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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 18:21 GMT
Is China's new law a provocation to Taiwan?
Beijing's Great Hall of the People
Taiwan has condemned a new Chinese law which would allow Beijing to use military force against the island if it moves towards declaring independence.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the law, which was passed by the National People's Congress on Monday, aims at improving relations with Taiwan.

However, Taiwan has called the move "serious provocation", and the law has also been criticised by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In a special edition of Talking Point, we put your questions to Lei Xiong, Director of the Chinese News Agency and Professor Xiguang Li of Tshinghua University, Beijing.

What do you think of the anti-secession law? How will it affect relations between China and Taiwan?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Jim Evans, Brighton, UK
Has China laid the foundations for what could well be a war in the Far East?

Taiwan is an independent country. We have our own people, land, government and sovereignty. China threats Taiwan and wants to take Taiwan. Obviously by extreme nationalism China wants not only wants Taiwan, but the whole world. Now Taiwan is the victim, but you may be the next.
Tiziana Chen, Taipei, Taiwan

"The silence from the coalition of the willing is deafening" according to one respondent. Yet in this very article, the US government, including Secretary Rice criticized Beijing for this power move. Likewise, the US military has remained committed to aiding Taiwan, providing new technology, weapons, training, and financial aid. Deafening huh?
Erik, Richmond, Virginia, USA

The whole World is a chess game between China and the United States
Kulbir S. Shergill, Calgary, Canada
After swallowing Tibet and Hong Kong, Taiwan is the next. No one will come across to save the Taiwan from China. Not even the United States. Now the whole World is a chess game between China and the United States. China is scoring more efficiently and more easily than the United States.
Kulbir S. Shergill, Calgary, Canada

If China provokes Taiwan, it can be a great danger to South Korea and Japan and US. Besides after China got Taiwan, it's influence against North East Asia including the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Islands will be bigger than expected.
Kim Min-choel, Pyungchon, South Korea

Why would someone give up freedom and democracy to become Chinese? Taiwanese have fought for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to vote. Why would they give up all that so they can become part of China?
Carrie Han, Los Angeles, USA

If somebody hold a gun to your head, and tells you to hand over all your possession, would you call that a "provocation"?
Ming-Chung Chen, Chicago, USA

It seems mainland China doesn't know there are human beings living in Taiwan. The sovereignty just wanted to play god to direct the way for "puppet Taiwanese". If the rest of the world didn't recognize Taiwanese as individual people, it would not be strange for the world to think Taiwanese would need mainland China's new law to guide their future. Is China's new law a provocation to Taiwan? Are Taiwanese human beings?
Josephine, Taipei, Taiwan

It is time for both sides to calm down and have rational dialogue to resolve differences
B Wang, San Diego, California, USA
I am from Taiwan but I do not support Taiwan independence. The passage of anti-secession law is a stupid way of stating mainland China's objective to reunify Taiwan. This is a measure that can be interpreted and manipulated by those who favour Taiwan independence. Many people believe Taiwan should have the rights for "self-determination"; in theory this is true, but in practice this is difficult. Does the UK want Scotland to go independent? Does Canada want Quebec to be independent? What about Guam and Hawaii to declare independence from the United States? "Self determination" is often limited by political reality.

The (pro-independence) ruling party in Taiwan in the past 5 years have done many things to promote (or almost brain wash) hostility toward mainland China. I don't support the Communist regime but it is also not appropriate to rid of yourself of anything that is remotely China related. It is time for both sides to calm down and have rational dialogue to resolve differences. The passage of this law is simply the behaviour of "an eye for an eye" between two sides of the Taiwan strait.
B Wang, San Diego, California, USA

Of course China is trying to provoke Taiwan. It is amazing the number of people here who are quick to condemn the people of Taiwan to communist tyranny. Each side should give something. Taiwan, give us a unified China. China, give this unified nation democracy, but of course you won't, will you?
Christopher William Whybrow, Baguio City, Philippines

If China can claim Taiwan based on history, language and culture, then Portugal can "take back" Brazil
Scott Cogburn, Taipei, Taiwan
Yes, it's a provocation. The world is all for human rights and self-determination - except in this case. The PRC has never controlled Taiwan, except in their dreams. Why is it assumed that the PRC has a right to all of the territory claimed by the previous empire? The last emperor was gone 33 years before the PRC was founded. If China can claim Taiwan based on history, language and culture, then Portugal can "take back" Brazil, and England can take back Massachusetts.
Scott Cogburn, Taipei, Taiwan

I believe that the passing of this law is correct. As a Taiwanese, I believe that it's about time for us to be re-incorporated back into the mainland. It is, after all, where virtually all of our ancestors came from. There is no point for Taiwan to be independent. Taiwan, populated by people of Chinese descent, was a part of the mainland, so it should once again become a part of the mainland.
David, Cape Town, South Africa

I'd like to point out that China did not surrender its claims to Taiwan. It was forced to hand over Taiwan due to its weakness during the age of imperialism by the West and Japan. Like Korea, Taiwan became a colony of Japan and was returned to their rightful owners after World War II... The anti-secession law just asserts that the Chinese people will not allow the disintegration of the motherland.
Peter, London, UK

The law is definitely not a provocation. It is merely a necessity for Taiwan not to do anything stupid.
Chatty Ranaweera, Cambridge, England

This anti-secession law is a compromise to Taiwan. It doesn't claim that the People's Republic of China is the only legal government in China. I am surprised it was passed in the parliament. Shame on those so-called people's representatives. They can't represent Chinese people... I think this law is against the charter and should be redrafted to demonstrate that the People's Republic of China is the only legal government of China.
Sam, Canada

There need to be a general consensus among both nations' population, like in the case of East and West Germany
Verhoeff, Singapore

It's very simple. Both Taiwan and PRC are independent nations. That's right, Taiwan is an independent nation no matter what Chinese people dare to claim. They have their own government, army, etc. In order for two independent nations to merge together, there need to be a general consensus among both nations' population, like in the case of East and West Germany.
Verhoeff, Singapore

Although the anti-secession law would allow Beijing to use military force against Taiwan, if it moves towards declaring independence, we don't need to think it a provocation to Taiwan. This is the time that we should do all our efforts to upgrade this island's competitive power in economy, not waste our time dealing with this kind of political disputes with no consensus at all.
James Lee, Taipei, Taiwan

This law is the biggest mistake for communist China, because Taiwan has been a self-ruled democracy for over 50 years, so it means that Taiwan is a country. The Taiwanese government has brought freedom and financial prosperity to all Taiwanese, and if the Chinese try to take it away from us, we are ready to fight to protect our freedom.
Andrew, Taiwan

China's attitude towards Taiwan's legitimate aspirations of independence reminds me of some of the nastier incidents at the end of the colonial era, or Britain's imperial view of "their" American or Indian colonies. China is acting like a classic imperialist bully. Ironic behaviour from an allegedly communist state.
Neil, Taipei, Taiwan

One China is the fact accepted by the international society. The majority of the world, for example US, UK, Germany, France, Russia, in fact all the countries we normal people know, think that One China is PRC, and the other countries think that is Republic of China. The Anti-secession law is to make it clear that the fate of Taiwan should be determined by all Chinese, no matter if he or she is in mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, don't let more ambiguity about this.
Jon, Shanghai, PRC

Yes, China's new law is a deadly provocation to Taiwan. China pokes its nose is all its neighbour's activities. Taiwan is a free state and China should not bother with it. China wants to engulf all the small states that surround it. If today it captures Taiwan, then tomorrow it would be Laos' turn, the day-after-tomorrow Vietnam would be assimilated into China and likewise the full Southeast Asia. China can never be satisfied with its borders.
Sp Al Meyyappan, Kuala Lumpur

This new anti-independence law should not be seen as China provocation to Taiwan. Taiwan is a part of China and should stay as a Chinese province.
Najmi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I think the new law is necessary and clarifies the stand of mainland China. In the last few years the Taiwan government has encouraged independent movement and put obstacles in the relationship between the movements of people of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. The leaders of Taiwan are playing dangerous games. The situation of Taiwan is a legacy of the cold war. If the US had not intervened China would have been unified long time ago.
Taxiangren, Canberra, Australia

China surrendered any claims it had to Taiwan over a hundred years ago when it ceded the island to Japan
Patrick Cowsill, Taipei, Taiwan
The PRC's anti-secession law is irrelevant to Taiwan. China surrendered any claims it had to Taiwan over a hundred years ago when it ceded the island to Japan. Whether or not Taiwan claims independence is equally irrelevant. The country simply became so when Japanese forces retreated following World War II. China's recent bluster seems to have backfired, as it has first involved Japan, second reminded people of the American Taiwan Act (which states that the US will defend Taiwan if attacked) and finally rallied many Taiwanese against the idea of reunification.
Patrick Cowsill, Taipei, Taiwan

Never can it be forgotten that Taiwan does not only belong to the Taiwanese, but also belongs to the Chinese. Taiwanese have the right on the future of the island, so do all the Chinese
Liangzhou, Oslo, Norway

Yes! China is trying to provoke not only Taiwan but also the US and Japan. China is trying to show its ambition to invade Taiwan by force and the law is just an excuse.
Samuel, Taipei, Taiwan

This destabilising move is born out of Chinese desperation. China knows that if it does not take Taiwan back soon, it will be forced to admit what the rest of the world already knows. That Taiwan is already a separate country and only the desire for trade with China keeps up the political fiction otherwise.
Jason Lindholm, Victoria, BC, Canada

The best way to solve the argument is respect for the public opinion rather than force
Roy, Tainan, Taiwan
In any civilized society, the best way to solve the argument is respect for the public opinion rather than force. The new passed anti-secession law reflects the apparent difference between democratic Taiwan and communist China.
Roy, Tainan, Taiwan

As most Taiwanese know, we have close relationships with China in many aspects, such as culture, economy and language¿. But why do most Taiwanese like to keep status quo (or in fact, independence) rather than reunify with China? For me, the question is still too complex to understand, although I have lived in this island for more than thirty years. However, one thing I know is that the law is just made to shift everybody's attention form China's serious social problems, to cross-strait relations which is really undermined by the brutal law.
YM Yen, Taipei county, Taiwan

I am proud I am Chinese. And I do agree with the anti-secession law. What I want to say is that Taiwan is part of China since ancient times. All Chinese people all over the world have the great resolutions and rights to maintain the unification of territory. All the honest people in the world can see what kind of county China is. So it is so funny and ridiculous that the Taiwanese government called the new law as provocation
Guo Song , NI, UK

All of the apologists for China ought to keep in mind Tibet and Tiananmen Square when discussing this potential superpower. While America may be imperfect and makes its share of mistakes, those hoping for China's ascension ought to take pause for a minute. The cliché, "be careful what you wish for" seems to apply here.
Steve, NYC, USA

No one in Taiwan likes to be told what they can or cannot do
CW Chang, Taipei, Taiwan
If the PRC is trying to influence public opinion in Taiwan they are certainly succeeding... though not in the way they intended. No one in Taiwan likes to be told what they can or cannot do, and this sort of arrogant blustering by Beijing can only serve to further the Taiwanese people's dislike of the PRC.
CW Chang, Taipei, Taiwan

The comparisons of Taiwan and California or Hawaii are ridiculous at best. Taiwan was only a territory of China, and has ruled itself for more than half of a century. I can only imagine how the people on here who support China, would react to the US threatening Puerto Rico.
Justin Hughes, Tacoma, USA

Surely by the standards of modern civilized societies, Taiwanese people have a right to decide for themselves whether to pursue unification with China or independence. I don't remember the Canadian government sending troops to tell the people of Quebec which way to vote in their referendum.
HC Wang, Taipei, Taiwan

The People's Republic of China is justifiable to enact the law allowing to invade Taiwan in case it declares independence. China should be one country and the experiment of reclaiming Hong Kong should be a demonstration to Taiwan that it will have autonomy. We the world's peace lovers want one China, one Korea and one India, as we supported one Germany, one Yemen and one Vietnam. China is an emerging world's superpower which rise should not be sabotaged by secession tendencies like those of Taiwan
Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi, Kampala, Uganda

China's Anti-Secession Law is an anti-democracy law
Socialforce, Taipei, Taiwan
China's Anti-Secession Law is an anti-democracy law. China is about to pass the Anti-Secession Law which threatens to use force if Taiwan takes steps to cause secession from China even though the 13,592-square-mile island has governed itself since 1949. It is absurd to pass a law to prevent the already independent Taiwan from independence. According to Wang Zhaoguo, who presents the law, steps that justify the use of force including common democracy practices such as the revision of Taiwan's constitution and consulting the island's 23 million people through referendums. The Anti-Secession Law is an anti-democracy law that forbids Taiwanese to freely and clearly state that Taiwan is not part of China and China has no right to invade Taiwan. It is time to support Taiwan and stop China from jeopardizing Taiwan's democracy.
Socialforce, Taipei, Taiwan

Most countries, including the US, has an anti-secession law. Countries that oppose such a law simply oppose the reunification of China with Taiwan.
Mike Lam, Canada

I would like to remind some people some facts and some basic principles of democracy and international relations. The fact is that the Taiwanese are Chinese. They are not ethnic minorities. They are Han and share the same language, the same culture, the same appearance, etc.

One national group has the right to decide its own fate. Both Taiwan's constitute and mainland China's constitute tell its citizens that Taiwan is a part of China. Sovereign principles tells us China's inner business should solved by the citizens in both Taiwan and mainland China.
Chuanhua Wu, China

I believe that this law will be helpful fin the long run. Meanwhile, the law is very flexible in its words. This means that the Chinese government can negotiate with the US and other countries by explaining the law in different ways.
Bruce, Canada

US will never tolerate the independence of Hawaii. Same reason for China.
Loski, London, UK

The majority of the Taiwanese people have no doubt of their wish to remain independent of China
Mark Lane, Paris

The majority of the Taiwanese people have no doubt of their wish to remain independent of China. However appeals to democracy and respect for human rights have no currency among the Chinese rulers. Why does China wish to seize Taiwan? Many reasons, but one of them is that all of Japan's oil floats by in tankers a few miles offshore. Japan is worried. America is worried.
Mark Lane, Paris

Let the two communities learn to live together in peace for the benefit of the region.
Sichalwe, Haggai, Lusaka, Zambia

China has found an open door and is using it. With the US involved in the fight against terror and in Iraq, China knows no-one will stand against them. Europe and Russia will do nothing because it will hurt their economy.
Oliver, Washington DC, USA

Taiwan is not an independent sovereign state and anything that China does to exercise its authority over its own territory is pretty much up to China's legislative bodies. The Taiwan government understands this, but they continue to pull at the tiger's tail. Taiwan has developed its own systems of governance and China has been willing to recognise these.

But for a segment of the Chinese population to seek to declare independence over a part of China's territory is to set out deliberately to invite trouble. They know this. They also know it isn't necessary to do it. If hardly any country is willing to recognise Taiwan now, will they be more inclined to do so after an illegitimate claim to independence? I hardly think so.
Terry, London, UK

China is testing its growing military might. If the international outrage is not strong or forthcoming, it will push further. Years ago Taiwan turned the "one country, two systems" concept believing that Beijing would not adhere to it. Well we got it here in Hong Kong - and Taiwan was right!
Helen, Hong Kong

Taiwan (just like California, Chechnya or Scotland) should have the right to be a sovereign, self-governing territory if this is what its people want. If China invades, there may be little that governments can do, but the peoples of the world should respond by refusing to buy goods manufactured in China.
Colin Wilson, Aberdeen, Scotland

The Chinese claim on Taiwan is clearly a statement of hostility towards an independent state. If George Bush meant one word of his state of the union address, then he will be on the phone to Beijing telling them to back off.
Mike, London, UK

Taiwan's issue has to be decided by 1.3 billion people of the whole of China, not only by the 23 million people of Taiwan. Taiwan was won back from Japan in World War II as the result of effort of the whole of China, therefore Taiwan's independence needs the approval of all Chinese people. Taiwan of course has the right to retain their democracy, but they shouldn't resolve their independence problem until the whole of China also gain democracy.
Yat-Yin, Ohio, USA

If the vast majority of the Taiwanese people want to declare themselves independent then let them
Bob, Bedford, England
A lot of those responding seem to favour China as being the 'owner' of Taiwan. But Why? Surely if the vast majority of the Taiwanese people want to declare themselves independent then let them. The West should support them. Too many times has China overran a neighbour and claimed the prize with very little response from the West. As for those who say that Historically China owned Taiwan I say: So What? Britain 'owned' most of the world, do we have a legitimate claim to get it all back? If those Chinese living in Taiwan don't like it - Get Out!
Bob, Bedford, England

It's not only a provocation! The Chinese government is really outrageous! To Be honest, as a Taiwanese student studying aboard, I don't feel myself as Chinese. When people ask me where am I from, my answer is always Taiwan. I was brought up by Chinese culture. I admire and respect such a wonderful culture. I'm Chinese outside, but Taiwanese inside! I have many Chinese friends (those who are from mainland China). We have no problems to hang out together as long as we don't talk about the sensitive political problems. Once, the issued was triggered, the whole friendship would be torn up. I always say: "even if you kill me, there won't be any solution for both sides of the Taiwan strait. Why do we argue?" I like Chinese cultures and people. What I don't like is this government. The problem has been there for more than five decades since the civil war burst in 1949. If you could not do anything good before, why do you want do something bad now! Why can't both sides of the people work together to help the people stand back to the main stage in the world again. Leave this question to the future people to decide. I was Made In Taiwan. Although I'm Chinese outside, I feel very Taiwanese inside. I like my country, please don't take away what I like.
Jerry Huang, Nantou, Taiwan

Some comments here state that the UK would react the same as China if part of it wanted independence. However, democratic countries allow self determination. If Scotland had a referendum and voted for independence then I don't think we would mobilise the army! Western countries should indicate to China that we will stand with liberty and freedom above our selfish economic interests
Chris, London

I wonder, why should the inhabitants of Formosa be provoked by China's law? After all, the anti-secession law only enact in Mainland China, why bother Taiwan? If we are irate by it, does that mean we are a part of China? Definitely NOT! Taiwan is not a province of China -neither now nor future- but rather an independent country that happened speaking the same language with China by chance. China-Taiwan relationship is much more different from that of UK-Wight. I can't take the logic why somebody was able to link them together. I yet sense very much tension back here. Most proclamations are from politicians, the public isn't much aroused, 'cause we know the desiring in our deepest heart, are democracy and wealth, aside from war and provocation, for both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Yule-long Lee, Taipei, Taiwan

It is a warning but not a provocation. Historically, it is Taiwan's leaders, from the ex-KMT Lee Teng Hui to the present elected president, Ah Bien who have intentionally provoked China for domestic consumption and election advantage. Taiwan politicians have exploited the cross straits tension to their short-sighted advantage. They have been playing with fire and should not complain if they get burned. The Taiwan politicians should concentrate on reversing the economic and social decline of the island rather than engaging in useless sloganeering.
H Glaber, Taipei, Taiwan

It is highly probable that China is increasingly in danger from its own military. It is a military that sees liberal trends in China as undermining the conservative tradition which that military serves to uphold. China has recently given drastic budgetary increases, particularly salaries, to a military that has watched its Soviet counterpart disintegrate. Taiwan serves as a convergence of foreign threat, giving the Chinese military a restatement of purpose. What we should conclude from all of this is that China is increasingly in danger from its own military forces leading a conservative backlash against modernization and liberalization of Chinese society and politics.
John Holmes, Canada

It is a real challenge to the USA's spread of democracy mantra
Bhaeati Dhru, Lairel, USA
I believe it is more than provocation to Taiwan, it is a challenge to the USA. In case Taiwan decide to be independent and China uses force will the USA go and battle for sustaining democracy in an already democratic nation, or will it back down because of Chinese force and economical connection? It is a real challenge to the USA's spread of democracy mantra. Because if today's democratic friends can not get support from the USA that will send a message to all the government that the USA is not interested in democracy, but uses the phrase the "spread of democracy" for totally selfish reasons. It will open up this nation to ridicule. We are in a sorry state. And even if Ms Rice becomes president, she is not going to battle an economic and military power, it seems China is setting up its goal and flexing it muscles.
Bhaeati Dhru, Lairel, USA

It is a war of words. I wonder if the law also has an effect on Hong Kong, Macao, Tibet, some disputed islands with Japan, and any province in the mainland with plans to be more independent from the rule of Beijing.
Ex pat, Taipei

China must not be allowed to get away with this type of provocation towards Taiwan. They must be made aware that the West will not allow these type of bullying tactics to carry on. One way to stop this from happening would be the threat of trade sanctions against them if it carries on.
Robert Marshall, Chelmsford, England

What China seems not to understand is that currently, the Taiwanese choose their own leaders and is a multi-party democracy (a democracy which the Taiwanese people wanted and which was not enforced to them by the US, I might add for the anti-Bush brigade). Why would any sane Taiwanese person want to give that up so they can have their 'leaders' and destiny chosen by Beijing as now occurs in Hong Kong (the model for the one country, two systems by the way). As an objective observer, what would you choose??
Sam Tao, UK

Whether the law is used to declare war or not, how the US responds is paramount
Mike, Hamilton, Canada
Whether the law is used to declare war or not, how the US responds is paramount. The US should not get too worked up about it, China has been saying it will attack Taiwan ever since 1949. The important thing is to not vilify China and set the groundwork for another world war, one that would have disastrous consequences.
Mike, Hamilton, Canada

The silence from the 'coalition of the willing' is deafening. It would seem self-serving economic interests trump democratic ideals after all. We cite democracy as our cause when there is oil to be plundered and insist on the oppressive status quo when overcome with market lust. Our hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Jon N, Brisbane, Australia

It isn't surprising whatsoever that this law passed, nor is it surprising that it isn't causing more alert to people around the world. When America is on the verge of war, the whole world chimes in - but when it beckons sounds in the distant Far East, why is everyone silent? Like Edmund Burke said, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing! Evil is hate, and hate is evil!
Mav, American in St Petersburg, Russia

The real issue should be asking the Taiwanese whether they wish to unify with China in the future
OuYang, Belgium
It's a matter of fact that Taiwan is an independent country, even though most of the countries in the world are not willing to recognise this fact since they don't want to give up the economic benefits from this future superpower. Therefore, how can you say that making a law to interfere in another independent country's inner affair is not a provocation? The issue of independence of Taiwan is just a pseudo question proposed by communist China. The real issue should be asking the Taiwanese whether they wish to unify with China in the future.
OuYang, Belgium

The USA's attack on Iraq - a country with no WMD and no immediate threat, an attack without UN mandate, has helped give the green light, inadvertently, to other countries, such as China, to do the same.
Ed, London

What would the US do if one day, the majority of the Californians would suddenly declare independence? Make this point clear. This is not some dumb question about democracy or not, it is about a nation's territorial sovereignty, and I believe that any country in the world, be it democratic or not, would not tolerate its territorial sovereignty to be infringed or attacked.
Tae, Cambridge, UK

The law makes China's position towards Taiwan crystal clear, Taiwan will be reunited with mainland China one way or the other. It leaves Taiwan only two choices, either accept reunification with mainland China or eventually fight to maintain its independence. How long will Taiwan depend on America's "nuclear umbrella" before it feels the need to embark on it's own nuclear program?
Steve Mac, Boston, MA, USA

There is only one China. Its territory is sacred and sovereign
Sean, Belfast, UK
There is only one China. Its territory is sacred and sovereign. Let us not forget that America, Russia, UK, Spain together with virtually all other nations have fought wars to prevent the secession of renegade elements of their country. Why should China be any different? Of course I am sympathetic to Taiwan as a free democratic society, however, there can be no justification for a declaration of independence by Taiwan. Such an act, as has seemed more likely recently, would be an act of war. It seems to me that the point of this law is to make that very, very clear to the Taiwanese. Thus, I believe that China is acting in the best interests of peace by doing this.
Sean, Belfast, UK

It is a provocation. I think that the West especially the "vanguards" of freedom and democracy - US and UK - should pledge to defend Taiwan in case of aggression by China. However, it is a foregone conclusion that the Taiwanese will be left to fend for themselves because they are not a strategic interest (no oil) to the US and UK.
Esmie, Canada

I believe in US history that President Lincoln went to war rather than allow some states to assert their right to independence. Is this so different? Perhaps Taiwan really does have a right to self-determination, and maybe those Southern US States did (do?) too?
Peter Filiicetti, Bangkok, Thailand

The comments by Wen Jiabao are straight out of "1984"; the law is for "improving relations with Taiwan" really means the PRC wants Taiwan and we will wage war upon them and their supporters to get it. It is barely concealed aggression. The PRC should focus upon making a joining of both societies and cultures and things that would be desired by all, rather than being the iron-fisted will of the few.
R Elgin, Seoul, South Korea

It seems to me that people forget that China considers Taiwan as part of its territory. If strategic or economically important parts of the UK or the US tried to claim their independence, these countries would react with similar measures if not a more direct approach. China has said they would allow Taiwan a two systems, one country approach similar to that used for Hong Kong.
Karl Lynch, Belfast, N Ireland

This is blatant bullying by China
Greg, Brisbane, Australia
This is blatant bullying by China. Taiwan has and always will be independent of China. The sooner China realizes this, the better for everyone involved. China should take care of itself and let Taiwan be the free and independent country it deserves to be.
Greg, Brisbane, Australia

I continue to fail to understand the obsession of China with Taiwan and vice versa. Does China see Taiwan as a threat to it political (communist) integrity? Why do large countries insist on trying to drag small countries in that simply don't want to be there? It only ever seems to end in disaster for all concerned (Kuwait, Chechnya, Ireland, Taiwan, etc, etc). If China used military force in this way, it would be in serious breach of the UN Charter, in much the same way as Iraq was in the early nineties. Even worse though is that displays the weakness of the 'might as right' attitude of some in the West - try that with China and see how far you get.
Katherine, London, UK

Taiwan has been a sovereign state for more than 50 years and has been a lively democracy for a good many of those. It is one of the more equitable and just societies in the region, and has made dramatic progress on many fronts. It is as much a colony of the US as Belgium is of the UK.
Tom, Tokyo

Taiwan is Chinese - even the Taiwanese said this for many years. Taiwan still has not been an independent country under international law, it was only recognised as the ruler of all of China when we liked to pretend the communists didn't exist. The vast majority of the treasures in Taiwan were looted by the nationalists in 1949.
Jack, Essex

The so-called law is an aspirational statement more than a statement of intent to attack Taiwan
Liam Coughlan, Banja Luka, Bosnia
Closer study will reveal that the so-called law is an aspirational statement more than a statement of intent to attack Taiwan. The US has previously voted to go to war with China to protect Taiwan, so where's the difference? Australia and many other nations support the one China policy.
Liam Coughlan, Banja Luka, Bosnia

This is a product of the emerging new 'superpower' all the US and Bush-haters are hailing as good for the world.
Paul B, Oxford

The island of Taiwan to China is just like the Isle of Wight to Britain. It belongs to all Chinese, not just those people living there. Mainland China has endured the so-called 'provocation' from the TI terrorists for more than 10 years, now we have to respond, otherwise terms like 'China and Taiwan' will be used more and more frequently and meaningfully.
Andy Luo, Guildford, UK/China

I wonder what part of "Taiwan's not yours" is confusing the Chinese.
Graham Campbell, Lossiemouth, Scotland

As I have lived in a democratic country I find that to deny China the right to stop Taiwan declaring independence would be like denying Taiwan the right to do so. China should use only talks to resolve this issue, they are in no danger of imminent attack from Taiwan. Taiwan should also be trying to gain international support to assist them in their bid for independence.
John, Basildon, Essex, UK

I don't know if it should be called a "provocation" but it clearly qualifies as a "threat". It is clear that China will do whatever it believes is necessary to gain total control over Taiwan. You must remember that the Chinese are a very patient people and their foreign policy is often not based on immediate results. They deal in much longer strategies than most Western nations whose populations are impatient and demand immediate results. A Chinese philosopher once said "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This may not be the very first step, but it certainly takes them one step closer to the goal.
Douglas, Louisiana, USA

Taiwan must always be part of China
Htun Htun Naing, UK
No. Taiwan is a part of China and so the law is right. Taiwan must always be part of China.
Htun Htun Naing, UK

If the majority of those who live on Taiwan believe that they are not a part of China then it's that simple. This is ridiculous. That is how a democracy works. This should be a good example as to why the arms embargo against China needs to stay!
Chris, Karlsruhe, Germany

Rice's comments make me laugh, because it is patently obvious that the US would never assist Taiwan if things were to develop into an armed conflict, due to a declaration of independence by Taiwan. US economic interests are too dependent on the Chinese market for the US government to be able to do anything other than "disapprove" of China's moves. China has the advantage of being the world's current manufacturing sweatshop of choice, as well as the biggest single consumer market. There isn't a country on earth that Taiwan can count on for assistance. China knows this very well and it has cleverly waited until its economic importance had grown to the point where even the passing of such aggressive legislation does not result in anything other than mild condemnation by other countries.
Rustam Roy, London, UK

Its not so much provocation of Taiwan we have to worry about, but what happens if Taiwan call their bluff. If China invades what then for the world? Logically this would be no different from Iraq invading Kuwait or Argentina invading the Falklands, so logically the same response that was meted out then should apply if China invades Taiwan. That response was military conflict. Bin Laden will pale into insignificance obscurity if that happens. We should be afraid, very afraid!
Barry Lowry, Hornchurch UK

Of course the law is provocative, but why should anyone be surprised by this?
Ferdinand Moe, Telford
Of course the law is provocative, but why should anyone be surprised by this? China has displayed a belligerent attitude toward its neighbours for quite some time now. What gets me is that all the usual useful idiots on the left here in the West will not be holding China to the impossible standards they hold America to.
Ferdinand Moe, Telford

All right minded people should be worried by this. China's human rights record is more than a little worrying as is its increase in "defence" spending. The standards we "idiots on the left" hold the US to aren't impossible and they should certainly be applied to China.
Tom, London, UK

Simply another case of China trying to be a dictatorship. The concept of independent thought and belief has not quite caught on with China's leaders.
Chantel, UK

The world went to war when Iraq basically did the same with Kuwait. However, because China has a seat on the UN security council and is friendly with Russia and France no-one will do anything to stop it happening. Indeed France and Germany are desperately trying to sell China modern weapons to "help" its armed forces. It's ironic that the US will be described as "warmongers" if they try and stop the Chinese.
Peter, Nottingham

Is the continuance of Taiwan as an American colony not a provocation to China?
Bill, Lanarkshire

It seems a bit of an overstatement to call Taiwan a "colony" of the US when they have had no military there since the 60s, has no embassy and officially declares that they support the "One China" concept.
John, USA


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