Wed, Jul 09, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Yu, experts express distrust for China

`ONE COUNTRY' MYTH A Mainland Affairs Council poll showed that 0.9 percent of Taiwanese surveyed favored immediate reunification with their cross-strait neighbor

AFP , TAIPEI

A push for controversial anti-subversion legislation in Hong Kong has deepened distrust of the "one country, two systems" idea in the Cabinet and among a select number of college professors.

In the terms of the formula, Beijing promised Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy for 50 years. But critics fear that China could use anti-subversion legislation such as the one being considered in Hong Kong to suppress certain freedoms, prevent protests against the government and stifle reporting of official abuses.

Hong Kong's government on Monday delayed passage of its bill after about 500,000 protesters took to the streets on July 1 in protest, but it has to eventually pass an anti-subversion law in terms of its post-handover Constitution, the Basic Law.

The matter has become an example for Taiwan of the perils of the "one country, two systems" policy, and has reinforced opinion that it is not a feasible option for the nation, politicians and analysts said.

"This [the Hong Kong example] indicates that the `one country, two systems' adopted by China is totally unfeasible," Yu said.

"This also proves the disillusion of the Hong Kong people about the system," Yu said.

"Attempts to pass the anti-subversion law in Hong Kong has posed a striking contrast to Taiwan's progressive efforts protecting freedom and democracy and moves pushing for referendum legislation," he said.

"The event could be a living example that Taiwan people may use against Beijing's offer," said Huang Hsiao-hsiang, professor of political science at Fu Hsing Kang College.

"Taiwan's people have not harbored any wishful thinking about Beijing's `one country, two systems' as a `Taiwan consciousness' and the perception of democracy prevailed among the public," she said.

"Taiwan's people would think why they have to compromise their high-degree of freedom by folding to the arm of China," Huang said.

Chang Ling-cheng (張麟徵), political science professor of National Taiwan University, echoed the observation.

"Now it would make it more difficult for Beijing to persuade Taiwan people to accept the offer," Chang said.

The latest survey on the issue by the Mainland Affairs Council showed 5.7 percent of respondents favored immediate independence, against 0.9 percent favouring immediate unification with China.

The great majority of those polled in the May survey favored maintaining the status quo.

Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), a researcher with National Chengchi University's Institute of International Relations, said the passage of the bill could hinder Taiwan's relations with Hong Kong, although he did not see it harming ties between Taipei and Beijing.

Once the bill became law, "It could cause some technical problems in Taiwan's exchanges with Hong Kong," Tung said.

The analysts also predicted the issue would become a key point in campaigning by the DPP in the run-up to next year's presidential polls.

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