Taiwanese visitors are invited to China “in high spirits” despite the possibility of death.

BEIJING: Most Taiwanese can visit China with no need to worry and can come “in high spirits”, the Chinese government said, condemning Taiwan for warning its citizens not to go following a threat from Beijing to execute “diehard” separatists.

Taiwan’s government raised its travel warning for China this week, telling people not to go unless absolutely necessary after China announced legal guidelines threatening prosecution and in extreme cases the death penalty for Taiwan independence separatists.

In a statement late on Friday (Jun 28), China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the guidelines were only aimed at a tiny number of separatists and their “evil words and actions”. China views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory.

Taiwan has ignored the facts and is trying to intimidate its own people for political means, which China is strongly opposed to, the office said in a statement.

“The majority of Taiwanese compatriots can participate in cross-strait exchanges and cooperation. They don’t have to have any worries about travelling to and from the mainland. They can absolutely arrive in high spirits and depart well content.”

China has vowed to pursue people it views as Taiwan separatists wherever they may be, though Chinese courts have no jurisdiction in Taiwan and it is not clear how China could seek to enforce any legal judgements outside its borders.

Taiwan’s travel warning also applies to the Chinese cities of Hong Kong and Macao.

China has not hidden its dislike of Taiwan President Lai Ching-te, whom it views as a “separatist”, staging two days of war games after he took office last month and regularly sending fighter jets and warships to operate around Taiwan.

Lai has repeatedly offered talks with China but has been rebuffed. He rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims and says only Taiwan’s people can decide their future.

China says any move by Taiwan to declare formal independence would be grounds to attack the island.

The government in Taipei says Taiwan is already an independent country, the Republic of China, and that it does not plan to change that.

The Republican government of China fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong’s Communists