China is to enact a law against secession, the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, announced in Beijing on Friday.
The draft anti-secession law will be submitted for deliberation at the 13th session of the 10th NPC Standing Committee, scheduled to run from December 25-29 in Beijing.
The session agenda was adopted on Friday afternoon at a chairmanship meeting of the NPC Standing Committee.
Over the past year, quite a few Chinese lawmakers and senior government advisors have proposed that "a law on national reunification be enacted as soon as possible."
According to media reports, Zhou Hongyu, a professor of the Central China Normal University and a deputy to the 10th NPC, was one of the first to table a motion calling for such legislation during the NPC's annual full session in March this year.
While visiting the United Kingdom in May this year, Premier Wen Jiabao also received similar requests from a group of overseas Chinese and Chinese scholars and students staying there. The premier promised them that the central government would "seriously consider" any proposal that is "conducive to the complete reunification of the motherland."
It was also decided at Friday's meeting that the draft resolution on the convention of the third full session of the 10th NPC be submitted to the Standing Committee's pending session.
Draft laws on civil servants, notaries and renewable energy will also be deliberated for the first time, together with the legal explanation bank cards.
The lawmakers will also review the draft amendment to the law on solid waste pollution prevention and the draft resolution on management of expert testimony.
The State Council, or China's cabinet, will also submit to the session a report on rectifying and standardizing the order of market economy, and a report on conservation, protection and rational use of water resources.
NPC: New legislation not applicable to Hong Kong, Macao SARs
China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), explained in Beijing on Friday that the anti-secession law it plans to enact will not be applicable to the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs) of China.
"The draft law against secession is not applicable to the Hong Kong SAR or the Macao SAR," said a senior lawmaker in charge of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the 10th NPC Standing Committee. The 10th NPC Standing Committee will examine the draft law at its 13th session scheduled for next week.
The Hong Kong SAR government on Friday issued a statement supporting the plan to enact an anti-secession law as discussed at the chairmanship meeting of the NPC Standing Committee in Beijing.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said US officials had not examined the proposed anti-secession measure and could not comment in detail.
"Both sides should really focus on engaging in dialogue and try to peacefully resolve their differences," Boucher told reporters. "Neither side should do anything to unilaterally change the status quo."
Boucher said the United States was following developments and has been in touch with people on the mainland and in Taiwan. "We've encouraged the parties to look for dialogue and not to look for staking out positions or hardening their positions," he said.