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China threatens death penalty for “independence” separatists in Taiwan

China has threatened to impose the death penalty for what it calls extreme cases of “recalcitrant” Taiwan independence separatists.

China sees Taiwan as its own territory and has made no secret of its dislike of newly elected Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te.

The new guidelines say China’s courts, prosecutors, public security and state organs should “severely punish Taiwan independence activists for dividing the country and inciting crimes of secession.”

It adds that Chinese institutions should “resolutely defend national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” according to China’s state news agency.

This is despite the fact that Chinese courts have no jurisdiction on the democratically governed island.

Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te was elected in January. (Reuters: Ann Wang)

Sun Ping, an official from China’s Ministry of Public Security, told reporters in Beijing that the maximum penalty for the “crime of secession” is the death penalty.

“The sharp sword of legal action will always sit high,” she said.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council criticized Beijing’s decision on Friday, urging its people not to be threatened by China.

“The authorities in Beijing have absolutely no jurisdiction over Taiwan, and the so-called laws and regulations of the Chinese Communists have no binding force on our people,” it said in a statement.