China needs a comprehensive law to regulate cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, NPC deputy Deng Benyuan of the Taiwan affairs office in Fujian Province said.
Deng has put forward a proposal to this year's legislative session calling for such a law to "safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese compatriots and promote the stable and sustainable development of cross-straits relations".
Deng said there are some seven laws and regulations addressing cross-Straits issues, including the Measures for the Control of Chinese Citizens Traveling to or from the Region of Taiwan, Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Taiwan Compatriots' Investment and the most recent Anti-secession Law.
"There are some regulations issued by the State Council or local governments, but most of them address investment and trade issues and so usually are provisionary or applicable only within a defined area," Deng said. "However, as the ties between the two sides keep growing and the fields of cooperation expand, more legal problems are bound to surface."
These problems concern a wide arrange of issues, such as the mechanism for regional economic cooperation and issues on ensuring rights and interests in investment, cultural and social exchanges, the deputy said.
For example, there have been 180,000 cross-Straits marriages since the first one was registered in 1989. This raises various issues such as divorce and registration of children's residence, the deputy said.
"However, since there are differences between the laws on the two sides, conflicts are common," he said.
A typical example involved Taiwan woman working in Beijing who married a man from the mainland. When their son was born, they did not know where to register him.
Deng said that according to Beijing's local regulations, a child's citizenship depends on his mother. Since the boy's mother is registered in Taiwan, he should register there. But in Taiwan, citizenship is conferred patrilineally.
"A systemized approach to amending and expanding the existing legislation is imperative," Deng said.
(China Daily March 17, 2008)