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Oppose Secession, Defend the Constitution
March 17, 2005
Executive Summary: The newly authored "Anti-Secession Law" is aptly named. It is more semantically precise than "Unification Act," which is what it was going to be called before Chinese citizens on Taiwan intervened. On December 10, 2004, citizens of the Republic of China gave the pro-reunification, or more precisely anti-secession Pan Blue parties a decisive majority in the Republic of China legislature. The Anti-Secession Law, consequently, is the co-creation of 1.3 billion Chinese citizens on the mainland and 23 million Chinese citizens on Taiwan. The Anti-Secesssion Law upholds the Republic of China Constitution. The Anti-Secession Law is consistent with the 1992 Consensus of "One [unified] China, Two Interpretations." Patriotic citizens of the Republic of China have no reason to oppose this law, and every reason to support it.
Taiwan Reaction vs. World Reaction
The reaction of Pan Green demagogues, predictably, has been hysteria and hyperbole. The reaction of the Benevolent Global Hegemon, predictably, has been sanctimony and hypocrisy. The reaction of too many Pan Blue political leaders, meanwhile, has been spineless "me too-ism" in the face of Hoklo fascist intimidation.
The official reaction of Singapore, by contrast, has been calm and reasonable.
"Singapore understands the reason for China wanting to enact this law at this point in time. From the briefing given by National People's Congress Standing Committee Deputy Chairman Wang Zhaoguo, it would appear that the law restates China's known position against Taiwan independence with a strong emphasis on peaceful resolution."
Official reactions from Europe, from Latin America, from Asia, even Australia, Uncle Sammy's erstwhile "Deputy Sheriff" in the Asian region, have been similar to Singapore's.
The Anti-Secession Law maintains, not changes the Status Quo
In "Much ado about China's anti-secession law" Ralph A Cossa of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum correctly notes that:
The legislation... had its genesis in Chen's surprise re-election in March 2004 and received added impetus last fall when Beijing's experts... not to mention President Chen himself -- were predicting victory for the ruling... "pan-green"... coalition in the December 2004 Legislative Yuan elections. By the time the outcome presented a more pleasant surprise... the legislation had already gained too much momentum to be abandoned... The main [mainland] Chinese "concession" in response to the [ROC] 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. [emphasis added]
In short, the Anti-Secession Law aims merely at preserving the status quo in the Taiwan Straits.
How is that a bad thing?
The Anti-Secession Law defends the Republic of China and the Republic of China Constitution
In "Anti-secession law aims to keep status quo" Frank Ching of Taiwan's English language China Post concurs:
The new legislation says its purpose is to oppose and check "Taiwan's secession from China" -- rather than the People's Republic of China, since Taiwan has never been governed by Beijing. It also says that "both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China", a formulation first used by the Kuomintang Government.
Why did Beijing adopt this law?
Beijing wants to prevent Taiwan from dropping the name "Republic of China" and from changing its constitution, which Chen had been threatening to do. [emphasis added] President Hu, in a speech earlier this month, pointed out that "the existing regulations and documents in Taiwan" also support a "One China" principle... Beijing does not want to see these laws and regulations changed... even the additional articles in the constitution adopted in 1991 under President Lee assume that Taiwan will eventually be reunified with mainland China... [They also assume] that the territory of the Republic of China includes both the mainland and Taiwan, although only Taiwan belongs to the "free area" of the republic.
Ironically, [the Republic of China's] current laws also do not allow secession. The National Security Law of [the Republic of China] promulgated in 1987, says that public demonstrations "must not violate the constitution, advocate communism or the division of the national territory." Beijing is fearful that, left unchecked, all these references to Taiwan and the mainland being one country will be excised... the Anti-Secession Law is an attempt to preserve the status quo against further change by pro-independence forces on Taiwan.
In short, the Anti-Secession Law aims merely to prevent Taiwan secessionists from overthrowing the Republic of China and replacing the Republic of China Constitution.
Again, how exactly is that a bad thing?
Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way
To sum up, the purpose of the Anti-Secession Law is to prevent Taiwan secession, to prevent the Republic of China from being replaced by a Republic of Taiwan, and to prevent the Republic of China Constitution from being replaced by a Republic of Taiwan Constitution.
What possible justification can Pan Blue defenders of the Republic of China have for opposing it?
Even after the post Presidential Election protests of March 2004, Pan Blue political leaders still don't understand who their supporters are. Even after the surprise Legislative Yuan victory of December 2004, Pan Blue political leaders still don't understand what their supporters expect of them.
Pan Blue political leaders still don't understand that their supporters are people who are proud to call themselves "Chinese." Pan Blue political leaders still don't understand that their supporters expect them to defend the Chinese nation, not apologize for it to Taiwan independence Quislings.
According to the Republic of China Constitution, the nine and a half million square kilometer area of the mainland is Republic of China territory. According to the Republic of China Constitution, the 1.3 billion inhabitants of the mainland are Republic of China citizens. If Pan Blue political leaders on Taiwan are not up to the job of defending the Republic of China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity, what right to they have to object to fellow citizens on the mainland doing their job for them?
As the old expression in the US military has it: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."
As a radical libertarian "market anarchist," I champion the right of "universal secession." In other words, I maintain that secession is either a right for everyone, or it's right for no one. It can't be a right for some and not a right for others. Advocates of Taiwan independence, Tibetan independence, and Xinjiang independence demand secession for themselves, but deny secession for others. By behaving in this manner, they forfeit the moral right to demand secession for themselves.
For articles touching on this subject, see:
Independence for Me but not for Thee
Rebuttal to a Taiwan Independence Fellow Traveler