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Taiwan issues travel warning amid Beijing’s threats

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Taiwan has advised its citizens against traveling to China, Hong Kong, and Macao following Beijing’s threats to execute supporters of Taiwan’s independence.

Liang Wen-chieh, spokesperson for Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, issued this warning in response to increased tensions with China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory and has refused to engage with Taiwan’s government since President Tsai Ing-wen’s election in 2016.

The advisory aims to caution Taiwanese travelers about potential risks under China’s new guidelines targeting supporters of Taiwan’s independence. While travel is not prohibited, citizens are advised against expressing political views or engaging in activities that could lead to detention or prosecution by Chinese authorities.

Earlier, Taiwan had criticized Beijing’s threat of harsh punishments, including the death penalty, for those supporting Taiwan’s independence.

A notice issued by Beijing specified the death penalty for leaders of independence efforts who cause serious harm to the state and the people while other leading advocates could face jail terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Taipei condemned the new Chinese guidelines, asserting that Beijing lacks legal jurisdiction over Taiwan and dismissing the regulations as non-binding on Taiwanese citizens.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) also issued a press release criticizing the guidelines announced by Chinese officials earlier as “regrettable,” characterizing them as provocative and detrimental to interactions between the people of Taiwan and mainland China. The MAC also advised Taiwanese residing in China or planning to travel there to be vigilant and exercise caution.

China’s increased pressure on supporters of Taiwan’s independence stems from its longstanding claim that Taiwan is part of its territory, despite the island’s self-governance since 1949. Tensions have been fueled by Taiwan’s international engagements and Beijing’s efforts to diplomatically isolate Taiwan.

The CCP considers advocacy for Taiwan’s independence a direct challenge to its sovereignty, leading to punitive measures such as legal threats and economic coercion.