Shifting Paradigms in US, China and Taiwan Relations
Edited by Peter C.Y. Chow
Chapter 5: Legislating the Cross-Strait Status Quo? China’s Anti-Secession Law, Taiwan’s Constitutional Reform and Referenda, and the United States’ Taiwan Relations Act
Jacques deLisle When the People’s Republic of China’s National People’s Congress unanimously adopted an Anti-Secession Law in March 2005, China ﬁred the latest salvo – and the PRC’s ﬁrst – in a battle in which the principal participants in cross-Strait relations use ostensibly domestic laws to press their positions on the question of Taiwan’s international status. This new law came on the heels of – and partly in response to – an increase in the intensity and scale of Taiwanese internal law-making that addressed issues with implications for Taiwan’s international status. This included primarily the project to revise the Republic of China’s constitution and the referenda controversies that preceded and accompanied constitutional reform. The NPC legislation also mirrored the United States’ most nearly analogous domestic law – the quarter-century-old Taiwan Relations Act, which American administrations have consistently conﬁrmed as a durable core of Washington’s positions on cross-Strait relations and Taiwan’s status. Such formally domestic laws can be, and have been, distinctive and eﬀective tools in the multilateral political wrangling over Taiwan’s international status. All three interested parties have used such internal lawmaking to pursue hard-to-reconcile ends. These laws accept the existing cross-Strait status quo (for the time being). But they also imply or assert divergent legal and conceptual bases for that status quo (and its possible alteration) that serve and reﬂect each proponent’s position on the question of Taiwan’s international status (and the permissible grounds for moves to change the PRC–Taiwan relationship). The substantive content of relevant Chinese, Taiwanese and American...
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