The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday vowed to launch a signature drive tomorrow, urging President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to initiate a defensive referendum to counter China's "anti-secession" law.
"We thought the time was ripe for Chen to mount a defensive referendum, as China's National People's Congress is scheduled to pass the legislation [tomorrow]," said TSU Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強).
"However, we recognize the dilemma the president faces as the head of state," he said.
"Therefore, we will launch a signature drive to petition the president to mount a defensive referendum," Shu added.
According to the Referendum Law (公投法), the head of state can initiate a so-called "defensive referendum" once the country faces an external threat to its security and sovereignty through a resolution in the Executive Yuan.
Shu made the remark yesterday morning during a discussion forum held by the Taiwan New Century Foundation.
In addition to urging the president to call for a defensive referendum, Shu called on the pan-blue opposition parties to support the proposed arms procurement plan.
"If the arms budget fails to pass in the legislature, it is bound to lead Beijing to believe that we are a politically divided country, and the US to think that we are reluctant to protect ourselves," Shu said. "If Taiwan is not a united country, I am afraid there won't be any future for us."
Shu also urged the public to understand that Beijing, and not Taiwan, is the troublemaker in the Taiwan Strait.
"While China characterizes Taiwan's national title rectification and constitutional reform plans as means to change the status quo, it is in fact China's military intimidation that threatens the status quo," he said.
If we do as the pan-blue alliance or the US government says to restrain ourselves from provoking China for the sake of cross-strait harmony, it is tantamount to admitting defeat, Shu said.
"I hope the US and Japanese governments adopt more concrete measures, such as imposing sanctions on China in the face of its bullying behavior," Shu said.
Chen Lung-chu (陳隆志), president and CEO of the foundation and an international law professor at the New York Law School, said that China is challenging international laws and UN agreements by enacting the "anti-secession" law.
Since China is a member of the UN, Chen Lung-chu called on Beijing to respect international law and prevent the enactment of the law before it is too late.
"If [Beijing] refuses to do so, it will have to face the consequences of violating international law and tantamount to committing war crimes and sabotaging world peace, just as former German dictator Adolf Hitler did," Chen Lung-chu said.
Chen Lung-chu yesterday also lambasted the government's further opening up cross-strait business ties, including direct charter flight services.
"Since China is our enemy, it is extremely odd to me that Taiwanese businesspeople are oblivious to national security and invest a massive amount of capital in China," he said.
Only when China agrees to adopt peaceful means to solve the cross-strait disputes and treats Taiwan on an equal footing can we expect the establishment of normal interaction between both sides, he added.
Echoing Chen Lung-chu's opinion, Li Ming-juinn (李明峻), a researcher at the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University, said that it is equally important for the government to abolish existing laws advocating unification, in addition to making our voices heard in the international community.
"Geography textbooks cover the 36 provinces of China and the Presidential Office's Web site includes Mongolia in the nation's official map. I am afraid the government doesn't have much ground to criticize China for advocating unification," Li said.
Li was referring to Article 2 of the National Security Law (國家安全法) and Civic Society Law (人民團體法), which stipulate that people gathering or forming associations cannot advocate such ideas as communism or the separation of the nation's territory.
Article 1 of the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) also specifies that the legislation is codified to safeguard the security and welfare in the people of Taiwan "before the nation is unified."
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