Sat, Jan 01, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Thumbs down for anti-secession law

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Polls indicate a strong opposition to Beijing's anti-secession bill, no matter the respondents' age, educational level or political affiliation, according to a recent survey conducted by Taiwan Thinktank.

"A higher percentage of People First Party (PFP) supporters oppose the law than Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters," said Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman David Huang (黃偉峰), saying that there was a high level of consensus on the matter.

A total of 90.5 percent of those who support the PFP and 89.3 percent of DPP supporters said that they were opposed to the use of the anti-secession bill as a legal basis for taking Taiwan by military force in the future. Overall, close to 80 percent of respondents disapproved of the anti-secession legislation's likely so-called legalization of military force as a possible solution to cross-strait differences.

While a high level of opposition to the bill was expected, a look at how the remaining 20 percent responded was indicative of the lack of awareness regarding the anti-secession law. Only 4.5 percent of respondents said they supported the bill; 15 percent indicated that they were unaware of the bill.

In fact, no matter the level of education, age or geographic location, only about half of those polled said they knew that Beijing had taken moves to enact a bill against secession. Only 52.3 percent of those polled said they were aware of the bill. Huang admitted yesterday that the government had to do much more to raise awareness, citing the impact that the bill could have on all sectors.

"This bill will impede cultural and economic exchanges ? if you write `Made in the Republic of China' on a product, that could be in violation of the law," Huang said, pointing out that the bill could affect international investment in Taiwan.

"The sheer existence of the law will have an anticipated effect," Huang said.

While no clear solution was presented, a significantly large number of poll participants indicated that bipartisan differences needed to be put aside in light of the bill.

"Eighty-eight percent of those polled feel there needs to be domestic consensus on the matter, but to some extent, the intent of this bill is to give voice and support to those who support unification with China," said Lin Cheng-yi (林正義), director of the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University.

The poll also indicated that 48.9 percent of respondents felt the bill could pose a threat to the freedom of speech, while 53.7 percent said that the US would dissuade Beijing from enacting the law. The poll was conducted Dec. 28 to 29 and collected a total of 1,070 samples from randomly selected eligible voters in Taiwan.

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