(CNS News) – The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has placed sanctions on U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her family after her visit to Taiwan, an independent island nation known as the Republic of China, which the PRC claims is part of its territory.
A statement from China’s foreign ministry reads: “In disregard of China’s grave concerns and firm opposition, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi insisted on visiting China’s Taiwan region. This constitutes a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. It gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously tramples on the one-China principle, and severely threatens peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
“In response to Pelosi’s egregious provocation, China decides to adopt sanctions on Pelosi and her immediate family members in accordance with relevant laws of the People’s Republic of China,” reads the statement.
The government declined to specify the sanctions.
The sanctions are a response to the Speaker’s visit to Taiwan last week. Pelosi is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, when then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) visited the island in 1997.
Pelosi met with a number of high-ranking officials, including Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who is a member of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, which advocates for an independent Taiwan and is hostile towards Chinese reunification efforts.
In addition to sanctioning Pelosi, China announced countermeasures that include suspending cooperation with the U.S. on climate change, counter-narcotics operations, transnational crimes, illegal immigration, and various military consultation agreements.
China also followed the trip by conducting its “largest ever [military] exercises” in the Taiwan Strait in retaliation. On Aug. 8 they announced further military drills in Taiwan’s sea- and airspace, indicating that they will continue to maintain pressure on the island nation.
Pelosi, whose political career has been noted for some confrontations with China, including protesting in Tiananmen Square and meeting with the Dalai Lama, said, “Taiwan is a very special place: a key ally in peace and security, a global leader in economic dynamism and a model of democratic governance…We reaffirmed Congress’ ongoing commitment to helping Taiwan defend its freedom in the face of aggression…America’s solidarity with the people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as we continue to support the defense of democracy against autocracy in the region and in the world.”
China and Taiwan have had a complicated relationship for decades. In 1912, the Republic of China was established as the government of mainland China. When the Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong, seized control of Beijing, the capital, in 1949 during the Communist Revolution, the Republic of China relocated to Taiwan, where it built its current capital in Taipei.
After winning the war, Mao established the PRC as China’s government and the PRC claims Taiwan as an island territory of China. However, Taiwan still calls its government the Republic of China and has remained effectively independent since the conclusion of the Communist Revolution. Taiwan is a multi-party democracy that more closely resembles western democracies than China’s one-party government.
Xi Jinping, the president of China, has advocated strongly for reunifying China and Taiwan, calling it an “unshakeable commitment of the Communist Party of China.” In a speech last year, he said, “No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Senior officials told Fox News last week that China could invade Taiwan “within the next 18 months.” According to those officials, the period between China’s next Party Congress in November, when Xi Jinping is expected to be re-elected to the presidency, and the United States’ next presidential election is a “window of opportunity” for China to invade the island.
Since the Communists took over China in 1949-50, they have killed more than 65 million of their own people for political/class reasons, according to The Black Book of Communism, published by Harvard University Press. That’s far more than the Nazis killed during their 12-year reign, and it is more than the estimated number of people who were killed globally during WWII. (That number is between 40 million and 50 million, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.)
In the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrators, an estimated 10,000 people were killed, reported the BBC.
According to Human Rights Watch, some of the human rights abuses Chinese officials regularly engage in include “mass arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, mass surveillance, cultural and religious persecution, separation of families, forced returns to China, forced labor, and sexual violence and violations of reproductive rights.”
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