Anti-Secession Law - Content

Content

The Law is composed of ten articles. Articles one to five are aspirational. Articles six to nine set out in general terms the procedures for promoting cross-strait relations, negotiation, and resolution of the issue. Article ten sets the date of operation.

Article one states that the aim of the law is to stop the Taiwan independence movement from splitting the country, and promote reunification. Stabilizing the Taiwan Straits area, protecting the interests of the Zhonghua Minzu are also purposes of the law.

Articles two to four outline the PRC government's view of the present political status of Taiwan. This view is that mainland China and Taiwan belong to one China and that there is only one China and that the sovereignty of that one China is indivisible; the "Taiwan issue" is a residual problem of the Chinese civil war and is an internal affair of China.

Article five maintains that the one China principle is the basis for resolution of the issue, and that the State must seek all possibilities of peaceful reunification. The same section also states that, following peaceful reunification, Taiwan will enjoy a high level of autonomy and operate under a system different to mainland China. Although this would appear to be similar to the "one country, two systems" scheme, highly unpopular in Taiwan, it is not so named.

Article six deals with cross-strait relations. It states that in order to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan straits and to foster cross-strait relations, the State should (1) encourage people-to-people contact to foster closer relations and understanding (2) encourage cross strait economic exchanges (3) encourage scientific and cultural exchanges (4) joint efforts to fight crime and (5) encourage efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan straits.

Article seven deals with cross-strait negotiation. It states that the State shall support negotiations and consultations on both sides of the straits with equal status, with different modalities, and in differing stages. The topics of such talks can include (1) ending the states of hostilities across the straits (2) developing rules for cross strait relations (3) the means of promoting unification (4) the political status of the Taiwanese authorities, (5) appropriate means by which Taiwan can participate in international organizations, and (6) any other issues relating to unification. There are several notable aspects of this article. First, this is the first time that the PRC has officially spoken of talks between the mainland China and Taiwan occurring in terms of equal status. Second, the condition that Taiwan accept any form of the one China principle is not explicitly mentioned in the text, and the statement that talks can occur in different modalities and in differing stages suggests that Beijing is willing to start at least informal talks without requiring a one China commitment.

Article eight deals with non-peaceful action, and is the article which has caused the most controversy and attention. It states that the State shall use non-peaceful and other necessary means under these alternative conditions: (1) if "Taiwan independence" forces, under whatever name and method, accomplish the fact of Taiwan's separation from China, (2) or if a major event occurs which would lead to Taiwan's separation from China, (3) or if all possibility of peaceful unification is lost.

Article nine states that, in the planning and implementation of "non-peaceful and other necessary actions", the State must as much as possible act to protect the persons and property of Taiwanese civilians and foreigners in Taiwan, and to minimise their losses. The State must also protect Taiwanese interests in the PRC.

Under Article 18 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong and similar measures in the Basic Law of Macau, the NPCSC must explicitly designate a law as having force in Hong Kong or Macau for it to be operative there. No such designation was made for this law, which is consistent with statement in the state press that this law would not be directed at Hong Kong or Macau.

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