Sat, Dec 25, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Poll shows Taiwanese are unhappy about bill: MAC

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese overwhelmingly oppose China's proposed anti-secession law, a draft of which will be reviewed by China's highest legislative organ today, according to a new poll conducted by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

"These figures indicate beyond a doubt that the majority of people in Taiwan support maintaining the status quo," MAC Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said yesterday.

The survey showed 73 percent of respondents opposed the anti-secession bill as a means of bringing about unification, while 83 percent found the bill unacceptable because it "provided a legal basis for a military attack on Taiwan."

Chiu said that after the idea of anti-secession legislation was introduced, there had been a significant increase in the percentage of people who found that Beijing did not harbor good will toward Taiwan. The latest survey found 79.4 percent of respondents did not think that China's overtures towards Taiwan could be interpreted as friendly, up 9 percent from just five months ago.

Chinese authorities revealed on Friday last week that the bill would be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for deliberation today. If the bill clears the committee, it is possible that the law will be enacted as early as March when the NPC convenes.

Chiu said the progress of the bill represented a departure from common legislative practice, saying it had been proposed not by the executive branch of the Chinese government but by the NPC.

He said that the different legislative route made it more difficult for the MAC to obtain details on the bill, but he declined to elaborate on why the bill had been initiated by the legislative branch.

Chiu also spoke on the legal complexities which the proposed law posed in jurisdictional terms.

"What is clear right now is that China does not exercise actual jurisdiction over Taiwan," Chiu said, adding that the law assumed the unification of Taiwan with China.

"If the law is to be imposed on the geographic region of Taiwan, then an American in Taiwan who supports [an independent] Republic of China could be indicted based on this bill ... After all, Americans who commit crimes in Taiwan can be tried," Chiu said.

"There is no doubt that the bill will change cross-strait relations if enacted," Chiu said yesterday, without elaborating on how the government planned to respond.

Chiu said the government was unwilling to introduce countermeasures until such time as the exact wording of the bill was made available.

The telephone poll was conducted from last Monday.

There was a total of 1,060 respondents.

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