In 2005 the CPC’s National People’s Congress (NPC) approves the Anti-Secession Law. From the viewpoint of the CPC, the Anti-Secession Law reinforces its long-standing commitment to the peaceful resolution of the ‘Taiwan issue’. At the same time the law makes clear the conditions under which the CPC would authorize the PLA to use force to resolve matters with Taiwan. The passage of the law occurs during the DPP administration of Chen Shui-bian, which actively promotes not only Taiwan as an independent and sovereign country but also constitutional reform to formalize the status. Article 5 of the Anti-Secession law reiterates the “One China Principle” as the basis of peaceful national reunification while Article 8 reaffirms the right of the CPC to use force to resolve issues.
One China, Five Interpretations, Chapter Two: The "One China Principle"
Based upon research conducted by EAPASI, between 2004-2005 the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) debated the passage of the Anti-Secession Law
On March 14, 2005 the CPC's NPC approved the Anti-Secession Law. From the viewpoint of the CPC leadership, the Anti-Secession Law reinforced the "One China Principle" especially its longstanding commitment to the peaceful resolution of the ‘Taiwan issue’. For example according to Article 2 of the law, “There is only one China in the world. Both the Mainland and Taiwan belong to the same China. Cession of sovereignty and territory of China will not be tolerated” while Article 5 stresses the “One China Principle” as the basis of peaceful reunification of the country and the realization of the “one country, two systems”. It also committed to “do its utmost with maximum amount of sincerity to achieve a peaceful reunification”.
In addition the Anti-Secession Law outlined the conditions that would prompt the CPC leadership to authorize its military arm, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), to resort to the use of force against Taiwan to resolve matters with Taiwan.
The passage of the law occurred during the administration of Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). At that time, the Chen administration actively promoted Taiwan as an independent and sovereign country. It also actively advocated for constitutional reforms to formalize the aforementioned status. Through the passage of the law, the Chinese leadership aimed to “check and oppose moves toward independence”.
Article 5 of the Anti-Secession law reiterated the “One China Principle” as the basis of peaceful national reunification while Article 8 reaffirmed the right of the CPC to use force to resolve issues. The Law clarified the use of force clause contained in the PRC's "One China Principle" and outlined the three conditions that would compel the PRC to use force:
Prior to the passage of the Anti-Secession Law, the U.S. Congress passed a series of resolutions, as well as held a series of hearings on the Law. In particular, Congress passed H.Con.Res.70. The Resolution “expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. should strongly oppose the China’s Anti-Secession Legislation with respect to Taiwan”. It also passed H.Con.Res.76. This Resolution “expresses the sense of Congress that U.S. should urge the PRC not to enact into law the so-called anti-secession legislation with respect to Taiwan and should reaffirm its unwavering commitment to Taiwan, and for other purposes’.
Following the passage of the Anti-Secession Law, the Congress passed H.Con.Res. 98. This Resolution ‘expresses the grave concern of Congress regarding the recent passage of the anti-secession law by the NPC of the PRC’. In addition the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the Committee on International Relations held a hearing titled “China’s Anti-Secession law and Developments across the Taiwan Strait”.
In a similar vein, then President Bush reiterated his administrations policy on ‘one China’. Bush emphasized that the U.S. policy is based on the communiqués framework and the TRA. He also underscored the
commitment of his administration to Taiwan, while asserting that both sides of the Taiwan Strait need to avoid unilaterally changing the status quo.
- Excerpted from One China, Five Interpretations (forthcoming e-book)
The implications of the 2005 Anti-Secession Law for the Cross-Strait relationship are many. It is important to underscore that China reiterated its commitment to the peaceful reunification of Taiwan with the mainland, which it has adhered to for decades. Likewise it is equally important to recognize that China underscored and embedded in domestic law the right to use force to resolve issues with Taiwan.
When the Kuomintang (KMT) hold political power, the probability is low that the KMT would engage in activities that would compel the CPC to invoke the Law; but, in contrast, when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) holds political power as it does now, the probability is high that it would pursue activities that would prompt the CPC to use the law. Since taking office in 2016, the Tsai Ing-wen administration has refused to verbalize the phrase "1992 Consensus", which represents the "One China Principle" and, more recently, the recently appointed head of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has called to abandon it. Furthermore the DPP actively promotes its interpretation of the status quo, which is the dynamic status quo, and asserts that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country.
The following is the full text of the Anti-Secession Law adopted at the Third Session of the Tenth National People's Congress in Beijing on March 14:
Anti-Secession Law(Adopted at the Third Session of the Tenth National People's Congress on March 14, 2005)
Article 1 This Law is formulated, in accordance with the Constitution, for the purpose of opposing and checking Taiwan's secession from China by secessionists in the name of "Taiwan independence", promoting peaceful national reunification, maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, preserving China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation.
Article 2 There is only one China in the world. Both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division. Safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity is the common obligation of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.
Taiwan is part of China. The state shall never allow the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces to make Taiwan secede from China under any name or by any means.
Article 3 The Taiwan question is one that is left over from China's civil war of the late 1940s.
Solving the Taiwan question and achieving national reunification is China's internal affair, which subjects to no interference by any outside forces.
Article 4 Accomplishing the great task of reunifying the motherland is the sacred duty of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.
Article 5 Upholding the principle of one China is the basis of peaceful reunification of the country.
To reunify the country through peaceful means best serves the fundamental interests of the compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. The state shall do its utmost with maximum sincerity to achieve a peaceful reunification.
After the country is reunified peacefully, Taiwan may practice systems different from those on the mainland and enjoy a high degree of autonomy.
Article 6 The state shall take the following measures to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and promote cross-Straits relations:
(1) to encourage and facilitate personnel exchanges across the Straits for greater mutual understanding and mutual trust;
(2) to encourage and facilitate economic exchanges and cooperation, realize direct links of trade, mail and air and shipping services, and bring about closer economic ties between the two sides of the Straits to their mutual benefit;
(3) to encourage and facilitate cross-Straits exchanges in education, science, technology, culture, health and sports, and work together to carry forward the proud Chinese cultural traditions;
(4) to encourage and facilitate cross-Straits cooperation in combating crimes; and
(5) to encourage and facilitate other activities that are conducive to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and stronger cross-Straits relations.
The state protects the rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots in accordance with law.
Article 7 The state stands for the achievement of peaceful reunification through consultations and negotiations on an equal footing between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. These consultations and negotiations may be conducted in steps and phases and with flexible and varied modalities.
The two sides of the Taiwan Straits may consult and negotiate on the following matters:
(1) officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides;
(2) mapping out the development of cross-Straits relations;
(3) steps and arrangements for peaceful national reunification;
(4) the political status of the Taiwan authorities;
(5) the Taiwan region's room of international operation that is compatible with its status; and
(6) other matters concerning the achievement of peaceful national reunification.
Article 8 In the event that the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces should act under any name or by any means to cause the fact of Taiwan's secession from China, or that major incidents entailing Taiwan's secession from China should occur, or that possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted, the state shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The State Council and the Central Military Commission shall decide on and execute the non-peaceful means and other necessary measures as provided for in the preceding paragraph and shall promptly report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Article 9 In the event of employing and executing non-peaceful means and other necessary measures as provided for in this Law, the state shall exert its utmost to protect the lives, property and other legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan civilians and foreign nationals in Taiwan, and to minimize losses. At the same time, the state shall protect the rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots in other parts of China in accordance with law.
Article 10 This Law shall come into force on the day of its promulgation.
People's Republic of China (PRC) on the Anti-Secession Law
Key Statements and Documents
Republic of China (ROC Taiwan) on the PRC's Anti-Secession Law
Related Statements, Speeches & Press Releases
The United States of America on the PRC's Anti-Secession Law