Wed, Dec 29, 2004 - Page 8 News List

China launches 'legal' weaponry

By Lin Cheng-yi林正義

In mid-December last year, China officially approved the amended Regulations on the Political Work of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), including the proposed "three warfares" -- psychological, media and legal warfare -- followed by related exercises for all armed services.

Among the three, the main legal concepts related to warfare, such as "legislation before resorting to war," were particularly mentioned. Beijing also emphasized the necessity to grasp the fundamental goals and principles, and basic warfare styles and methods of legal warfare, while strengthening military officers' education in international laws, the Law of Armed Conflicts, punishment for war crimes and other related laws.

When Chinese Premier Wen Jabao (溫家寶) visited the UK in May, he at one point said that China would take the establishment of a national unification law into serious consideration. On Dec. 17, Hu Kangsheng (胡康生), chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission under the National People's Congress, gave a briefing on the draft of an anti-secession law. Meanwhile, Beijing launched its international propaganda work on the same day, as China's representative to the UN in Geneva Sha Zukang (沙祖康) held a press conference to announce the purpose of the drawing up of the law. It is thus evident that China's Taiwan policy has already moved into legal and media warfare.

By naming the draft law the "anti-secession law" rather than the "national unification law" as it was previously called, or the "Taiwan basic law," it shows that Beijing is against national separation and Taiwan independence, but is not really in a hurry to unify with the country. The draft excludes both the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, and targets independence forces not only in Taiwan, but also in Tibet and Xinjiang.

China's drafting of the proposed law is to establish a legal basis to stop independence and promote unification, while forming a force of restraint on Taiwan, internal forces within China, as well as other countries. Once the law is established, Beijing will inevitably reward those who support unification and punish those who go against it under the law, so as to accomplish its goal of "opposing independence and promoting unification."

As for cross-strait relations, the political and psychological impact of the law is much greater than the legal one. Since it is merely a domestic law, not an international one, it will substantially affect Taiwanese businesspeople operating in China, and the Chinese people themselves. It will also have a psychological effect on the Taiwanese people. By using the law to turn the "Taiwan issue" into an internal and legal issue, China is oppressing human rights in Taiwan. This will harm peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Unfortunately, Taiwan's blue and green camps had a serious fight over the establishment of the Referendum Law (公投法) earlier this year, and they are fighting each other, not Beijing, over the anti-secession law.

What China really wants is to use the law to deal with Taiwan, so as to resolve the internal problem of lacking a legal basis to do this, and its external problem of being unable to legally restrain both Taiwan and the US. The Chinese government has long wanted to make this law. Taiwan's political direction is not the most crucial factor, and the draft was not proposed simply due to pro-independence moves.

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