Chinese media calls for arrest of Premier Lai for 'Independent Taiwan' comments

The state media People's Daily called for an international arrest warrant against Premier Lai

Premier Lai addressing the parliament on Friday

Premier Lai addressing the parliament on Friday (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- China's official news channel People's Daily wrote on Saturday, March 31, that Taiwan's Premier Lai should be prosecuted under China's 2005 Anti-Secession Law for discussing Taiwan as an independent country, declaring him a "Taiwan independence worker."

On Friday, March 30, Premier Lai told parliament that he believed Taiwan was an independent country and he is and always would work for an Independent Taiwan.

China's media published Premier Lai's comments and called his prosecution for "promoting Taiwan's independence."

"If evidence of his crimes are cast iron, then a global wanted notice can be issued for him," wrote People's Daily, China's official media outlet as reported by Reuters.

After the leading paper's story was published, officials of China's Taiwan Affairs Office said Premier Lai's comments were "dangerous and presumptuous," and could harm the peace and stability between Taiwan and China.

After the comments from Chinese officials, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Office issued statement that said Taiwan was a democratic society and that China has repeatedly played with media, twisting stories and employing users online to threaten the Taiwanese government and people.

"China has openly and repeatedly tried to manipulate the media and internet users to repress and threaten Taiwan's government and its people. This isn't what a responsible party should be doing. It will only increase cross-strait antagonism and damage relations," the council said.

"Over the past two years, our government has not felt animosity towards China, but ... China must face up to the reality of the separate governments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and respect Taiwan's democracy and will of its people," concluded the council, as quoted by Reuters.