One Country, Two Systems? China’s New Draft Security Act Includes Taiwan

June 8, 2015 Updated: June 8, 2015

Taiwanese reporters have voiced concern to the Chinese regime over the latest draft of its new national security laws, which ignores Taiwan’s sovereignty.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress—China’s rubber-stamp legislature—recently concluded its second draft reading of China’s new National Security Act in May.

The Association of Taiwan Journalists (ATJ) in a statement on June 3 listed four points of contention with the current iteration of China’s security laws, singling out two provisions.

Article 11 holds that the maintenance of China’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity” is the “shared obligation of all the Chinese people, including compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.” Chinese people who fail to “perform national security obligations’ or threaten it are liable to face investigation and prosecution under Article 81.

ATJ is calling for the removal of the “ridiculous” Article 11 on grounds that it doesn’t respect Taiwan’s status as an independent, sovereign state. If China’s National Security Law is passed without change, then any Taiwan citizen “may be subject to investigation for legal responsibility and prosecution by the PRC authorities,” ATJ writes.

Through the new draft security laws, the Chinese regime is engaging “in what is known as extraterritoriality,” writes J. Michael Cole, a senior fellow at the China Policy Institute, University of Nottingham, in an article on Thinking Taiwan, an analysis and commentary website. Extraterritoriality is the imposition of a country’s jurisdiction on foreign soil.

By not clearly defining what constitutes a national security in China, “there is a very real chance” that Taiwanese reporters could be detained under the draft law, Cole adds. This is because areas considered under national security now “include anything from environmental disasters to the health of senior Chinese Communist Party leaders.”

Indeed, any written work by journalists—regular reports, commentaries, or even Facebook posts—can potentially be held up by the Chinese regime as “criminal evidence” of national security breach, ATJ writes.

Two other reporter organizations, the International Federation of Journalists and the Hong Kong Journalists Association, have already protested China’s draft security laws on grounds that it doesn’t adhere to international standards of human rights protection.

In concluding its statement, ATJ calls on Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou and his government to “pay serious attention to the harm that China’s draft “National Security Law” will inflict on the civil and political rights of the Taiwan people and on the freedom of expression and news coverage of Taiwan Journalists.”