2024-0628: China’s New Judicial Guidelines Against Taiwan; Not Letting China Draw Red Lines Arbitrarily; China’s Latest Lawfare Against Taiwan

U.S. Condemns China’s New Guidelines Targeting Supporters of Taiwan Independence

The United States strongly condemned China’s “escalatory and destabilizing language and actions” toward Taiwan after Beijing last week announced new judicial guidelines to punish supporters of Taiwan independence.
During a U.S. Department of State press briefing on June 24, spokesman Matthew Miller was asked about the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) guidelines released on June 21 that included the death sentence for people deemed as “diehard” advocates of Taiwan independence.
“We strongly condemn the escalatory and destabilizing language and actions from PRC officials,” Miller said. “We continue to urge restraint and no unilateral change to the status quo.”
The U.S. urges China to “engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan,” Miller said, adding that “threats and legal warfare will not achieve peaceful resolution to cross-strait differences.”
Under the PRC’s new guidelines, courts in China would be allowed to try “Taiwan independence separatists” in absentia.
“Diehard” advocates of Taiwan independence who are convicted of inciting secession or committing other “serious crimes” may be sentenced to death, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
The guidelines, which detail “the criminal nature of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist acts, their criminal liabilities and the procedure to impose penalties,” can be regarded as “a refinement and supplement” to China’s 2005 “Anti-Secession” Law, Xinhua said.
In Taipei, Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te responded on June 24 to China’s move, saying that “democracy is not a crime whereas autocracy is.”
China has no right nor jurisdiction to punish Taiwanese people for expressing their opinions or stances, Lai added.
“According to China’s logic, not supporting unification equates to supporting Taiwan independence,” he said, and he called on China to accept the existence of the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan’s official title) and engage in exchanges with Taiwan’s legal, democratically elected government.

[1] Focus Taiwan
[2] Taipei Times
[3] Taipei Times

President Lai Urges International Community to “Not Let China Draw Red Lines Arbitrarily”

Taiwan President Lai Ching-te on June 25 called on the international community not to let China draw red lines wherever and whenever it pleases.
Taiwan will continue to handle cross-strait relations responsibly and uphold the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region, Lai said at a meeting with a visiting delegation from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC).
The commission was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 to present annual reports on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the U.S. and China, and to provide recommendations for legislative and administrative actions.
“We are here to learn today … to learn how we can deepen [the bilateral] relationship” and “support you and your effort … as you take on a more aggressive China,” the commission’s Chairperson Robin Cleveland told Lai at the Presidential Office.
“I don’t think China is just aggressive in this region, it’s globally,” Cleveland said, underlining the need to “consider the broader context of how China is behaving in the world.”
Meanwhile, President Lai criticized China for escalating tensions across the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea through military and diplomatic actions and called on the international community to “not let China draw red lines arbitrarily.”
The U.S. Congress has acted to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan ties, Lai said, citing the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act passed in April as an example.
Strengthening Taiwan’s security is strengthening regional security and global peace and prosperity, Lai said, adding that his administration would continue to improve the resilience of Taiwan’s self-defense to face any possible challenges.
Lai thanked the USCC delegation for sending a strong message that the U.S. and Taiwan stand together.
The delegation also met with Taiwan’s National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu on June 25.
Wu urged the commission to exercise its influence to encourage the U.S. and other like-minded countries to condemn China and its illegal warfare tactics, as well as its efforts to undermine regional and global order with its internal laws.
China has been weaponizing its domestic laws as a means to expand authoritarianism, Wu said, citing the recent passage of China Coast Guard Regulation No. 3, and the new judicial guidelines to punish supporters of Taiwanese independence as examples that would put Taiwanese and international friends of Taiwan at risk of arrest in China.
Regulation No. 3, which took effect on June 15, authorizes the China Coast Guard to detain foreign vessels and people in “waters under China’s jurisdiction” for up to 60 days.
China has no authority to punish the Taiwanese nor the power to litigate over other jurisdictions, Wu said.

[1] Taipei Times
[2] Focus Taiwan

U.S. “Deeply Concerned” About China’s Latest Legal Warfare Against Taiwan: State Department Official

The United States is “deeply concerned” about China’s new legal guidelines that target advocates of Taiwan independence, a senior U.S. Department of State official said during a congressional hearing on June 27.
“We’re deeply concerned, and if passed as prologue, we’re concerned that China could apply these regulations to others overseas as well,” Daniel Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told members of the U.S. House’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
Kritenbrink was referring to the guidelines introduced by Beijing on June 21, which allow courts in China to try “Taiwan independence separatists” in absentia.
Under the new guidelines, “diehard” advocates of Taiwan independence, convicted of inciting “secession” and who are also deemed to have caused “grave harm to the state and the [Chinese] people,” could be sentenced to death.
According to Kritenbrink, the guidelines may not only be used for extraterritorial application of Chinese law in ways that are deeply disturbing but could also have a chilling effect on cross-Taiwan Strait dialogue and interaction.
China’s move was clearly designed to intimidate people and prevent them from candidly expressing their opinions about the situation across the Taiwan Strait, Kritenbrink said.
During the hearing, Kritenbrink also said he would be happy to look again at the Taiwan Travel Act, which was signed into law in 2018 to allow high-level officials of the U.S. to visit Taiwan and vice versa.
He was responding to questions by U.S. Representative Young Kim (R-CA) on whether there were any State Department restrictions that would prevent Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te and other senior officials from traveling to the U.S. for purposes other than a stopover.
Kritenbrink said there was frequent two-way travel and interaction between Taiwan and the U.S.
“We support travel and engagement,” he said, adding, however, that “traditionally, based on our robust, important, but unofficial partnership with Taiwan, we don’t have those leader-to-leader meetings that would imply sovereignty.”

[1] Focus Taiwan