China lashed out at Taiwan on Monday over its offer of political asylum to participants in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, a day after hundreds of thousands of people marched peacefully in the latest in a series of massive demonstrations in the Chinese territory.
The government of Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China considers its own territory, strongly supports the protests, and Hong Kong students in Taiwan held events over the weekend expressing their backing. Taiwan’s president made the asylum offer last month, though it’s not clear if requests have been received.
Taiwan lacks a formal legal mechanism for assessing and granting asylum requests, although it has granted residency to several vocal opponents of the Chinese regime.
On Monday, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Chinese Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said Taiwan’s offer would “cover up the crimes of a small group of violent militants” and encourage their “audacity in harming Hong Kong and turn Taiwan into a “heaven for ducking the law.”
Ma demanded that Taiwan’s government “cease undermining the rule of law” in Hong Kong, cease interfering in its affairs and not “condone criminals.”