They were announced the same day a US congressional delegation met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and after a similar visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-level member of the US government to visit Taiwan in 25 years. The Chinese government objects to Taiwan having any official contact with foreign governments because it considers Taiwan its own territory, and its recent saber rattling has emphasised its threat to take the island by military force.
In Washington, US state department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that China had overreacted with its “provocative and totally unnecessary response to the congressional delegation that visited Taiwan earlier this month”. The targets of China’s latest sanctions include Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US, Bikhim Hsiao, and legislators Ker Chien-ming, Koo Li-hsiung, Tsai Chi-chang, Chen Jiau-hua and Wang Ting-yu, along with activist Lin Fei-fan. They will be barred from travelling to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, and from having any financial or personal connections with people and entities on the mainland, Communist Party’s Taiwan Work Office said.
The measures were designed to “resolutely punish” those considered “diehard ele- ments” supporting Taiwan’s independence, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. Premier Su Tseng-chang, leader of the legislature You Si-kun and foreign minister Joseph Wu were already on China’s sanctions list and will face more restrictions, Xinhua said. China exercises no legal authority over Taiwan and it’s unclear what effect the sanctions would have.