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The Chinese Communist Party has announced a flurry of sanctions on Taiwanese officials citing separatist sympathies.
Beijing made the announcement Tuesday via its Taiwan Affairs Office.
Those sanctioned or otherwise penalized are banned from entering the People’s Republic of China — both mainland and the islands of Hong Kong and Macau.
“For a period of time, a small number of Taiwan independence die-hards have tried their best to collude with external forces to carry out ‘independence’ provocations, deliberately inciting cross-strait confrontation and wantonly undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office said, according to translations from the South China Morning Post. “They performed extremely poorly during Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.”
Taiwanese officials facing the sanctions have largely hand-waved the gesture as pointless or unimportant. Some have even bragged that they are “proud” of the penalty.
“If I am sanctioned because I represented the legislature of the Republic of China to receive US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi […] I would be proud of it,” said Taiwan’s vice-speaker, Tsai Chi-chang, according to the SCMP.
Democratic Progressive Party Deputy Secretary General Lin Fei-fan claimed to have received congratulations from his friends after the sanctions on him were announced.
“The first thing my friends and colleagues said to me when they learned about the sanction was ‘congratulations’,” Lin said, according to the SCMP.
Legislator Wang Ting-yu, another sanctioned official, dismissed the sanction as “nothing new.”
“As to banning us from visiting, we can always travel to other places – the world is big. Besides, China has long banned me from visiting for years, and the so-called sanction is nothing new,” Wang said.
Pelosi was the highest-level U.S. official to visit Taiwan since House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.
China considers Taiwan part of Chinese territory, while the island’s government rejects those claims and has operated as a self-ruled democracy since 1949.
Beijing demands that countries seeking relations with China must sever formal ties from Taiwan, though the U.S. has continued informal ties with the island government.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom and Lisa Bennatan contributed to this report.