China is considering drafting a blacklist of “die-hard” supporters of Taiwan’s independence as Beijing may take legal steps against democratically-elected President Tsai Ing-wen.
Reuters reported that Taiwan condemned the plan after pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao first reported it this month. China’s Global Times tabloid alleged that the list could include senior Taiwanese government officials.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said the “list of diehard Taiwan secessionists” now under consideration was only aimed at a very small number of independence supporters and those who fund them.
“It is absolutely not aimed at the vast majority of Taiwan compatriots,” she told a regular news briefing in Beijing.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory while Taiwan’s government considers the island an independent country.
Chinese media said the 2005 Anti-Secession Law, which mandates use of force if China judges Taiwan to have declared independence, could be used to charge persons on the blacklist.
The moves follows Beijing’s July unveiling of new national security laws for Chinese-run Hong Kong that prescribe sentences ranging up to life terms for crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
Separately, Zhu said a Chinese court this week sentenced a Taiwanese citizen to four years in prison for espionage.
Last month, Chinese state television ran a series of programs featuring “confessions” by Taiwanese spies, which Taiwan described as entrapment and another reason for people to fear visiting China.
Taiwan reports China is framing and entrapping people and putting them on television to confess to crimes before going on trial. The move has been criticized by rights groups as a serious breach of proper legal process.