Tue, Mar 01, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Remember 228: Pro-independence groups urge cross-strait funds freeze

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pro-independence groups yesterday called on the government to halt financial investment in China if Beijing decides to continue with its proposed "anti-secession" law, a bill believed to target Taiwan.

In a joint statement marking the 228 Incident, several civic and political pressure groups said the bill amounted to an aggressive provocation to the Taiwanese people.

The Taiwan Professors Association, the Northern Taiwan Society and members of the Lee Teng-hui School were among those signing yesterday's statement.

The "anti-secession" law runs counter to the principles of democracy and freedom, and it obliterates Taiwanese people's right to choose their own future, the statement said.

It went on to posit the bill as a direct threat to the safety of the scores of Taiwanese businesspeople, or taishang, working and living in China.

It is estimated that over 1 million Taiwanese businesspeople are currently doing business across the Taiwan Strait.

While Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) has said that the government plans to take a wait-and-see attitude regarding Beijing's legislation, political organizations yesterday urged officials to act more assertively on the matter.

The statement called on the government to recall from ministries and councils any resources allocated for the promotion of cross-strait exchanges as soon as the bill is passed.

In addition, the statement urged that the government temporarily halt authorization of all cross-strait activities, including investment, visa and visitation rights applications.

While the bill has caused a high level of concern in Taiwan, reports from Hong Kong indicate that it is no more than a page and a half long and draws primarily on previously issued policy on Taiwan, such as former Chinese President Jiang Zemin's (江澤民) Eight Points.

It is also expected that the bill will sketch the basis for the use of non-peaceful means to resolve the cross-strait stalemate. It is slated to be reviewed on March 8 by China's top legislative organ, the National People's Congress (NPC).

In the days leading up to the NPC's deliberation of the bill, pro-independence groups have been making increasing efforts to be heard, arranging to meet with relevant government agencies such as the Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In addition, the Taiwan Solidarity Union has already unveiled a draft of its anti-annexation law which is intended to counter Beijing's legislation.

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