Taiwan president: China has no right to punish Taiwanese people for advocacy

Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te says China "has no right to punish" Taiwanese people for what they advocate.

Lai made the remark at a news conference on Monday, referring to China's guidelines for imposing criminal punishments for actions taken by what it calls "diehard Taiwan independence separatists."

The guidelines were announced last Friday. They stipulate that people who cause grave harm to the state and the people can be sentenced to death.

Lai stressed that democracy is not a crime, but autocracy is the real evil.

He said Beijing has no right to pursue cross-border prosecution of Taiwanese people.

Lai called on China to agree to hold dialogue with his administration.

He said having exchanges and dialogue with the legitimate government chosen by Taiwanese voters is the right path to promote people's welfare on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

He added that relations between Taiwan and China would become more alienated if this is not done.