BEIJING – The state-controlled body for China's noncommunist groups on Saturday endorsed a proposed law authorizing military action to block Taiwan from pursuing formal independence, saying it would help to ensure regional peace.
"Protecting state sovereignty and territorial integrity is in China's vital interest," said a resolution passed by the Chinese People's Political Consusure (search), due to be enacted Monday by the National People's Congress, enshrines in law threats to invade if Taiwan, split from China since 1949, tries to make its independence permanent.
The law "is in the best interests of checking Taiwan separatist activities and of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait (search) and the entire Asia-Pacific region," the resolution said.
The CPPCC is made up of the state-controlled umbrella groups for China's religious bodies, chambers of commerce, women's associations and other noncommunist groups.
Its resolution called on Chinese groups to "broadly unite all patriots both inside and outside the country in checking Taiwan (search) separatist activity."
Also Saturday, a senior Chinese official was quoted by state media rejecting Taiwanese criticism of the law as "vicious and tarnishing" and accusing pro-independence forces of misrepresenting it.
Independence supporters "distort the anti-secession law by all means, mislead and cheat the majority of the Taiwan compatriots, and stir up feelings against the mainland," said Chen Yunlin, the chief of the Chinese Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, quoted by the Xinhua News Agency.
"They even said to take further actions to sabotage cross-straits relations," he said, without elaborating.
Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party is hoping to mobilize up to 500,000 people for a protest against the law on March 26.
Taiwan has described the anti-secession law as a "blank check to invade" and has asked for international pressure on Beijing to step back from passing the law, a move unlikely to happen.
Washington has asked China to reconsider the measure, but the Chinese government on Thursday spurned the U.S. appeal.
China says that even after the law takes effect, military force will only be a last resort.