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China congress ready for Monday vote on anti-secession law

[JURIST] The presidium of China's National People's Congress (NPC) [official website in Chinese] announced Saturday [Xinhua report] that the nation's legislators will vote Monday on the passing of the Anti-Secession Law [Chinese press backgrounder], aimed to foretall Taiwan's secession from China and to promote peaceful reunification and territorial integrity. The proposal, however, allows for the use of force by China's 2.5 million strong People's Liberation Army [profile] in the event of Taiwanese secession with the exhaustion of peaceful diplomatic strategies. The law has met harsh criticism by supporters of Taiwan independence. Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian [official profile] called Saturday for a million people to take to the streets of Taipei on March 26 in protest of the law. At a meeting of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) [official website in Chinese], which supports independence, Chen stated, "[t]he anti-secession law will allow China to completely ignore the freedom and right of choice of Taiwan people, and seek to unilaterally determine Taiwan's future...." Few comments on the matter have come from Washington, whose role in the dilemma seems uncertain. While the US recognizes China, it also is obligated by treaty to assist in the defense of Taiwan. It has asked Beijing to "reconsider" the bill, calling it "unhelpful" to relations between Taiwan and China. Reuters has more.

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