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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 10:16 GMT
Taiwanese protest at China bill
By Caroline Gluck
BBC News, Taipei

Supporters of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union party sign a petition opposing China's anti-secession law, Monday Feb 28
Protesters signed a petition showing their opposition to China's plans
Taiwanese pro-independence groups have launched a campaign to highlight public opposition to plans by China to introduce an anti-secession law.

Critics say the bill is aimed at blocking Taiwanese independence.

Beijing plans to introduce the bill during the next session of parliament, which opens on Saturday.

The campaign was launched on Taiwan's Peace Memorial Day, which marks a 1947 crackdown by Nationalist troops which left thousands of Taiwanese dead.

The actual contents of the anti-secession bill have not been publicly released, but Taiwanese government officials fear it could provide Beijing with the legal basis for an attack on the island.

They have accused China of unilaterally attempting to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, saying the move could threaten regional stability.

But Beijing says the bill is simply aimed at peaceful unification with Taiwan.

Taiwanese pro-independence groups - including the small political party the Taiwan Solidarity Union, the TSU - are urging thousands of people to sign a petition showing their opposition to China's plans.

The TSU, which has been a key ally of President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party, plans to table a draft anti-annexation law in parliament next month, to counter China's anti-secession law.

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