Mon, Jan 10, 2005 - Page 8 News List

New law may influence US' policy

By Northern Taiwan Society

The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress has begun discussing anti-secession legislation. This move has caused concern in parts of Taiwan's society and shows that Taiwan must strengthen its psychological defenses and self-recognition. China's hegemonic attitudes and ambition to annex Taiwan must be condemned.

From a legal perspective, the "anti-secession law" is but a domestic Chinese law. If Taiwan considers itself a country (leaving the discussion of national title aside), the relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is international in nature, which means that international law should apply and that Chinese domestic legislation is not binding on Taiwan.

The Chinese Constitution has long included an article defining Taiwan as being part of China's "sacred territory." But when was this article ever valid? Since Taiwan sees itself as an independent state, it is not part of China. So what does it matter to Taiwan if China passes an anti-secession law?

One important benchmark for national independence is that no other state holds jurisdiction in that state. This being so, no law passed by China has any power in Taiwan.

A case in point is China's inclusion of the Diaoyutai islands in its territory in the Law on China's Territorial Waters and Their Contiguous Areas in 1992. It has no legal effect in Japan, and is merely a political statement aimed at Japan.

China has stated that the anti-secession law is a special law aimed specifically at Taiwanese independence. Not only does it not apply to Hong Kong or Macau, it doesn't apply to separatist activities in Tibet or Xinjiang either, and this is in fact quite illogical. The use of an "anti-secession law" instead of a "unification law" in fact excludes the East-West Germany, North-South Korea and EU models as well as the confederation, federation and commonwealth models, and uses legislation to state clearly that China is unified.

A "unification law," at least in name, recognizes that the two sides are separately ruled, but predefines unification of the two as the only future option. An "anti-secession law," however, does not comply with the current status since it defines the two parties as domestic, and it makes China the definer, lawmaker, judge and executor.

From the proposal for a unification law to the initiation of the anti-secession law, the pressure on Taiwan has increased. The anti-secession law defines the current status as both sides of the Taiwan Strait being one entity, and attempts to give the outside world the impression, wrongly, that China is the keeper of the cross-strait status quo.

However, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have long been separated. Why else would there be a need to discuss unification? If it was a matter of civil war, there would only be the problem of who the ruler would be, and no problem regarding unification.

China's unreasonable declaration that Taiwan is a part of it is the same as Iraq's legislation making Kuwait its 18th province. As far as the cross-strait situation goes, this is definitely a matter of unilaterally changing the status quo, and a serious provocation.

China is attempting to manifest its determination to block Taiwan's independence by adopting an anti-secession law, and is also making the mistake of believing that such a law is an important deterrent to US intervention in the cross-strait issue. The result, however, may be similar to the result of China's Taiwan policy white paper published in February 2000, which instead reversed Taiwan's strategic disadvantage in the triangular Taiwan-US-China relationship.

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