China Votes To Prevent Taiwanese Independence
The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, ratified the Anti-Secession Law with an overwhelming vote of 2,896 for to none against on Monday, setting up a legal framework to prevent Taiwan's secession from China and to promote peaceful national reunification.
The vote took place at the closing meeting of the NPC’s Third Session in Beijing, and President Hu Jintao signed a presidential order for the law’s immediate promulgation.
The law consists of ten articles covering the legislative purpose and scope of its application, the nature of the Taiwan issue, national reunification through peaceful means, and taking non-peaceful means to stop Taiwan's secession from China by "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces.
There was a storm of applause as the result of the vote was announced, which was broadcast live on national television, radio and major news websites.
"The Anti-Secession Law, adopted with such a high support rate from NPC members, has legalized the policy guideline of central authorities on Taiwan, and given full expression to China's consistent position of doing the utmost with maximum sincerity for peaceful reunification," said Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.
He said the adoption of the law also demonstrated the "common will and strong resolve" of the entire Chinese people to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity and never to allow "Taiwan independence" forces to make the province secede from China under any name or by any means.
"The promulgation and implementation of the law will have a major practical and far-reaching historical impact on the development of cross-Straits relations, peaceful reunification of the motherland, and opposing and checking Taiwan's secession," Wu said.
It is also important for China's efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, as well as the fundamental interests of the nation, he said.
China has said the law is by no means a "law on the use of force against Taiwan" or a "war mobilization order." China would only use "non-peaceful means" to stop Taiwan's secession should all efforts for peaceful reunification prove futile, Wang Zhaoguo, vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, told deputies last week.
The Taiwan issue is one left over from China's civil war of the late 1940s. China has said that resolution of the Taiwan issue and complete reunification is one of the three historic tasks of the Communist Party of China and the country.
Over the years, China has made great efforts in a hope to develop closer relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and promote peaceful reunification of the motherland.
However, the Taiwan authorities have intensified their "Taiwan independence" activities aimed at making Taiwan secede from China. The activities of the "Taiwan independence" forces pose a "grave" threat to China's sovereign and territorial integrity.
China has said resolving the Taiwan issue is entirely an internal affair, which is "subject to no interference by any outside forces."
Beijing has rejected the recent remarks by the US, which described the law as "unhelpful" towards relations across the Taiwan Straits.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kong Quan last week called the US’ remarks "irresponsible" and said China "demands" that the US abide by norms governing international relations, understand and support China's law-making actions and not do anything that will "foster 'Taiwan independence' secessionist activities" and harm China-US relations.
"The US should safeguard peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits region and the healthy development of China-US relations through actual practice," Kong said.
Some residents in Taiwan interviewed by Xinhua called the law "mild and rational" and hoped the law could "promote the development of cross-Straits relations by legal means."
"I think this law will help create new opportunities for the development of cross-Straits relations," said Chen Yuchun, director of the Graduate School of American Studies at the Taiwan-based Chinese Culture University.
On learning the major points of the Anti-Secession Law, Jyh-huei Her, chairman of the Taiwan-based Cross-Strait Economic & Trade Association, said the proposed law embodies the "goodwill of the mainland."
Full Text of Anti-Secession Law
The following is the full text of the Anti-Secession Law adopted at the Third Session of the Tenth National People's Congress in Beijing Monday:
(Adopted at the Third Session of the Tenth National People's Congress on March 14, 2005)
Article 1 This Law is formulated, in accordance with the Constitution, for the purpose of opposing and checking Taiwan's secession from China by secessionists in the name of "Taiwan independence", promoting peaceful national reunification, maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, preserving China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation.
Article 2 There is only one China in the world. Both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division. Safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity is the common obligation of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.
Taiwan is part of China. The state shall never allow the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces to make Taiwan secede from China under any name or by any means.
Article 3 The Taiwan question is one that is left over from China's civil war of the late 1940s.
Solving the Taiwan question and achieving national reunification is China's internal affair, which subjects to no interference by any outside forces.
Article 4 Accomplishing the great task of reunifying the motherland is the sacred duty of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.
Article 5 Upholding the principle of one China is the basis of peaceful reunification of the country.
To reunify the country through peaceful means best serves the fundamental interests of the compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. The state shall do its utmost with maximum sincerity to achieve a peaceful reunification.
After the country is reunified peacefully, Taiwan may practice systems different from those on the mainland and enjoy a high degree of autonomy.
Article 6 The state shall take the following measures to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and promote cross-Straits relations:
(1) to encourage and facilitate personnel exchanges across the Straits for greater mutual understanding and mutual trust;
(2) to encourage and facilitate economic exchanges and cooperation, realize direct links of trade, mail and air and shipping services, and bring about closer economic ties between the two sides of the Straits to their mutual benefit;
(3) to encourage and facilitate cross-Straits exchanges in education, science, technology, culture, health and sports, and work together to carry forward the proud Chinese cultural traditions;
(4) to encourage and facilitate cross-Straits cooperation in combating crimes; and
(5) to encourage and facilitate other activities that are conducive to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and stronger cross-Straits relations.
The state protects the rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots in accordance with law.
Article 7 The state stands for the achievement of peaceful reunification through consultations and negotiations on an equal footing between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. These consultations and negotiations may be conducted in steps and phases and with flexible and varied modalities.
The two sides of the Taiwan Straits may consult and negotiate on the following matters:
(1) officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides;
(2) mapping out the development of cross-Straits relations;
(3) steps and arrangements for peaceful national reunification;
(4) the political status of the Taiwan authorities;
(5) the Taiwan region's room of international operation that is compatible with its status; and
(6) other matters concerning the achievement of peaceful national reunification.
Article 8 In the event that the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China should occur, or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The State Council and the Central Military Commission shall decide on and execute the non-peaceful means and other necessary measures as provided for in the preceding paragraph and shall promptly report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Article 9 In the event of employing and executing non-peaceful means and other necessary measures as provided for in this Law, the state shall exert its utmost to protect the lives, property and other legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan civilians and foreign nationals in Taiwan, and to minimize losses. At the same time, the state shall protect the rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots in other parts of China in accordance with law.
Article 10 This Law shall come into force on the day of its promulgation.