Fri, Mar 11, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan's envoy to the UK blames `one China' idea

CROSS-STRAIT CRISIS What was spurring the current row between China and Taiwan was Beijing's inflexibility and intransigence, Lin said


The crisis in the Taiwan Strait lies in Beijing's insistence on its "`one China' principle," Taiwan's representative to Britain said yesterday.

Edgar Lin (林俊義) made the remarks when BBC News 24 asked him to comment on the threat to Taiwan posed by Beijing's proposed "anti-secession" law which authorizes the "use of non-peaceful means" against Taiwan in certain situations.

The National People's Congress (NPC), China's rubber stamp parliament, is expected to enact the law before its annual session ends Monday.

Lin said that Taiwan has been a sovereign, independent country for the past five decades and is not part of the People's Republic of China.

The crisis in the Taiwan Strait lies in Beijing's insistence on its "`one China' principle," Lin said, noting that in fact, other countries have only acknowledged the "`one China' policy."

The principle and policy are two different things, Lin explained, noting that a principle cannot change, while policy, which is the decision made by a certain body, can be altered through negotiations. He added that this is the reason why Taiwan keeps urging China to engage in negotiations.

The representative stressed that Taiwan hopes to live with China peacefully because after all, Taiwan is in a disadvantageous position when under military threat from China.

He said that in addition to deploying more than 800 missiles along its coastal provinces within striking distance of Taiwan, Beijing has also relentlessly squeezed Taiwan's maneuvering space internationally.

The proposed anti-secession law is in fact an attempt by Beijing to create an excuse to annex Taiwan, Lin claimed.

Meanwhile, an Amnesty International representative who was interviewed during the same program said that 16 years after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, China's human rights record has yet to improve. He said that many who were detained before the bloody crackdown have still not been released.

Recently, a great number of people in China have been detained for pushing for more human rights, he said, adding that some have even been arrested simply for visiting Web sites advocating more human rights.

The representative from the international human rights group also said that China executes 100,000 people a year, more than the number of people executed in all other countries combined.

Chinese authorities have not relaxed their suppression of political and religious groups, he continued, adding that Amnesty International has not see any signs of improvement in China's human rights record.

He added that if the EU lifts its arms embargo against China, which it has been considering for the last several months, it will send the wrong message to human rights activists in China.

Lin agreed with the Amnesty International representative's remarks on China's human rights record.

However, he added that the international community has focused on political suppression, saying that this is only "a drop in the bucket" of Beijing's human rights violations.

He added that in looking at China's human rights record, attention should also be paid to its economic exploitation of women, children and minority groups.

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