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Researchers Defend Anti-Secession Law

Leading mainland researchers on Taiwan studies have defended the newly-passed Anti-Secession Law claiming it is as a legal document to safeguard cross-Straits status quo and maintain peace in the Straits.

They rejected Taipei's criticism that the bill aims to "unilaterally change the cross-Straits status quo by authorizing force to attack the island at any time."

Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian yesterday claimed the law was an "invasive" bill and called on for 1 million to take part in a protest on March 26.

"Both the legislative purpose and main contents of the law have clearly demonstrated its aim to safeguard cross-Straits status quo," said Li Jiaquan, a senior researcher with the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"It is just meant to oppose the secessionist forces' unilateral move to change the status quo through intensified push for 'independence,'" he added.

The cross-Straits status quo refers to the fact that there is only one China in the world both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China, he said.

But Chen has been forging ahead with his plan to pursue de jure "independence" for the island through the so-called "constitutional re-engineering project," Li added.

He told China Daily that the Anti-Secession Law is preventive in nature because it acts only as a deterrent against Taiwan's secession from China by secessionists in the name of "Taiwan independence."

"The name of the law itself has implied that the Chinese mainland has made it a top priority to check and oppose secessionist activities rather than pursue an immediate reunification," he added.

The National People's Congress, China's top legislature, passed the 10-article Anti-Secession Law in a near unanimous vote on Monday at the last day of its annual full session. The bill devotes three-fourths to the promotion of a peaceful reunification between Taiwan and the mainland and development of bilateral ties.

Professor Liu Guoshen, president of the Academy of Taiwan Research at Xiamen University, said the law shows the mainland's maximum sincerity to seek a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question through dialogue and consultation.

"For instance, Article 7 of the law stipulates that 'the State stands for the achievement of peaceful reunification through consultations and negotiations on an equal footing' between Taiwan and the mainland," said Liu.

Topics that may be discussed range from "officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides," "the political status of the Taiwan authorities" to "the Taiwan region's room of international operation that is compatible with its status," he added.

It may also include "other matters concerning the achievement of peaceful national reunification," the law says.

"All these testify to the mainland's ultimate goal of striving for a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question," Liu said.

He stressed that non-peaceful means will not be executed as long as Taipei does not engage in secessionist activities aimed at Taiwan's secession from China.

"To some extent, it is the Taiwan authorities that will determine whether non-peaceful means will be employed or not," Liu said.

(China Daily March 17, 2005)

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