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Unification could herald a criminal China's rise
Paul Lin

Although President Chen Shui-bian struck a conciliatory note in his inauguration speech, it seems China will not accept this renewed show of goodwill. Most Chinese academics and experts denounced the speech in strong language and China's Taiwan Affairs Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made their position clear, saying Chen's refusal to accept the "one China" principle and his stubborn insistence on independence remains essentially unchanged. China will not be satisfied until Taiwan gives up and accepts the "one China" principle. But by appearing weak, Taiwan could cause China to become increasingly overbearing. Such is the nature of rogue states, something the US has to recognize as it interacts with China.

China has recently been threatening the people of Hong Kong, and thus, indirectly, also the people of Taiwan, by saying it will write a unification law. The people of Hong Kong believe China is trying to create this law as a substitute for the withdrawn anti-subversion legislation based on Article 23 of Hong Kong's Basic Law. Even experts close to Beijing believe the unification law is tougher than the legislation that has been withdrawn.

On May 15, Zhu Yucheng, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Research Institute at the State Council Development Research Center, said that some people in Hong Kong were denouncing the central government's direction of local political development. He said they were doing so in the name of democracy, while they are in fact trying to turn Hong Kong into an independent or semi-independent political entity.

During his recent visit to Europe, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that China may write a unification law. Co-opted academics and mouthpieces of officialdom in China, as well as China-friendly overseas media, have used this as an opportunity to threaten Taiwan.

The creation of the law is apparently at the research stage, but suggestions have been made that it apply to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan after its promulgation. When a Hong Kong journalist asked whether the law would apply to Hong Kong, the reply was that it would apply to "anyone." The same official also said: "We have received suggestions from our citizens that we should issue arrest warrants for separatists, and even more radical suggestions are included in the bill. This will in the end naturally be given detailed consideration by the legislative authorities."

This shook the gathered journalists, because the official did not explain what those suggestions entailed. However, we can guess at what these radical methods might be if we look at the three Hong Kong radio hosts who have recently broken their contracts because they or their families have received threats, and then look at the criminal elements participating in the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) and the People First Party's (PFP) protests.

These criminals have an alliance in Guangzhou aimed at opposing Taiwanese independence and pursuing the "truth" in the March 19 shooting of Chen and Vice President Annette Lu. It is now calling for the participation of Taiwanese gangsters in Taiwan and China. Its leader was even involved in the KMT's assassination of Henry Liu in Daly City, California, in 1984. With China issuing arrest warrants extending outside China's borders, the lives and safety of overseas Chinese are also being threatened.

China's socialism has been called a "criminal socialism," referring to its glorification of violence and its innate hooliganism. Wouldn't the employment of criminal gangs to achieve unification turn a unified China into an all-out criminal society?

Paul Lin is a commentator based in New York.

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