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'Die-hard' separatists have nowhere to go

By Li Zhenguang | | Updated: 2024-06-21 16:59
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The Taipei 101 skyscraper commands the urban landscape in Taipei, Taiwan. [Photo/Xinhua]

On Friday, Chinese authorities issued guidelines for imposing criminal punishments on diehard "Taiwan independence" separatists for engaging in or inciting secession. The guidelines, jointly released by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the ministries of public security, state security, and justice, will come into effect upon publication.

These guidelines serve as a timely warning for Lai Ching-te, the island's leader who took office on May 20. His inaugural speech almost amounted to an open declaration of "Taiwan independence".

Lai's actions and statements as a "pragmatic advocate for Taiwan independence" underscore his reckless indifference toward the welfare and interests of Taiwan residents.

His reckless remarks on "Taiwan independence" are highly detrimental to cross-Strait relations, which reveal the fantasies and subversive thoughts of both Lai and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. Hence, it is imperative for the mainland to take action to prevent Taiwan seeking "legal independence".

Lai has been issuing pro-independence statements for years but earlier he represented only the DPP and himself. But as the leader of Taiwan island his statements carry a totally different meaning. His blatant "Taiwan independence" remarks seriously challenge the 1992 Consensus that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China, and show that he and the DPP are trying to change the status quo across the Strait.

It's a historical fact that both sides of the Strait belong to one China. This fact is enshrined in the existing laws and regulations on both sides and is recognized by the international community.

His ridiculous claim that "Taiwan is a sovereign country" is a dangerous attempt to construct an unfounded entity. Neither within the international community nor within the United Nations has there been a "Taiwan state". Taiwan has never been nor will it ever be a country. There is no historical or legal basis for that.

Lai's intent to confront the Chinese mainland by portraying it in fact is the primary enemy of the island and raising cross-Strait tensions. By projecting cross-Strait cooperation as a threat, Lai has not only sown discord among Taiwan residents but also jeopardized their fundamental interests.

Lai has described the mainland's military drills and "coercion" as the greatest strategic challenge to global peace and stability, and made confrontation with the mainland as a central policy in order to arrogantly "seek peace through strength".

His animosity toward the mainland is palpable, as he portrays cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation as threats and "infiltration" by the mainland, inciting hatred and hostility against the mainland among Taiwan residents. Using the "national security law", he is coercing the island's residents and opposition parties to adhere to the DPP's anti-mainland stance. This approach is diametrically opposite to the wishes of the majority of Taiwan residents, who desire peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation across the Strait.

Lai's moves are not in line with the aspirations of Taiwan residents, and undermine their welfare and security. By instilling fear among Taiwan residents and coercing them into taking forward his agenda, Lai is threatening the very fabric of Taiwan society. Hence, his policies pose an unprecedented risk to the lives and well-being of Taiwan resident.

Lai's stance on "Taiwan independence" is the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Strait. The pursuit of independence by Lai and the DPP will lead to a conflict. That's why to counter Lai's provocations, which include his attempts to seek help from outside forces to realize his evil goal of "Taiwan independence", the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command conducted drills code-named Joint Sword-2024A around Taiwan on May 23, sending a clear message that the PLA will not allow any force to separate Taiwan from the motherland.

Lai's leadership is a destabilizing force across the Strait. His obstinate pursuit of "Taiwan independence" and impulsive political nature suggest he is likely to impose his personal will on Taiwan society, making the entire island a victim of his ambitions. It is high time for Taiwan residents to hold Lai accountable for his reckless provocations, ensuring their own safety and livelihood.

Lai's refusal to accept any constraints within the DPP or the island's broader political structure means he can go to any length to achieve his goals. This not only poses a serious threat to cross-Strait peace and stability but also highlights the dangers of his leadership. But Beijing will never allow him to succeed in his evil design.

The author is head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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