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Mainland Affairs Council

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ROC Government Q & A on China’s Drafted “Anti-Separation Law” (Frequently Asked Questions, 01/03/2005)

Mainland Affairs Council, Executive Yuan

March 1, 2005

1. How would you describe the status quo in the Taiwan Strait?

A:The Republic of China (ROC) is a sovereign state with a defined territory and population as it exercises jurisdiction over Taiwan, Penghu (the Pescadores), Kinmen (Quemoy), and Matsu. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is also a sovereign state. It is an established fact that each side of the Taiwan Strait has been governed separately and that the ROC is not a part of the PRC. This accurately describes the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait. Any decision on the future development of cross-strait relations must take into account, and duly reflect, the wishes of the people of Taiwan.

2. What is the “anti-separation law”? What is its legal status and scope of application?

A:The “anti-separation law” is China’s domestic law that unilaterally defines the current “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait as “unified”, thus denying the ROC’s status as a sovereign state. The law will apply to citizens, enterprises, organizations and government officials in both China and Taiwan.

3. What are China’s purposes in drafting the “anti-separation law”?

A:

 (a) First, China’s strategy is aimed at creating opposition in the Taiwan Strait, suppressing Taiwanese national identity, and pressuring the international community.

(b) The law is part of China’s “war on three fronts” (legal warfare, propaganda warfare, and psychological warfare). By unilaterally enacting this law, China attempts to create a legal excuse for a future military invasion of Taiwan and changes the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.

(c) China wishes to use the law as a bargaining chip in its relationships with other nations that are concerned about development in the Taiwan Strait. By enacting the law, China hopes to further pressure the international community to accept its “one China” principle.

4. What are the procedure and timetable for China’s drafted “anti-separation law?”

A:

 (a) The law was proposed by the Commission of Legal Affairs of the National People’s Congress (NPC). After the NPC Standing Committee’s preliminary deliberation, the Committee decided to submit the law to the NPC session to be held on March 5, 2005 for further deliberation and passage in accordance with NPC procedures.

(b) Once approved by the NPC, the “anti-separation law” will be signed into law by the Chinese president and promulgated to the public.

(c) If China does not receive any pressure from the international community or Taiwan during its deliberations over the “anti-separation law”, it is to be expected that the law will come into effect by the middle of March.

5. What is the possible framework of the “anti-separation law”?

A:According to open remarks by Chinese officials and their comments marking the 10th anniversary of Jiang Zemin’s “Eight-Point Proposal,” the “anti-separation law” is likely to have the following framework and focal points:

(a) It will be drafted within the framework of China’s constitution.

(b) It will contain the main principles of China’s Taiwan policy, stating “peaceful unification” and “one country, two systems” as its guiding principles, and presenting “unification” as the only valid choice in cross-strait relations (albeit without a fixed timetable).

(c) It will unilaterally define the meaning and scope of “anti-separatist” activities.

(d) It will propose non-peaceful measures to resolve the “Taiwan problem”.

(e) It will establish the principles and guidelines for resolving the “Taiwan problem”.

(f) It will encourage and promote cross-strait visits and exchanges, and enforce regulations on cross-strait discussions and negotiations.

(g) It will stress that all the Chinese people will defend China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will never tolerate the “Taiwanese independence”.

(h) It will be defined as a domestic law and state that it will not tolerate external interference.

6. How will the “anti-separation law” affect the rights and interests of the people of Taiwan?

A:Taiwan is a pluralistic, democratic society where the population enjoys freedom of speech. Although China’s proposed “anti-separation law” is a domestic law, the fact is that for Taiwanese businessmen investing in China, Taiwanese students and tourists in the mainland, international corporations and even Taiwanese citizens whose opinions or actions are considered as going against the “one China” principle, this law will constitute a form of “red terror”, which will certainly affect normal exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. This law is intended to impose a martial law of thought control and censorship on the people of Taiwan. Therefore it will violate the basic human rights and interests of the Taiwanese people.

7. How will the “anti-separation law” affect Taiwan’s progress toward democratization?

A:In strengthening its democracy, Taiwan has always been hampered by China’s interference. China has test-fired missiles in the Taiwan Strait. Over recent years, China has intentionally and unilaterally misinterpreted Taiwan’s proposed “constitutional reforms” and “amendments to the referendum law”, which are aimed at strengthening the democratic system and at promoting Taiwan’s modernization, as nothing but a tool to gain “de jure independence.” China wants to use the “anti-separation law” to further reduce Taiwan’s space for deepening its democratic roots. Such behavior is a blatant neglect of the wishes of the Taiwanese people to pursue the basic rights of democracy and freedom, and it makes Taiwan’s road to democratization even more difficult.

8. How will the “anti-separation law” affect cross-strait relations?

A:China’s unfriendly act of drafting an “anti-separation law” is opposed by nearly 83% of the Taiwanese people. If China is set on enacting the law, such a move will only intensify cross-strait relations, raise tensions, and threaten peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Furthermore, once the law is enacted, the “red terror” will have a negative impact on cross-strait exchanges, cause both sides to drift further apart and disappoint the 23 million Taiwanese people.

9. How will the “anti-separation law” affect the interests of other nations?

A:

(a) By stressing that the “Taiwan problem” is China’s domestic issue, China has declared its bottom line to the international community. The “anti-separation law” prohibits international intervention, and intends to prevent other nations from protecting their own interests or fulfilling their obligations, and would invariably make the “Taiwan Strait” an “inland sea.” The law also aims to prevent Taiwan from procuring military weapons to maintain its defense capabilities to counter China’s invasion, which will affect the security and stability of the entire Asian-Pacific region. In particular, the “anti-separation law” is meant to counter the United States’ “Taiwan Relations Act”. It upsets the delicate trilateral balance between Washington, Beijing and Taipei and poses a direct challenge to the international community that wishes to maintain a stable “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait. In short, the “anti-separation law” will add another uncertain element to the cross-strait situation.

(b) In using a legal framework to shape cross-strait relations, China intends to establish itself as the sole force that can dominate and change the cross-strait environment at will. China further wishes to set itself up as the sole lawmaker and arbiter of cross-strait interaction. Its long-term goal is to gradually become the dominant global power that can dictate the world as it sees fit. It is clear that the international community’s hope to maintain the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait is about to face a serious challenge.

(c) Taiwan and China are facing the trend of economic globalization. At this point, the “anti-separation law” will generate a new variable to economic exchanges between Taiwan and China, and will also create invisible barriers to the members of the international community in their production and sales activities across the Taiwan Strait. Such a development would go against the international economic rules of marketization.