Wed, Feb 16, 2005 - Page 2 News List

MAC urged to fight secession bill

TAKE ACTION A collection of independence-minded civic groups demanded that the government do more to combat Beijing's proposed anti-secession legislation

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Civic groups and think tanks yesterday appealed to the government to take a more active stance against China's proposed anti-secession law, legislation which is widely regarded to target Taiwan.

With the week-long Lunar New Year holiday drawing to a close, political activists yesterday began efforts to block the imminent passage of anti-secession legislation, with a visit to the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the government agency in charge of the nation's policy toward China.

"Taiwanese people, and especially the government, have remained silent regarding the bill. This will only make it easier for the international community to continue with its policy of appeasement and bolster Beijing's attempts at regional hegemony," the pro-green camp civic groups said in a statement yesterday.

In response, MAC Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that the legislation might be met with a referendum in Taiwan.

"If Beijing's bill clearly stipulates `one country, two systems' or the `one China principle,' it will force the Taiwanese people to conduct a referendum on the matter," Wu said yesterday.

"At this point, the government is working to block this legislation. If China decides to continue in this direction, then the government will consider taking further steps in response to the bill," Wu said.

The Northern Taiwan Society, along with its counterparts from southern, eastern and western Taiwan, the Taiwan Professors Association and the Association of Friends of Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said that the government had not done enough to influence the passage of the anti-secession bill.

The proposed anti-secession bill is slated to be deliberated and passed by China's highest legislative organ, the National People's Congress, early next month. According to Wu, while the specifics of the bill have yet to be revealed, the bill would define and criminalize so-called "separatist activity," establish a separate court of law to hear relevant trials and put legal responsibility on government officials in Taiwan and China.

"Half a century ago, on Feb. 28, an alien regime destroyed the way of life that Taiwanese people had chosen for themselves. Today, China is again attempting to change the Taiwanese people's way of life by force," the pro-green civic groups said in their statement.

Despite accusations that the government has been too passive in its handling of Beijing's anti-secession legislation, the MAC seemed to be in agreement with the civic groups yesterday regarding the possible ramifications of the bill following its ratification and enforcement.

"Although China's proposed anti-separation law is a `domestic law,' Taiwanese businesspeople and students living in China, tourists and even international corporations are expected to be affected by this law. The law also constituted a form of `Red terror'" against the Taiwanese people, the MAC said in a recent position paper detailing its stance on the bill.

The paper, written in English, goes on to warn that the bill could destroy the basis for further exchange and the resumption of dialogue between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Noting that Beijing's failure to make available the text of the bill indicated that the international community's response could have an influence on the bill's content, the council's paper further asked for support in opposing Beijing's move.

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