China sanctions political experts in Taiwan for pressure on Lai

China has announced that it will sanction five Taiwanese political commentators and introduce a law to punish ‘separatists’, in moves aimed at putting pressure on new president Lai Ching-te just days before he takes office.

Chen Binhua, spokesman for the government department in Beijing that handles Taiwan affairs, said in a press release that the pundits’ remarks “deceived some people on the island, fuelled hostility and conflict between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and hurt the feelings of compatriots on both sides”.

The five are among the regulars on political discussion programmes on the island of 23 million people, which Beijing has vowed to one day take under its control by force if necessary.

Beijing’s moves are seen as an early sign that relations with Lai, the current vice president who will be sworn in as the new leader, will be as tense as they have been for the past eight years under President Tsai Ing-wen.

EU prepares sanctions against Voice of Europe broadcaster