NPC deputies applaud after the Anti-Secession Law is adopted during the closing of the Third Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) of China in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 14, 2005. (Xinhua Photo)
China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), ratified the Anti-Secession Law with an overwhelming vote of 2,896 to nil in Beijing on March 14, setting a legal framework to prevent Taiwan's secession from China and to promote peaceful national reunification.
President Hu Jintao signed a presidential order for the immediate promulgation of the law at Monday's session. The law became effective upon promulgation.
The law, which consists of ten articles, provides for the legislative purpose and scope of application of the legislation, the nature of the Taiwan issue, achieving national reunification through peaceful means, and taking non-peaceful means to stop Taiwan's secession from China by the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces.
NPC deputies burst into a storm of applause as the result of the vote was announced, which was broadcast live through national television, radio and major news websites.
Top legislator Wu Bangguo hailed the high support rate of NPC deputies for the law demonstrated the "common will and strong resolve" of the entire Chinese people.
"The Anti-Secession Law, adopted with such a high support rate from NPC members, has legalized the policy guideline of the central authorities on Taiwan, and given full expression to China's consistent position of doing the utmost with maximum sincerity for a peaceful reunification," said Wu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, after the law was ratified.
He said the adoption of the law also demonstrated the "common will and strong resolve" of the entire Chinese people to safeguardChina's sovereignty and territorial integrity and never to allow the "Taiwan independence" forces to make Taiwan secede from China under any name or by any means.
"The promulgation and implementation of the law will have a major practical and far-reaching historical impact on the development of cross-Straits relations, peaceful reunification of the motherland, and opposing and checking Taiwan's secession from China by secessionists in the name of 'Taiwan independence'," Wu said.
It is also important for China's efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, and to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation, said Wu.
China has said the law is by no means a so-called "law on the use of force against Taiwan" or a so-called "war mobilization order." China would only use "non-peaceful means" to stop Taiwan'ssecession should all efforts for a peaceful reunification prove futile, Wang Zhaoguo, vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee,told parliament last week.
The Taiwan issue is one left over from China's civil war of thelate 1940s. China has said that resolution of the Taiwan issue andaccomplishment of China's complete reunification is one of the three historic tasks of the Communist Party of China and the country.
Over the years, China has made great efforts in a hope to develop closer relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and promote a peaceful reunification of the motherland.
However, the Taiwan authorities have intensified their "Taiwan independence" activities aimed at making Taiwan secede from China.Thus the secessionist activities of the "Taiwan independence" forces pose a "grave" threat to China's sovereign and territorial integrity.
China has said resolving the Taiwan question is entirely an internal affair, which "subjects to no interference by any outsideforces."
Beijing has rejected the recent remarks by the United States, which described the law as "unhelpful" towards relations across the Taiwan Straits.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan last week called the US remarks "irresponsible" and said China "demands" that the United States abide by norms governing international relations, understand and support China's law-making actions and not do anything that will "foster 'Taiwan independence' secessionist activities" and harm China-US relations.
"The United States should safeguard peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits region and the healthy development of China-US relations through actual practice," Kong said.
Residents in Taiwan interviewed by Xinhua called the law "mild and rational" and hoped the law could "promote the development of cross-Straits relations by legal means."
"I think this law will help create new opportunities for the development of cross-Straits relations," said Chen Yuchun, director of the Graduate School of American Studies of the Taiwan-based Chinese Culture University.
Learning some major points of the Anti-Secession Law, Jyh-huei Her, chairman of the Taiwan-based Cross-Strait Economic & Trade Association, said the proposed law embodies the "goodwill of the mainland."