The contents of China's "anti-secession" bill have been revealed. The bill's provisions emphasize the use of "non-peaceful means" and other necessary measures to deal with the "Taiwan independence forces." It has essentially legalized China's long-standing position of refusing to rule out the use of force against Taiwan. Such belligerent behavior will inevitably destroy the existing peace and order within the Taiwan Strait.
As a result, countries such as the US and Japan have expressed concern and issued strong criticism, beginning on the day that review of the bill began. The Japanese government indicated that it is concerned about the potential impact that the law may have on the Taiwan Strait. The White House and the US secretary of state both pointed out that the contents of the anti-secession bill released by Beijing were unhelpful in resolving the cross-strait issue, and that the US has asked the Chinese government to reconsider passage of the bill.
The international community has expressed strong concern and opposition to the bill both before and after its contents came to light. It is encouraging to see this reaction. However, Taiwan is the target of this law. So the reaction of Taiwanese society -- in both the governing and opposition camps -- is key.
The Chinese regime is a backward one. Under its rule, human rights, liberty and rule of law are absolutely unprotected. The gap between the two sides of the Strait is clear: one side is a barbaric jungle and the other is a civilized society. Knowing that it cannot win over the hearts of the Taiwanese people, China can only cling to its military power in an attempt to intimidate and coerce to complete its so-called "unification" mission.
In reality, China's stance on the use of force against Taiwan remains unshaken. The conditions which could trigger the use of "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan, as listed by the law are: The split of Taiwan from China in any manner or name by Taiwan independence forces; the occurrence of any major event that will cause Taiwan to split from China; or the complete disappearance of conditions for peaceful unification.
In China's 2000 white paper on its "one China" principle and the Taiwan issue, Beijing also stated three triggers for the use of force against Taiwan: if Taiwan is split from China by any major event under any name; if a foreign country invades Taiwan; and if the Taiwan regime indefinitely refuses to resolve the cross-strait unification issue through negotiation. While the actual wording and language may be different, the position is consistent, with no sign that Beijing might back down.
The funny thing is this. Last year, before the legislative election, the pan-blues were the ones with wishful thinking toward China. However, after the election, even the governing party has behaved in the same way. With cross-party cooperation as the excuse, President Chen Shui-bian (
The hope was that China could put down its guns aimed at Taiwan. By that time, both the governing and opposition camps were harboring deluded fantasies about China. Statements that constituted denials of sovereignty -- such as that the government should not push for name rectification and the adoption of a new constitution, that the "one China" principle is enshrined in the Republic of China Constitution, and that "Republic of China" is the common denominator in Taiwan politics -- have become the so-called "common ground" between the governing and opposition camps.
Ironically, "Taiwan" has apparently become the root of tension between the governing and opposition camps. In order to express its so-called "goodwill," the governing regime went as far as degrading its own dignity. For example, while its leaders reluctantly participated in the 228 Incident commemoration ceremony, they did not dare to openly give a statement there.
As for activities to oppose Chinese aggression, the DPP leadership would not even participate. Sadly, while the governing and opposition camps may both pander to China, to the point of self-belittlement, China couldn't care less. It remains unmoved. In fact, it felt even more confident than ever and went on to push for the passage of the "anti-secession" law.
Fortunately, China's stubborn insistence on passing the anti-secession law, so as to give a legal basis for invading Taiwan, has seemingly made the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) come back to its senses. The governing party's dream about reconciliation has been shattered by the Chinese anti-secession bill. Realizing this, the DPP has begun to propose counter strategies.
Vice President Annette Lu (
Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) recently faced strong criticism for his statements on halting the campaign to rectify Taiwan's name and adopt a new constitution, and on how "one China" is defined by the Constitution. Now he has said in the Legislative Yuan that if China's law authorizes it to use force against Taiwan at any time or incorporate Taiwan into the People's Republic of China (PRC), he supports retaliation through amending the constitution to take out the "one China" components.
Hsieh also said that a condition of Chen's "four noes" commitment is that China not use force against Taiwan. The ten-point consensus reached between Chen and Soong, which reaffirms the same commitment, has the same condition.
The Mainland Affairs Council also thinks that the anti-secession bill is a provocation against Taiwan, and therefore the government should postpone direct cargo flights across the Taiwan Strait.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), which has always stood by nativization, advocates passing an anti-annexation law to demonstrate Taiwan's determination to stand up to Chinese aggression. The TSU also advocates holding a defensive referendum to let Taiwanese people decide with their votes whether Taiwan is a part of China. Regretfully, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) remains indifferent, saying that the the anti-secession law targets only Taiwan independence forces. It condemns the DPP instead of the Chinese Communist Party.
After the meeting between Chen and Soong, there was concern that the governing party had gone astray. In the interest of the Taiwanese people, we have criticized the government's misguided definition of the national status. The drafting of the anti-secession law proves the fruitlessness of the governing and opposition camps' attempts to cozy up to China.
Taiwan faces much danger. It cannot again be deceived by small favors from China, such as the direct charter flights during the Lunar New Year. Now is a good time to re-examine cross-strait economic and trade policies, so as to ensure national security and keep Taiwan's industrial might within the country. This is the way for Taiwan to maintain its ability to stand up to China.
Countering Chinese annexation takes a lot more than empty words. The government should make active and substantive moves.
The nativization campaign should also continue. Chen should live up to his word and lead 500,000 Taiwanese people to the streets on March 26 to protest against China's anti-secession law.
People look forward to all political parties participating in the march, to tell the world what the people of Taiwan really think.
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