China has blasted Taiwan for expressing willingness to offer sanctuary to asylum-seeking Hong Kong protesters.
"Stop meddling" in Hong Kong's affairs
According to AFP, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office told Taiwan to "stop undermining the rule of law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, and stop indulging criminals in any way".
He said the Taiwan government "ignores the facts and reverse black and white, not only masking the crimes of a small number of Hong Kong militants but also fuelling their arrogance for destroying Hong Kong".
Taiwanese president responds
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has since responded, telling Beijing "not to blame the worsening political crisis in Hong Kong on non-existent foreign forces", Taiwan News reported.
In addition, regarding Hong Kong's political situation, Tsai said, "Let me reiterate that while Taiwan is deeply concerned, we will not interfere".
Previously, the Taiwanese government said on July 19 that it would provide necessary assistance to Hong Kong citizens seeking to stay in Taiwan.
Tsai also said Taipei would handle the issue "according to humanitarian principles".
While there is no asylum law in Taiwan, the self-governing island has allowed Hong Kong dissidents to stay on long-term visas, such as Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee.
After disappearing into Chinese custody for about half a year at the end of 2015, he fled to Taiwan in April this year.
Taiwan has extended his visa to late October, reported Radio Taiwan International.
Relations between Beijing & Taipei
Cross-strait relations have taken a dip since Tsai took office.
Tsai, who belongs to the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, has refused to affirm the “1992 Consensus”, which is a mutual agreement that there is only “one China”, although both sides interpret it differently.
Taiwan remains as one of Beijing’s “core interests”, which are issues that the party leaders would not compromise on.
The Chinese Communist Party has not ruled out the use of force to take the self-governing island under its control.
China also warned Canada to stop meddling
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa has also warned Canada on Sunday, Aug. 18, to stop meddling in Hong Kong's affairs, Reuters reported.
This was after Canada issued a joint statement with the European Union that said "fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly" must continued to be upheld for Hong Kong citizens.
Urged Hong Kong firms to fire employees with "wrong" political view
Recently, Chinese state media Global Times, which is known for its belligerent views, wrote on Aug.16 that "industry insiders and Chinese netizens" have urged them to fire employees who have "the wrong stance on the current Hong Kong situation".
Chinese state media labels the Hong Kong protesters as "rioters", and does not distinguish between "peaceful" and "violent" protests.
The former included the peaceful rally on Aug. 18 attended by around 1.7 million Hongkongers, while the latter included the two infamous cases of protesters detaining and assaulting a Shenzhen cop and a Global Times reporter at the Hong Kong airport.
Top image adapted via Chen Yehua/Xinhua & The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images