China encourages Taiwanese visits amidst threat of executions

China encourages Taiwanese visits amidst threat of executions

The Chinese government has insisted that “most Taiwanese” can visit the country “in high spirits” after Taipei issued a warning to its own citizens over a threat from Beijing to execute “diehard separatists”.

Taiwan issued a travel warning this week urging its people not to go to China unless absolutely necessary, as China’s new legal guidelines threatened prosecution and, in extreme cases, the death penalty for Taiwan independence separatists.

The warning appeared to also apply to those living in Hong Kong and Macau.

The Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office said on Friday that its new legal guidelines were only aimed at separatists and their “evil words and actions”.

“The majority of Taiwanese compatriots can participate in cross-strait exchanges and cooperation. They don’t have to have any worries about travelling to and from the mainland. They can absolutely arrive in high spirits and depart well content,” the office said.

China considers Taiwan a part of its territory and president Xi Jinping has threatened to “reunite” the island with the mainland by force if necessary, while the democratically elected government of Taiwan says only the island’s people can choose their future.

Beijing’s claim to be the only legitimate Chinese government is known as the “One China Principle” – it has been accepted or acknowledged by all but a handful of nations who would otherwise risk being cut off from trading with the mainland.

The US formally acknowledges the One China Principle but maintains close informal relations with Taiwan and does not accept Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over the island.

In recent months, tensions between China and Taiwan have soared, with Beijing escalating its military activity around Taiwan.

The US also recently claimed in an intelligence report that China is readying its military to invade Taiwan “by 2027”.

China has openly expressed dislike for Taiwan president Lai Ching-te and views him as a “separatist”.

Additional reporting with agencies