the only party in Taiwan that is not in favor of Taiwan independence, as China argues.

“There is only one party in Taiwan that is not in favor of Taiwan independence [according to China’s logic]”This is a party that is fighting for unity with China, and that is the Chinese Unification Promotion Party,” he said, according to Focus Taiwan. For this reason, he said, the ruling and opposition parties should work together and show solidarity.

Lai further called on China to acknowledge Taiwan's existence and exchange information with the legitimate government democratically elected by the Taiwanese people.

“This is the only way to safeguard the welfare of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Any other path means that relations between Taiwan and China will deteriorate,” the president said.

He also expressed condolences to those affected by the deadly typhoon in southern China and said he hoped post-disaster reconstruction would go well, Focus Taiwan reported.

Earlier on Friday, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) condemned a Chinese guideline threatening the death penalty for “hardcore” supporters of Taiwan independence, calling the move detrimental to bilateral people-to-people exchanges, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

In a press release, the MAC called the guideline issued by Chinese authorities earlier that day “regrettable” and described it as provocative and harmful to exchanges between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The MAC, the lead government agency handling cross-Strait affairs, said “Beijing authorities have no jurisdiction over Taiwan”, adding that China's “so-called laws and regulations are not binding on our people.”

However, the MAC also advised Taiwanese residents living in or planning to visit China to exercise caution, CNA reported.



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