Taipei, Dec. 25 (CNA) Taipei berated Beijing Wednesday for its criticism of a proposed anti-infiltration bill that Taiwan's ruling party has vowed to push through the Legislature before the end of the year.
In a statement, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Beijing is fabricating stories about alarm and panic among Taiwanese businessmen and students in China due to the bill.
Beijing's claims that the bill will dissuade Taiwanese from studying or pursuing jobs in China are groundless and are aimed at causing divisions among the Taiwanese people, said the MAC, the government agency that handles cross-Taiwan Strait affairs.
The MAC issued the statement after Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮), a spokeswoman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said earlier in the day that the proposed anti-infiltration bill was creating alarm and panic among Taiwanese in China.
"Retired government officials or military generals in Taiwan seeking to promote cross-strait exchanges will face greater restraints and more severe punishment," Zhu said at a regular press conference.
In response, the MAC said the increasing infiltration efforts by China pose a growing threat to Taiwan's national security and are part of Beijing's broader goal of bringing Taiwan under its control.
Cross-strait exchanges have been hampered by Beijing's infiltration tactics and the dissemination of fake news by some local media outlets, the MAC said.
The anti-infiltration bill awaiting passage in the Legislature and the amendments to five existing acts that have already cleared the legislative floor are meant to counter the influence of hostile foreign forces, the MAC said, without naming China.
For example, the amendment to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area only restricts ranking government and military retirees from attending high-profile official ceremonies in China and does not address civic exchanges between the two sides, the MAC said.
The draft anti-infiltration bill targets only actions such as illegal political donations, campaigning, lobbying, election interference, disruption of public order, and the spread of misinformation, which are not covered in existing laws, the MAC said.
Normal cross-strait exchanges involving Taiwanese businesspeople, teachers, students and employees in China will not be affected, the MAC said.
The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers have vowed to push the anti-infiltration bill through the Legislature before Dec. 31