Sat, Jan 08, 2005 - Page 1 News List

China bill will `rock' relations: MAC

URGENT The Mainland Affairs Council chairman said that the anti-secession bill was worryingly broad, while the foreign affairs minister warned the world against neutrality

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu, second right, discusses China's draft anti-secession law with the international press yesterday. With him are, right to left, Government Information Office Director-General Lin Chia-lung, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen and Deputy Minister of National Defense Tsai Ming-hsien.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

China's proposed anti-secession law will establish a special court for handling cases of "separatist activity," while officials on both sides of the Taiwan Strait would be held to account if they do not act appropriately in opposing Taiwanese independence, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday.

Wu said he had not seen a draft of the law, but sources which he refused to name had passed on to him the "fundamental principles that [China] have to follow in enacting the law."

Wu said the bill would prohibit "secessionist activity" and stipulate punishment for offenders.

"[It will] define the status of Taiwan as ... a holy and inseparable part of the People's Republic of China," he said.

Wu said that offenders would be tried in a special court, and that Chinese government officials whose performance in curbing Taiwanese independence was found to be unsatisfactory, either by commission or omission, would also be legally responsible.

"[If] Taiwan's administration or military sectors do something that leads to war between the two sides, they will be charged with this kind of crime as well," he said.

Wu said the proposed law would give China license to define what constituted separatist activity and whether it was a crime.

"This will have serious implications and it's going to rock ... cross-strait relations," Wu said.

"I think in order to make sure what this crime is about they have to define what Taiwan independence is and ... the current definition of Taiwanese independence is quite broad," he said.

"Anything other than unification is going to be defined as independence and therefore anybody who speaks out in support of the Taiwan government might be charged with this kind of crime," he said.

"[Taipei] Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is the first victim of the anti-separatism [sic] law," Wu said.

Ma, who was born in Hong Kong, was recently refused a visa there, apparently in retaliation for recent criticism of the proposed law.

Wu, who was joined by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) and Vice Minister of National Defense Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲), again called for international intervention.

They said that the international response to the bill so far had been inadequate.

Chen pointed to the words of concentration-camp survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, telling the foreign press yesterday that the Holocaust had occurred because "people chose neutrality."

"Ignorance and choosing to be neutral -- these are the two biggest problems," Chen said.

He said that the bill was clearly not a domestic matter because China had already discussed the matter with the US face-to-face.

When asked what the government hoped to see the international community do in response to China's actions, Wu said that, aside from popular censure, he hoped that governments would use whatever connections they had to get the message through to China.

Tsai's approach was more direct.

"I humbly ask the news media to reflect on what our people are thinking here," he told reporters.

"This is an urgent call to the international community to stop China before it is too late," Wu said.

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