Tie one on

By Bryan • china • 9 Mar 2005

I’ve optimized my Tian Chi photos, but still haven’t added any captions.

There are many things I want to do with this site, (photos, 15 movies, captions, get a proper blog roll started, RSS this baby, update my links, create a entry page, redesign my 2.5 year old template…) but I can honestly say I’m very pressed for time. In addition to my regular duties at Nanjing Normal, I’ve got my fingers in several other potentially lucractive side projects, which are proving to require a larger investment of time that I had previously thought.

Other news…I’ve packed on 5 kilo’s since coming to China, placing me in the 73kg club. I suppose it is all that horse meat…either way, I’m quite pleased with myself…but my jeans are still too big.

I’ve recently discovered that Nanjing Forestry University has a Chinese language program. It started my head gears turning…very fast. Bryan…forestry…China….I mean…come on! Could it be a better fit! We’ll see, I could be fairly sick of this place in a few months…

The top news floating around Asia this past week is the pending approval of the Chinese government’s ‘Anti-sucession law’ regarding Taiwanese independence.

In all of my converstations with local friends and collegues, the “Taiwan issue” only ever came up once and it pretty much amounted to “Taiwan is not a country”.

I don’t feel like I know enough regarding the situation revolving around the bill to comment, so I thought it would be apt to post perspectives from both sides of the Straits.

From Big Red and the People’s Daily:

To accomplish peaceful national reunification is one of the three historic tasks of China, however the “Taiwan independence” forces have been intensified their secessionist activities for Taiwan’s secession from China.

To oppose and check the secessionist activities, promote peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits region, maintain national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguard the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation, the chairpersons’ meeting of the NPC Standing Committee proposed a draft of the Anti-Secession Law, which was unanimously passed at the 13th meeting of the Standing Committee last December, according to Wu.

The draft law is scheduled to be adopted at the ongoing NPC annual session slated for closing on March 14.
Wu said the draft Anti-Secession Law gives full expression to China’s consistent position of doing the utmost with maximum sincerity for a peaceful reunification, demonstrate the common will and strong resolve of the entire Chinese people to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while never allowing the “Taiwan independence” forces to make Taiwan secede from China under any name or by any means.

Even though the words “peaceful and peace” appear five times in the article, the the bill essentially states in law that any move by Taiwan towards independence would result in “non-peaceful” actions.

From Taiwan:

If China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) adopts the “anti-secession” law on March 14, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will lead the people of Taiwan in taking to the streets to voice their opposition to the legislation, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday.

Responding to China’s proposed anti-secession law — portions of which were disclosed yesterday — the DPP denounced that law in unanimity. Su also said that the president will lead a demonstration that will dwarf the protest launched in Hong Kong on July 1, 2003, and will walk the streets to express Taiwan’s outrage against the law if it is passed on Monday.

The information about China’s legislation that was unveiled yesterday morning included the wording that “[China] will take `non-peaceful measures and actions’ if Taiwan does not unify with China or accept the `one-China’ policy,” DPP Deputy Secretary-General Yen Wan-ching (顏萬進) said. Therefore, it is important to correctly interpret the wording of the law and note that the phrase “non-peaceful” that Beijing used could only mean using force to attack Taiwan, Yen said.

The Taiwanese are not pleased.

World reaction and global implications? I’ll leave that up to these guys:

The main Chinese “concession” in response to the Taiwan Legislative Yuan election outcome was to rename the bill. First known as the “unification act” – a title that might imply an aggressive, impatient outlook – it later became anti-secession legislation aimed merely at preserving the status quo. Since US President George W Bush has repeatedly made it clear that the US opposed any unilateral change in the status quo, this new legislation puts Beijing’s “one China” principle squarely in line with Washington’s “one China policy”, it was argued. It also “underscores China’s respect for the rule of law” – another constant Washington admonition. While neither of these arguments will prove particularly convincing to Beijing’s critics, they do represent a growing sophistication (and willingness to play along with the Bush administration’s logic back in Washington).

The counter-arguments – that the legislation will incite and empower Beijing’s critics in Washington and Taipei and could breathe new life into Chen’s presumed “independence agenda” by handing him an excuse for counter legislation or even another referendum – failed to impress Chinese officials. They sent a clear signal about their ambiguous legislation: if you want to make suggestions as to how we can word this legislation more effectively (or make it less inflammatory), we are all ears; if you are trying to talk us out of introducing the new law, “save your breath!” Once we actually saw the legislation – and it would be made public immediately after it was approved by the NPC – we would see that all the furor had been “much ado about nothing”.

When this bill passes it seems that it just confirms what everyone already knew anyway. I see heightened tensions for sure…but no knife fights. Two reasons:

1. Beijing 2008. The Summer Olympics are far, far to important to risk over an ideological battle. 2008 is China’s housewarming party…the whole world is invited to see the renovations. Nobody wants to see a family fight in the backyard.

2. The military situation. Most stuff I’ve read appears to indicated that the balance of power over the Straits of Taiwan is currently slanted in favor of the Taiwanese…however, given the large budget increases of the PLA, it is expected that the balance will shift to Beijing’s favor by 2008-2010.

I suppose the point is that even with the passing of the ‘anti-succession law’ there probably won’t be any fireworks for several years at best…if that is any comfort.

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One Response

  1. Bryan

    argh…sorry Christina…mt-blacklist erased your commnet…I didn’t even get to read it!

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