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Taiwan Plans Protests in Response to Chinese Anti-Secession Law

Politicians in Taiwan are bitterly denouncing a proposed Chinese law explicitly forbidding any Taiwanese moves toward independence and large protests are planned for Sunday. The response comes after China placed Taiwan at the top of its annual legislative agenda Saturday.

Taiwanese of all political stripes are gearing up for mass protests against the proposed Chinese anti-secession law.

Come Sunday, more than 50,000 people are expected to join a series of marches and demonstrations in Taipei and Kaohsiung.

At issue is China's new anti-secession law, expected to pass at the current National People's Congress, which opened Saturday in Beijing.

The exact contents of the law remain under wraps but the order is expected to authorize military action if Taiwan declares formal independence from the mainland.

Although Beijing claims Taiwan as its own, the island has been self-governing since 1949 following the communist victory in China's civil war.

Opening China's annual legislative session Saturday, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao made clear reunification with Taiwan is a priority.

"The draft of the law we will review reflects our commitment to work for peaceful reunification, honestly and with great effort," said Wen Jiabao.

But leaders in Taiwan have already rejected China's assurances this is not a prelude to possible aggression.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council Friday issued a statement saying military intimidation is replacing goodwill and could have grave consequences for relations.

Taiwan is apparently considering a host of responses depending on the final language of the law. Arthur Ding is a research fellow at Taiwan's National Chenchi University.

"It all depends on the wording of the anti secession law if the wording is very strong, our response might also be very strong," said Arthur Ding.

Even Taiwan's bitterly divided, political camps say they are united against the new Chinese policy.

Ruling and opposition lawmakers came forward Friday with a rare joint resolution calling on Beijing to reconsider the anti-secession legislation.