Lawmakers see better ties with Taiwan
National lawmakers and political advisers were vocal in their support for the proposed anti-secession law to rein in "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces but went to great lengths at their panel discussions yesterday to stress the ancestral, economic and cultural ties with Taiwanese compatriots.
They were quick to reassure the people of Taiwan that the use of "non-peaceful means" would be a last resort; and pointed out that the draft law would serve as a guarantee for promoting cross-Straits peace and stability.
"A small group of 'Taiwan independence' forces have been attempting to secede from China through intensified secessionist activities," said Yang Guoqing, an NPC deputy who is a member of the Taiwan delegation, which was strongly in favour of the law.
Yang, born in Taipei, stressed that the proposed law is only aimed at a handful of secessionists, who fear the bill will effectively curb their secessionist push.
Liang Guoyang, a Taiwan-born CPPCC National Committee member and president of the All China Taiwanese Association, said: "The bill is a summary, in legal terms, of our past policies towards Taiwan, which has taken into consideration the will of the Taiwan people. It is only targeted at a small group of secessionists, not the majority of Taiwan compatriots."
Liang Yanjun, a Taiwan-born professor and member of the All China Taiwanese Association, said she was struck by the use of words in the proposed law.
"In particular, using the expression 'non-peaceful means,' rather than the word 'force,' as the last resort to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity, reflects our utmost sincerity in finding a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question.
"Such wording will be more easily accepted by Taiwan compatriots, compared with stronger words."
Wu Lulu, a member of the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese said that "peaceful reunification is not only the wish of Chinese people including Taiwan compatriots but also the common desire of 30 million overseas Chinese."
Wang Ping'an, head of the provincial general contingent of the People's Armed Police Force, and a deputy from Zhejiang Province said: "Taiwan is part of China and as Chinese, we have been dreaming of realizing unification after Hong Kong and Macao returned to the motherland.
"The anti-secession law will make the dream come true. I pledge here that we are well prepared to battle 'Taiwan independence' activities at any time."
Others pointed out the growing importance of economic ties between the mainland and Taiwan, and emphasized that the proposed law would strengthen them.
Han Zheng, mayor of Shanghai, said the city enjoys vibrant economic exchanges with Taiwan. "I hope that the anti-secession law will further promote cross-Straits relations," he said.
At the end of last year, Taiwan business people had invested more than US$12 billion in 5,400 Shanghai-based projects.
Zhong Qiquan, an NPC deputy from Guangdong Province, said the anti-secession law would provide guarantees for healthy economic and trade development across the Taiwan Straits.
Zhong, also deputy director of the Standing Committee of Guangdong Provincial People's Congress, said the province is a popular destination for Taiwan investment with 18,000 companies set up in the province at the end of last year.
Trade volume with Taiwan last year reached US$30.2 billion, accounting for 40 per cent of the mainland's overall trade with the island.
Some feel that academic and cultural exchanges will also get a boost from the law. Xi Meijuan, an NPC deputy, said she has featured in a number of movies with Taiwan counterparts and "I find that they all have a very strong sense of their Chinese identity."
She added: "We have been very happy to hang out with each other and we all know the simple truth is that the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are blood brothers who should not be separated forever."
(China Daily 03/09/2005 page2)