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Image: Getty Images/AFP/P. Lin

China warns Taiwan against seeking independence

January 17, 2016

Beijing has reiterated its "rock-solid" commitment to its territorial integrity, after Taiwan's pro-independence opposition party won a decisive election victory. Tsai Ing-Wen became Taiwan's first female president.


Following the announcement of election results on Saturday, the leader of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai Ing-Wen, said her victory was a further example of Taiwan's ingrained democracy and its people's wish for a government that is "steadfast in protecting this nation's sovereignty."

She also pledged to maintain the status quo with China. The newly elected president said both sides had a responsibility to find a mutually acceptable means of interacting. She also added that Taiwan's international space had to be respected.

'Territorial integrity'

In a statement released on Sunday, however, Beijing warned that it would "resolutely oppose any form of secessionist activities seeking 'Taiwan independence.'"

"On major matters of principle including safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, our will is rock-solid and our attitude is consistent," said the statement from China's Taiwan Affairs Office.

In a separate statement from China's Foreign Ministry, Beijing added that the "Taiwan issue" was an "internal matter for China."

Leader of Taiwan's pro-independence DPP party, Tsai Ing-wen
The leader of the pro-independence DPP party, Tsai Ing-wen, has been elected as Taiwan's president.Image: Reuters/P. Chuang

Online censorship

Immediately after the DPP's victory was announced on Saturday, Chinese censorship authorities removed Tsai from the Weibo social network and tried to block other online references to the newly elected president.

When searching for "Tsai Ing-Wen" or "elections in Taiwan" in the Chinese messaging service, a notification appeared stating that results of the query could not be shown due to current laws.

Chinese censors have long deleted critical messages from the Internet. Western Internet service providers such as Facebook, Twitter and Google are also blocked in the People's Republic.

'One China' principle

Ahead of Taiwan's election on Saturday, Beijing warned that it would not deal with any leader who does not recognize the "one China" principle. The pact is part of an implied accord between Beijing and the outgoing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), known as the "1992 consensus" and the basis of warming ties.

Tsai's DPP, however, is much warier of China than the KMT and is traditionally a pro-independence party, with no official channel of communication with Beijing.

While Taiwan's new legislature will convene for the first time next month, Tsai will officially replace the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou on May 20, following her inauguration.

ksb/sms (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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