Seven Taiwanese officials branded ?independent diehards? by Beijing
China has expanded its list of sanctioned individuals that it considers "Taiwan independence diehards." Seven more officials, including Taipei's de facto ambassador to the US, were added to it.
The latest entries also include the chief of Taiwan's security council and members of the ruling party. Previously, Beijing sanctioned the head of Taiwan's cabinet, the speaker of the parliament and its top diplomat.
Targeted individuals and their family members are banned from entering Chinese-controlled territory and profiting from doing business in China. Beijing said the list was not complete and warned that people on it risked serious punishment for their activities under Chinese law.
"No one should underestimate our strong determination, firm will, and the ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity," a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office was cited by Xinhua news agency as saying.
Lin Fei-fan, a senior figure in Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, said he was glad to be blacklisted by Beijing. He wrote on social media that he considered it a badge of honor marking him and fellow sanctioned individuals as "members of the free world".
The move by the Chinese government comes amid a diplomatic crisis that was triggered by the visit to Taiwan by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. She was the highest-ranking US official to make a trip to the self-governed Chinese island in over two decades.
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of Chinese territory, accused the US of undermining the 'One China' principle and encouraging separatism. China held large-scale military maneuvers near the island and imposed trade restrictions on it. Pelosi and her family were targeted by individual Chinese sanctions after her visit.