Go TO Content

“Anti-Separation Law” Seriously Undermines Cross-Strait Relations and Regional Peace

  • Date:2007-03-28

Mainland Affairs Council

March 9, 2007

On March 14, 2005, the Chinese government enacted the “anti-separation law” (ASL). Based on the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the ASL defines the “status quo” of cross-strait relations, unilaterally denying the reality that Taiwan and China have no jurisdiction over each other. At the same time, it sets “non-peaceful” means as an option for resolving the Taiwan Strait issue. The ASL completely and undisguisedly describes China's peremptory position toward Taiwan. It also declares in writing China's intention and means of changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, seriously violating the universal values and spirit of democracy and peace. International public opinion has unanimously and harshly condemned the passage of this law. Over the past two years, the formulation and passage of the law has increased the severity of the cross-strait political and military confrontation, posed a serious impact on security in the Taiwan Strait and the region, and formed a huge obstacle to the healthy development of cross-strait relations.

I. China heightens its military intimidation:

Since passing the ASL, China has attempted to develop a global strategy under the pretext of needing to strengthen its military capabilities against Taiwan. Beijing has rapidly expanded China's military budget and intensified military preparations against Taiwan. In recent years, China has deployed more than one thousand missiles along its southeast coast and increased its military budget at a double-digit pace. According to information announced this year at the National People's Congress, China's military budget in 2007 is 350.9 billion renminbi (US$ 45 billion), a 17.8% increase over last year, and the actual figure could be three to four times higher. The international community has expressed serious concerns about the military threat brought about by China's rise. In January 2007, China launched an anti-satellite missile test in full violation of its pledge of “peaceful development.” This has aroused suspicions among other countries that China is engaged in a space arms race. Major countries, including the United States, Japan, and European Union nations, have all expressed misgivings over the impact of China's military expansion on the Taiwan Strait situation and global security. Since the formulation and passage of the ASL, it is an undeniable fact that the ASL has directly or indirectly strengthened China's excuse for military buildup, thus deepening international misgivings over the “China threat.”

II. China increases its efforts to suppress Taiwan's diplomatic efforts:

The ASL insists on defining cross-strait relations by stressing that “there is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is a part of China.” After passage of this law, China clearly began to suppress Taiwan in the international area ever more crudely and comprehensively. Beijing further used political, diplomatic, economic and trade chips to threaten and induce Taiwan's allies into severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan, to interfere with the transit routes of Taiwan's president and high-ranking officials on overseas visits, to continue to dwarf Taiwan's international personality, to obstruct Taiwan's participation in international activities under a normal identity, and to block and suppress Taiwan's bid to participate in the World Health Assembly. It has also mobilized to shut out motions beneficial to Taiwan raised by Taiwan's allies in the United Nations, steadily intensified substantive political suppression of Taiwan's participation in the international community, and adopted a so-called “three outs” policy that is aimed to uproot, block, and squeeze Taiwan in the international arena by every conceivable means. There is of course an absolute connection between these actions and China's implementation of hard-handed tactics against Taiwan after the passage of the ASL.

III. Smearing Taiwan's democracy to build up legitimacy for launching military attacks:

The ASL unilaterally and coercively pre-establishes the direction of Taiwan's future. Over the past two years, China has ignored the demands of the Taiwanese people for normalized development of their country. It has misoriented various actions in Taiwan to deepen democracy; and exaggeratedly lumped Taiwan's promotion of “constitutional reforms” and “rectification of names” together as so-called “de jure Taiwan independence.” It has been utterly irrational in pressuring and hurling invectives at Taiwan; and it has smeared the image of Taiwan in the international community. Recently, there have been signs that Beijing has been heating up its criticism even more rapidly. China’s disregard for the fact that Taiwan has long been an independent sovereign country as well as its arbitrary interference in Taiwan's internal affairs amply demonstrates that the Beijing regime is unable to understand the democratic values of Taiwan and, furthermore, is unable to win the identification of the Taiwanese people. In sum, the ASL aims to provide China with a reasonable pretext for interfering in Taiwan's domestic affairs and suppressing Taiwan’s democratization. Over the long term, this law will have an extremely negative affect on upholding democratic values globally.

IV. China uses “carrot and stick tactics” in its united front strategy against Taiwan:

After passing the ASL, the Chinese authorities have intensified the use of “carrot and stick tactics” in their united front strategy against Taiwan. Over the past two years, China has actively emphasized the soft-handed tactics of “placing hopes on the Taiwanese people” and “releasing benefits” in the direction of its Taiwan work in an attempt to conceal its political intentions of enacting the ASL. China has sought to cozy up to specific groups in Taiwan and use them to achieve its political objectives with a view to steadily implementing its united front work objective of “entering the island, entering the home, and entering the mind.” At the same time, China has intentionally sought to breed dissension in Taiwan and to exclude the Taiwanese government from exercising its authority, making it impossible to achieve more remarkable breakthroughs and progress toward the goal of normalizing cross-strait relations.

V. Continuing to strengthen the legitimacy of using force against Taiwan:

Since passing the ASL, China has actively formulated related accompanying laws, including the study and drafting of the “State of Emergency Law” and “National Defense Mobilization Law.” At present, the National People's Congress (NPC) has passed the draft of the “Sudden Incident Response Law” (including content of the 'State of Emergency Law') in the initial review, with plans to complete the legislation in 2007. The NPC also expects to proceed with deliberations on the “National Defense Mobilization Law” this year. Through the preventive action of formulating related laws and integrating them with current laws and decrees, China is attempting to include Taiwan within the applicable scope of national response to sudden incidents. The purpose is to establish a more complete legal framework for “opposing Taiwan independence” and further “interiorizing” Taiwan. These follow-up legislative actions have been considerably influenced by the spirit of the ASL. The ASL is apparently the start of a series of iniquitous laws against Taiwan.

China's full implementation of the ASL over the past two years has undoubtedly had a structural impact on security in the Taiwan Strait and the region. It has not only constrained and undermined the development of cross-strait relations, but has also gradually brought to the surface and increased the negative effects on East Asian and global peace. During the sessions of the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) this year, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing threateningly made the fierce statement that, “The ASL is not just going to sit there unused!” In fact, this fully reflects the complete irrationality of the Chinese authorities' Taiwan policy and Beijing's lack of concept about democratic ideas. This will also cause irreparable harm to the long-term development of cross-strait relations. However, the Taiwanese government has not wavered from its consistent adherence to developing cross-strait relations based on “democracy and peace.” For the sake of Taiwan's sustainable development, the government will still insist on resolving differences between both sides through dialogue and continue to create opportunities for constructive interactions in the course of developing cross-strait relations. In order to maintain the peaceful and stable development in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan also appeals to the international community to express continued concerns over the changing situation in the Taiwan Strait following China's passage of the ASL and the possibility that China will use “non-peaceful” means against Taiwan. Moreover, the international community should take more active measures to curb China’s crude behavior that is intended to invade Taiwan, so as to safeguard democratic development in Taiwan and jointly maintain long-term peace in the Taiwan Strait and Asia-Pacific region.