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Premier: Taiwan legislation to be studied
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-12 08:38

The Chinese Government will consider legislative steps to fight extreme pro-independence moves by Taiwan's separatist forces, Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted as saying in London.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao talks about national reunification at a press conference in this March 14 file photo. [newsphoto]
Wen told a group of overseas Chinese living in the United Kingdom on Monday that Beijing will "seriously consider" a proposal to introduce legislation mandating eventual reunification between the mainland and Taiwan, China News Service (CNS) reported on Tuesday.

The premier made the comment when meeting the group at the Chinese Embassy in London during his three-day visit to Britain.

At the meeting, 76-year-old Shan Sheng, president of the council for promotion of national reunification of China in the UK, proposed that China's legislature should draft and adopt a reunification law to prevent Taiwan from edging towards independence.

"Given the desperate push for Taiwan independence by separatist forces, it is pressing for the country to enact a reunification law," Shan was quoted as saying.

"The legislative move may play a role in deterring pro-independence members and also serve as a way of striving for a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question."

In response to the proposal, Wen reportedly said, "your view on reunification of the motherland is very important, very important. We will seriously consider it."

The premier earlier told the Chinese Embassy staff in London that reunification of the motherland "is more important than our lives," according to the CNS report.

Researchers on Taiwan studies said Wen's overture has indicated that the top Chinese leadership is paying paramount attention to legislative measures in a bid to effectively curb Taiwan's pro-independence push.

The change came against the background that separatist forces led by Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian are seeking de jure independence by plotting to draft a new "constitution" in 2006 and enact it in 2008.

Li Ganliu, vice-chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang, or Minge, has told China Daily that some members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, China's top political advisory body, have long been calling for the promulgation of an anti-separatism law.

The first such proposal was put forward as early as 2000 but handled in a low-profile way by related departments due to its sensitivity, Li disclosed.

He quoted the proposal as saying that sovereignty and territorial integrity should be protected and die-hard members engaging in extreme separatist activities should be punished by law.

At a regular news conference on October 31, 2001, Zhang Mingqing, spokesman with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council for the first time publicly called the promotion of Taiwan separatism a crime.

The Chinese Government will resort to any measures, including the use of force, to crack down on the crime of Taiwan independence and other means of splitting the motherland so as to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Zhang said.

In another development, Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) has claimed the recount of the hotly disputed March "presidential" election has revealed irregularities.

The recount of the 13 million ballots cast, which began on Monday, was expected to take 10 days.

Officials aren't providing a daily tally, but did say a total of 2.33 million ballots were recounted on Monday, according to Taiwan media.

Of those ballots, more than 6,000 were being disputed, lawyers from the KMT and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) reportedly said.

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