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Human Rights Watch slams China’s expansionist guidelines criminalizing the independent Taiwan effort

Representative Image (Photo: ANI)

After China issued new legal guidelines that threatened Taiwan’s autonomy, the authorities have now once again attempted to threaten the existence of Taiwan.

According to the latest judicial guidelines imposed by China, the crimes of secession committed by Taiwanese separatists are punishable under Chinese law.

The guidelines authorise the use of trials in absentia and even the death penalty for anyone asserting Taiwan’s independence, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported.

The move came when China could be noticed aggressively pushing its expansionist policies in Taiwan, even when it has no jurisdiction over Taiwan, and the People of China since its founding in 1949 has never ruled Taiwan.

While commenting on the questioned Chinese guidelines, the HRW report said, “The guidelines regarding Taiwanese separatists are stark reminders that the Chinese government routinely threatens Taiwan and its 23 million inhabitants and has expanded its aggressive efforts to stifle their basic freedoms.”

Previously, China’s 2005 Anti-Secession Law made vague threats of using other measures against Taiwanese secessionist forces without specifying what constituted secessionists.

However, the current laws label all activities relating to the independence of Taiwan as acts of crime, this included anything related to Taiwanese independence, including establishing an independent Taiwan, setting up a separatist organisation, promoting Taiwan’s entrance into international organisations, and deviating from the Chinese narrative of Taiwan in fields such as education, culture, history, or news media, the HRW report claimed.

“Other overly broad offences include conduct seeking to separate Taiwan from China and otherwise actively participating in Taiwanese separatist organisations,” according to the HRW report.

Additionally, these guidelines also threaten the Taiwanese people with an in absentia trial, referring to conducting a criminal trial without the presence of the accused person in court, with no limitation to the punishment being given to the accused and no difference between Taiwanese and foreign nationals.

The Chinese government carries out the most executions in the world, although the exact number remains a state secret. However, the HRW has always opposed the death penalty in all circumstances because of its inherent cruelty.

As a result, Taiwan has raised its alert levels for Taiwanese nationals who travel to China, citing recent cases of arbitrary arrests, detention, and interrogations orchestrated by China. The HRW report also stated that these new guidelines are likely to have a further chilling effect on the approximately 150,000 Taiwanese nationals living in China, for whom self-censorship is routine.

Conclusively, the HRW mentioned that “the new court guidelines are the Chinese government’s latest effort to control people’s right to freedom of expression beyond its borders. Everyone has fundamental rights and freedoms, including those who believe in or advocate for Taiwanese independence.”