Mainland officials and scholars said yesterday that Taiwan leader Chen
Shui-bian's stepped-up efforts to push for the island's formal "independence"
would lead to cross-Straits tensions.
They said this year would be a crucial year for curbing secessionist
activities because Beijing is preparing to host the 2008 Olympic Games.
"Cross-Straits ties face grave challenges because the Taiwan authorities are
substantially pursuing de jure 'independence' through 'constitutional' change
this year," said Xu Shiquan, vice-chairman of National Society of Taiwan
Li Jiaquan, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
also warned Chen against attempting to promote "Taiwan independence".
"We should stay alert for any secessionist moves from Chen this year aimed at
undermining cross-Straits ties," he said.
scholars made these remarks yesterday at a seminar to mark the 12th anniversary
of former President Jiang Zemin's eight-point proposal for developing
Jiang's 1995 proposals drew a path to the ultimate goal of peaceful
reunification across the Taiwan Straits, and promised that everything can be
negotiated under a "one-China" premise.
Zhou Tienong, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said Chen might make every effort to
pursue "constitutional independence" before he leaves office next year.
Such efforts appear to have begun already. Local media reported yesterday
that Taiwan had revised its high-school history textbooks to suggest that the
island is not part of China.
The China Times said the island's "education ministry" had requested the
phrase "national history" be changed to "China history" when referring to the
mainland in a local high school textbook to be used in March.
Phrases like "our country", "this country" and "the mainland" have been
changed to "China", indicating that Taiwan considers itself to be independent
from the mainland, the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, a new draft of the revised "Taiwan constitution" was released over
the weekend, stating the island is a "free and democratic country".
Scholars said the basic policy of "peaceful reunification" should be adhered
to, but the bottom line for the worst-case scenario was also consistent: The use
of force could be the last resort in case of any foreign interference or plots
for an "independent" Taiwan.
Despite political tension across the Straits, bilateral economic and
personnel exchanges have become stronger.
Official figures show that the indirect cross-Straits trade volume last year
posted a year-on-year increase of 18.2 percent to $107.8 billion. The number of
people crossing the Straits reached 4.6 million, 7.7 percent more than the
(China Daily 01/30/2007 page3)