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Evaluating China's Elusive Anti-Secession Law

Recorded on February 22, 2005

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Beijing and President Hu Jin Tao announced last December that the National People's Congress, due to meet this March, would consider and adopt an "Anti-Secession Law." Aimed directly at Taiwan, Chinese newspapers said the law would make it clear that any steps taken by Taiwan, which were considered tantamount to secession from China, would be regarded as sufficient cause for military intervention.

Although almost two months have gone by, no specific text has been released even though PRC newspapers have said one has been given the National People's Congress. A typical ploy by this authoritarian government, the absence of a text makes specific analysis difficult. Yet we can, and will, look into the background motivations, the various currents in PRC and Taiwan cross-Straits policy, including China's recent proffer of carrots along with the sticks of the anti-secession law, and some of the legal considerations. Above all, we will consider how this is likely to affect American policy and interest.