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NPC spokesperson slams Taiwan 'referendum'

  BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhuanet) -- A spokesperson for the second session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) Thursday morning slammed the so-called "defensive referendum" pushed forward by the Taiwan authorities as a "very immoral" campaigning tactic of Chen Shui-bian.

  "In seeking his personal 're-election', Chen has put the tangible interests of the Taiwan people at stake. This is indeed very immoral," said Jiang Enzhu at a press conference on the NPC session slated to open here Friday.

  Chen's act has stirred up the indignation and condemnation of the 1.3 billion Chinese people including the Taiwan compatriots, said Jiang.

  "We understand and respect the Taiwan compatriots' desire for developing democracy, but we firmly oppose Taiwan authorities' pursuit of 'Taiwan Independence' and any splittist activities under the cloak of democracy."

  Meanwhile, Jiang reiterated the mainland's consistent stance ofseeking a peaceful reunification based on the principle of "one country, two systems".

  "As long as the slightest hope remains, we will spare no efforts to seek a peaceful reunification," he said.

  "There is no one else in the world who has a stronger desire than us to realize reunification by peaceful means," he added.

  Stating that the mainland has never interfered with elections in Taiwan and also has no interest in the ongoing election in the island province, Jiang expressed the hope that Taiwan's new leaderwould adhere to the One China principle and help facilitate the "peaceful reunification process of the motherland".

  "No matter who from which party comes to power after the election, we hope he can accept the One China principle, on which basis the two sides across the Taiwan Strait could hold dialogues and negotiations and realize the three 'direct links'," said Jiang.

  The three cross-Straits "direct links" refer to direct trade, mail and shipping services between the two sides.

  The Taiwan authorities headed by Chen Shui-bian have actively pushed ahead a so-called "defensive referendum", to be held along with the election of the regional leader on March 20. The mainlandhas called the "referendum" a "provocative" act with the nature ofseeking "Taiwan Independence".

  Also at Thursday's press conference, when asked to comment on the U.S. Congress hearing which invited some Hong Kong legislativecouncil members to participate in and the debate over the "patriots' criteria" in Hong Kong, Jiang said that China refuses any external intervention in its internal affairs.

  "All Hong Kong issues, including issues related to democracy, are China's internal affairs," he said. "The Chinese people have sufficient wisdom to well handle affairs in Hong Kong."

  "We don't need any external forces to point their fingers at us,and we firmly oppose any attempts to interfere with China's internal affairs," he stressed.

  In 1984, China's late leader Deng Xiaoping clearly defined the patriots as those who "respect their own nation, whole-heartedly support the motherland's resumption of the exercise of sovereigntyover Hong Kong, and will do nothing to harm Hong Kong's prosperityand stability", Jiang noted.

  Anyone who is already in Hong Kong's governing body or has the intention to join the governing body shall meet these criteria, headded. Enditem