MAC to protest article in Beijing's national security law

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Hsia Li-yan (???), head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said Thursday that he will lodge a protest with his Chinese counterpart later this month against an article in a national security law recently drafted by China. The Republic of China's status as a sovereign nation cannot be altered by China's laws, Hsia said during a question and answer session in the Legislature. Article 11 of the draft law states that China's sovereignty and territorial integrity is a common obligation of all Chinese people, including the people of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and that no division will be tolerated. Hsia said he will lodge a protest against Article 11 of the law when he meets with Zhang Zhijun (???), head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (???), in Kinmen later this month. The draft law passed its second reading in the National People's Congress Standing Committee last month and was posted on the website of the Chinese legislature, and reportedly will be open to public discussion until June 5. A previous attempt by Beijing to impose national security and anti-subversion laws had sparked widespread protests in Hong Kong, leading to the early retirement of former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa in 2005. The final draft of the bill is slated to be reviewed by the National People's Congress next March at the earliest, according to reports. Hsia said that although Taiwan's political status is still be to be determined through continued cross-strait dialogue, its legal status as a state with its own government cannot be denied. If China's new national security law is passed, it will hurt cross-strait relations, as was the case when Beijing's anti-secession law was ratified in 2005, Hsia said. Such a law will sour the goodwill and amicability that has been built between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The 2005 anti-secession law formalized Beijing's policy of resorting to "non-peaceful" actions in the event that Taiwan declares independence. Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expressed concerns Thursday that the ruling Kuomintang may be trying to maneuver for the meeting between Zhang and Hsia to be held after DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (???) departs May 29 on a scheduled visit to the U.S. Hsia denied the allegations of political maneuvering, saying that the meeting will take place before May 29. (By Chen Wei-ting and Ted Chen)