Tue, Dec 21, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Observers ponder Hu's Macau remarks

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF WRITER

Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) remarks in Macau yesterday about the "one country, two systems" were closely noted by officials and observers here, who are watching what China plans to do next after China's state-run media reported that the Chinese parliament might soon consider an anti-secession law.

Hu praised Macau as a model of the "one country, two systems" formula as the enclave celebrated its fifth anniversary after Portugal handed it over to China.

Though Hu was expected to mention Taiwan and the plans to enact an anti-secession law, Hu did not touch on those topics.

"It remains to be seen why he did not mention the law," said Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三). "We don't have enough information as to why he did not talk about the issue and should not jump to any conclusions. We will keep watching the situation closely."

With the Chinese parliament slated to conduct the first round of review on the proposed anti-secession law, Chiu said the government here would not comment on the legislative process in China because that is part of Beijing's domestic affairs.

"However, Taiwan must solemnly tell China that the anti-secession law is related to cross-strait affairs and that it would unilaterally change the status quo," Chiu said. "If China passes the law, it will seriously hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese people."

Chang Wu-yen (張五岳), professor at Tamkang University's Institute of China Studies said that it's not surprising that Hu did not mention the anti-secession law.

"Hu was unwilling to touch on hard issues such as the anti-secession law in the celebratory atmosphere in Macau," the academic said.

Beijing is observing Taiwan and the international community's responses to the anti-secession law that it introduced last Friday.

"It would be unrealistic for any Chinese leader to comment on a law that has not yet been passed," Chang added.

China's strategy toward Taiwan is two-pronged. On the softer side, it has called for unification and promoted the "one country, two systems" formula. But it has also adopted hard-line gestures such as introducing the anti-secession law and threatening to use force against Taiwan, Chang said.

The Central News Agency reported that China's foreign embassies have started explaining to their host countries the purpose of the anti-secession law.

The Chinese ambassador in Thailand said in a recent news conference that the law would be based on several guidelines.

"Peaceful unification" and the "one country, two systems" formula are among them, the diplomat said.

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