Taiwan Issues Travel Advisory Following China’s Death Penalty Threat for Independence Supporters

In response to Beijing’s declaration that it would execute individuals who advocate for Taiwan’s independence, the Taiwanese government issued a travel advisory on Thursday urging its citizens to refrain from traveling to mainland China.

Liang Wen-chieh, spokesperson for Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, conveyed this warning during a routine press conference. The Chinese government introduced a new policy last week targeting “separatists” and asserted that it would pursue capital punishment for “diehard” supporters of Taiwanese independence.

“I want to emphasize: Democracy is not a crime; it’s autocracy that is the real evil. China has absolutely no right to penalize Taiwan’s people simply because of their beliefs. Moreover, China has no right to infringe upon the rights of Taiwanese people beyond its borders,” Taiwan’s President stated on Wednesday.

“I also urge China to acknowledge the existence of the Republic of China and engage in dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected, legitimate government,” he said, using Taiwan’s formal name. “Failure to do so will only exacerbate tensions between Taiwan and China.”

China has long asserted sovereignty over Taiwan, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has issued threats of forceful action to take the island in recent years.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office clarified on Wednesday that the threat of execution applies solely to a small group of Taiwanese independence “diehards” whose “evil words and actions” warrant such punishment.

This move represents the latest escalation of tensions between Taipei and Beijing. Recent months have also seen China conduct extensive military drills in the vicinity of the island. China has utilized these drills as a means of intimidation, often following events that connect the U.S. and Taiwan.

China first conducted live-fire drills in 2022 after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited Taiwan. This marked the first time a U.S. speaker had visited the island in over 25 years. 

Beijing’s threat of execution arrives just days after the U.S. approved a $360 million package of drones, missiles, and other equipment for Taiwan.

Reuters contributed to this report.