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Hu Xijin, the editor of the Chinese Communist Party's newspaper Global Times, has threatened Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-Weng on social media. And he did so by presenting the example of the Spanish state as a country that represses independence movements. "If you were a separatist leader in Spain's Catalonia region, you would have been in prison now. So be grateful that you are still living freely in Taiwan province of China," tweeted Hu, quoting an earlier message on Tsai's Twitter account.

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Earlier, the Taiwanese president had denounced via Twitter the fact that Nicaragua, with which Taiwan had had diplomatic relations since 1990, has decided to sever ties with the Asian country. "I would like to stress that no amount of external pressure can shake our commitment to freedom, human rights, the rule of law and to partnering with the international democratic community as a force for good," said Tsai, in the tweet which provoked Hu Xijin's irritation. The Global Times editor responded to the president that the "democracy" she spoke of "is not an excuse to divide the country" - implying that as, the official Communist Party line asserts, Taiwan is a rebel Chinese province rather than an independent and democratic country. 

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Puigdemont's response 

Catalan president in exile Carles Puigdemont was one of the Twitter users who expressed indignation at the response from the Chinese journalist, and also wanted to have his say. In particular, the MEP noted that Hu Wijin had cited Spain "as the model of 'democracy' in supressing 'separatism'. This is the way that Beijing has found to attack Taiwan's freedom," he said - holding up the contradiction of a Western country, supposedly an upholder of fundamental freedoms and rights, which, in fact, has notoriously repressed the rights of some its citizens. For example, by jailing independence movement leaders.

Puigdemont then went further and criticized the European Union for not taking action to end this hypocrisy, saying that the EU was "solely responsible for giving arguments to the authoritarian Chinese regime." This was stated in a tweet in English.

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Josep Lluís Alay also reacted to the journalist's attack on the Taiwanese president. The director of Puigdemont's office in Belgium quoted Hu Xijin's message, describing him as "the voice of the dictatorial Chinese regime," noting that he was threatening Tsai Ing-Wen with imprisonment, "as Spain has done with the Catalan independence leaders." Like Puigdemont, Alay also lamented that "Around the world, European values are trading right now at rock-bottom level thanks to Spain."

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Nicaragua and China resume relations

This morning, China announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Nicaragua after the country broke off the ties it had maintained with Taiwan since 1990. Now Nicaragua has recognized the territorial principle of "a single China", as proposed by Beijing. The Chinese foreign ministry announced the signing of a joint communiqué stating that, as of today, there would be "mutual recognition" and the re-establishment of diplomatic relations "at the level of ambassadors."

The Chinese foreign ministry states that Managua's decision is "the right choice, in line with the global trend and with the support of the people." "China is deeply grateful for this decision," reads the document in which Beijing pledges to "work with Nicaragua to strengthen friendly cooperation in various fields, with the aim of benefiting both countries and their peoples."


In the main image, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-Weng / Twitter @iingwen