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President Chen Issues a Solemn Six-point Statement Regarding China's "Anti-separation Law"

2005-03-16 President Chen Shui-bian issues a solemn six-point statement regarding China's "anti-separation law" when receiving members of the Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace 1.The Republic of China is an independent, sovereign state; Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to the 23 million people of Taiwan; and only the 23 million people of Taiwan may decide to change the future of Taiwan. This statement expresses the greatest consensus within Taiwan's society today on the issues of national sovereignty and the future of Taiwan. It is also the largest common denominator among the governing and opposition parties. Recent public opinion polls indicate that over 90 percent of the people of Taiwan explicitly agree with such a statement. If the Chinese authorities genuinely desire to "place hope on the people of Taiwan," they should listen to the voice of the majority of the people of Taiwan, accept the fact that the Republic of China does exist, and respect the choice that the people of Taiwan make of their own free will. 2.The process of China's formulation and passage of the "anti-separation law" (the so-called anti-secession law) provides further proof of the many institutional differences between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait that do in fact exist today. We do not need to deliberately emphasize how large the gap is between democratic and undemocratic, or between peaceful and non-peaceful. The solution, however, certainly does not lie in the formulation of an "anti-separation law" that is both undemocratic and non-peaceful. We insist that the differences between the two sides of the Strait should be resolved through a dialogue based on the principles of democracy, freedom, and peace. Any undemocratic or non-peaceful means, regardless of its rationale, would not be tolerated by the international community; it would only serve to further increase the divisiveness of cross-strait relations and push our two peoples further apart. 3.In spite of the overwhelming objection by the international community and repeated statements of serious concern, a headstrong Chinese government went ahead without awareness or self-control to pass this aggressive law. Even now that international commentary has made clear of the inherent mistakes in the passage of this law, the Beijing authorities still has not shown any signs of self-examination. We must take this opportunity to indicate clearly to the Chinese government that any law that expressly stipulates the use of violence to infringe the basic rights and interests of others, no matter for what reason or under what pretense, is tantamount to the degradation of the universal values of freedom, democracy, and human rights, as well as a setback for human civilization. 4.The people of Taiwan uphold democracy and peace. We are determined and duty-bound to join the international community in safeguarding democratic systems, peace in the Taiwan Strait, and regional stability. While we are happy to see the stable emergence of China, the Chinese authorities should also demonstrate to the world their "peaceful awakening." For a long time, China has been expanding its armaments and deploying ever-more missiles targeting Taiwan. Its recent enactment of a non-peaceful law legitimatising the use of force against Taiwan in defiance of international opinion not only is unacceptable to any country that advocates liberty, democracy, and peace but also will not gain their tacit consent. Nor should anyone become an aggressor's accomplice. We would like to solemnly express our concern once more: Before the Chinese authorities can provide guarantees of peace and abandon any attempts at "non-peaceful" actions, the European Union has no reason to lift the embargo on arms sales to such a potential aggressor. 5.Chinese government's enactment of its "anti-separation law," which would unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, has given rise to regional tension and international commotion. Furthermore, it has caused severe adverse impacts on cross-strait relations, which were showing signs of improvement. As leader of the nation, I carry a heavy responsibility to ensure the nation's security and the people's well-being. My government and I will solemnly face this situation and respond prudently. We will not alter our established position of "reconciliation but not flinching, standing firm yet avoid confrontation;" but, in the face of the Chinese authorities' customary double-handed approach, particularly its gambit of offering petty favors after setting up the guillotine, the people of Taiwan definitely cannot be insensitive and, even less, be gullible. For a long time, we have been happy to share our developmental experiences in all areas with the other side of the Strait in order to enhance the welfare of both peoples across the Taiwan Strait. In fact, what people on the other side of the Strait need most are the three special products of Taiwan that we are most happy to share: our democratic system, complete freedom, and protection of human rights. On this point, we also will not change. 6.History shows that good people choosing to stay silent or stand on the sidelines can lead to expansion by evil powers and even to destruction. Just as now, as the dark clouds of "non-peacefulness" loom over the Taiwan Strait, none of us can afford to remain on the outside. At a time when the international community is speaking with a single voice, the people of Taiwan—regardless of gender, age, political viewpoint, and profession—even more so, should be united and speaking out. The March 26 parade for "Safeguarding Taiwan with Democracy and Peace" represents the most peaceful, most rational, most humble vocalization by the people of Taiwan, with an estimated one million of them that will take to the streets to resolutely reject this non-peaceful aggressive law. They will shout across the strait to the Chinese authorities: "The two thousand-plus delegates at China's National People's Congress cannot vote on the destiny of the 23 million people of Taiwan. Only the great people of Taiwan can make decisions on Taiwan's free, democratic, and peaceful future."