China issues judicial guidelines on imposing criminal punishment on diehard 'Taiwan independence' separatists

Xinhua| June 21, 2024

BEIJING, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities on Friday issued a set of guidelines on imposing criminal punishments on diehard "Taiwan independence" separatists for conducting or inciting secession, allowing death penalty and a trial in absentia in relevant cases.

The guidelines, jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the ministries of public security, state security, and justice, will take effect upon release.

The document, based on the Anti-Secession Law, the Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedure Law, provides more specific rules concerning conviction and sentencing in the event of such crimes, as well as relevant procedures, serving as guidance for the judiciary in handling relevant cases.

It spells out clearly-defined circumstances in which a very few diehard "Taiwan independence" separatists, through acts such as organizing, plotting or carrying out schemes of "de jure independence," or seeking independence by relying on foreign support or by force, should be held criminally responsible.

Also, it stipulates that those who are found to have colluded with any foreign or overseas institution, organization or individual in committing such crimes, should be given a harsher punishment.

According to Article 6 of the document, those who commit the crime of splitting the state may be sentenced to death if the crime causes particularly grave harm to the state and the people or if the circumstances are particularly serious.

The guidelines further stress the principles of balancing clemency and severity and proportionality in judicial procedures, saying that if diehard "Taiwan independence" separatists voluntarily drop their "Taiwan independence" stance, stop conducting separatist activities, and take measures to mitigate or undo the harm, or prevent the spread of the damage, they may have their cases dismissed or be exempted from prosecution.

According to the guidelines, relevant proceedings must be carried out following due process without prejudice to the litigation rights of the suspects or defendants, such as their right to defense and right to appeal.

The document also makes it clear that for diehard "Taiwan independence" elements, a trial in absentia may be applied.

The document urges all relevant authorities to give full play to their functions, severely punish the "Taiwan independence" diehard elements for conducting or inciting secession, and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

Commenting on the release of the guidelines, Chen Binhua, spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, pointed out that it is a common practice for countries around the world to use criminal justice measures to punish criminals who conduct secession and safeguard the core interests of the state.

As clearly said in the title to the text of the guidelines, the criminal justice measures are aimed at a small number of diehard individuals who engage in or incite secession activities, and do not target the majority of Taiwan compatriots, said Chen at a press conference.

Identifying "Taiwan independence" as the biggest source of danger and harm to the interests of the people in Taiwan, he said that only by severely punishing acts of secession, can the compatriots in Taiwan enjoy the dividends of peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait and live a peaceful and stable life.

It is advised that the diehard individuals of "Taiwan independence" recognize the situation as soon as possible and quickly rectify their ways, said Chen. 

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