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Gov't Slams Taiwan 'Anti-annexation Law'

A spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said on Wednesday that the "anti-annexation law" that some in Taiwan have promoted recently is a move for independence and is resolutely opposed by all Chinese people.

Li Weiyi reaffirmed at a regular press conference that there is only one China, and both the mainland and Taiwan belong to it. Its sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be altered, he underscored.

The Anti-secession Law that China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), is enacting, aims to fight and curb any secessionist attempts in Taiwan, Li said.

He went on to say "we will adhere to the basic principles of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems,' and continue to pursue peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and effort."

"But we will never tolerate pro-independence activities and will never allow anyone to separate Taiwan from China by any means," the spokesperson said.

Li also expressed regret that Taiwan authorities have forbidden Taiwan students studying on the Chinese mainland to take charter flights back home during the Spring Festival.

He said the mainland hopes that Taiwan students studying on the mainland will be able to travel across the Straits during the holiday.

"Since we are trying to provide easy access for Taiwan compatriots, why not do it better?" Li said. "Besides, each side will have six airlines operating 24 non-stop round-trip flights, which are enough for the task."

Li said that Taiwan students studying on the mainland, who are not economically independent, deserve more care and protection. "We hope the Taiwan side will carefully consider the issue."

The major reason for the Taiwan authorities' decision was that students attending university on the mainland are studying without their approval.

Chinese mainland and Taiwan civil aviation circles reached a consensus on January 15 about non-stop charter flights for Taiwan business people during the Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year.

Li said China's airlines have set up special working offices in Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai, the three mainland destinations involved.

According to Li, the successful arrangement for charter flights during the coming festival does not mean the resumption of talks across the Taiwan Straits.

He said that the arrangement was only a practical one to meet the needs of Taiwan business people who work on the Chinese mainland and want to spend the holiday at home.

There was no ready-made model to follow during future festivals, he added.

"We will consider some practical arrangements in line with the interests of the people across the Taiwan Straits," Li said.

It depended on the demand from Taiwan compatriots whether similar charter flights would be launched over future festivals or whether the mainland would promote charter freight flights across the Straits, he said.

In 2003, Taiwanese civil aviation airplanes were allowed to fly to the mainland for the first time since 1949. However, due to restrictions from the Taiwan authorities, the flights had to make stopovers in Hong Kong or Macao on their way to Shanghai or returning trips, and no airlines from the mainland were involved.

Li said the situation of cross-Straits relations remained serious, though non-governmental exchanges had continued to develop last year.

According to Li, last year, the Taiwan authorities further intensified their pro-independence activities.

"The Taiwan authorities twisted the will of the Taiwan people, incited hostile sentiments among them to the mainland, did their utmost to challenge the fact that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China, and continued pro-independence activities by pushing ahead with so-called 'constitutional reform' that had brought the cross-Straits relationship to a dangerous edge," Li said.

Provocative moves by the Taiwan authorities posed a severe threat to peace and stability across the Straits and in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, aroused resolute opposition among the 1.3 billion Chinese people and Taiwan compatriots, and were strongly blamed by an increasing number of countries all over the world, said the spokesperson.

Chen Shui-bian formulated a new term of "constitutional reform" to replace the former term of "establishing a new Taiwan constitution" and promised that it would not touch upon the issues of territory, sovereignty and reunification after he started his second tenure last May. But in fact he had been attempting to legitimatize independence through it.

Since last September, particularly during the election, Chen announced a series of pro-independence policies, covering almost all major aspects of changing Taiwan's status. He had been making preparations for independence in a planned way and through his attempt to revise the "law on referendum" and promote "rectification" of Taiwan's name and "desinification" in political, cultural and other areas.

Li stressed that currently it is the urgent task for compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to stop pro-independence activities and safeguard peace and stability.

He said the mainland will continue to promote economic and cultural exchanges across the Straits and push forward the three "direct links" so as to realize the resumption of cross-Straits dialogue and negotiation on the basis of the one-China principle at an early date.

Last year, he said, the mainland received 3.686 million visitors from Taiwan, a year-on-year increase of 34.9 percent; and mainland residents paid 145,000 visits to Taiwan, up 14.2 percent.

Customs statistics also showed that in 2004 indirect trade volume across the Taiwan Straits for the first time exceeded US$70 billion, up 34.2 percent on 2003, while contractual investment in the mainland by Taiwan business people totaled US$9.306 billion, up 8.74 percent, Li said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2005)

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