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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
Spanish unity should be honored
    2017-November-6  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Winton Dong

dht0620@126.com

LAWMAKERS in Catalonia, a prosperous region in northeastern Spain, passed a declaration of independence on Oct. 27.

The Spanish Government took formal direct control of Catalonia on Oct. 28, dismissing the region’s separatist government, including Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. The move came shortly after one of the most tumultuous days in the country’s recent history, as the national parliament in Madrid approved unprecedented constitutional measures to halt the secessionist drive by the regional parliament in Barcelona. According to a Brussels news report, deposed Catalan separatist leader Puigdemont arrived in Belgium on Oct. 30 to seek advice from his lawyer. Puigdemont denied that he wanted to claim asylum but said he and several other former ministers who traveled with him would return only if they get guarantees that legal proceedings would be impartial.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rojoy also dissolved the regional parliament of Catalonia and called a new regional election to be held on Dec. 21. The prime minister sent a message on Twitter: “Concord, peaceful coexistence, democracy and dialogue within the law.”

Main civil groups backing the pro-independence campaign had called upon Catalans to partake in widespread civil disobedience, suggesting that public sector workers such as teachers, firefighters and police refuse orders from the central government. However, most workers across the region started their working day at 9 a.m. as normal and there was no obvious sign of absenteeism.

On the contrary, in Barcelona, at least 350,000 people gathered Oct. 29 to take part in an anti-independence demonstration, calling for Catalonia to remain in Spain and support Prime Minister Rojoy’s decisive use of constitutional powers to seize control of the region from pro-independence secessionists.

Catalonia became an integral part of Spain in 1469. Its capital, Barcelona, is known by the world as a famous and prosperous city. With an area of 32,100 square kilometers and 7.35 million people, Catalonia is one of the richest regions in Spain. With 10 percent of the country’s total population, the region accounts for about 20 percent of the country’s GDP and tax revenue.

Catalonia also boasts its own language and unique culture. The region has been one of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities since the late 1970s. But calls for full independence have continued to grow, especially after the financial crisis between 2007 and 2008. Due to the side effects of the financial crisis and austerity measures taken by Spain thereafter, some Catalan people have become increasingly unhappy that their tax money goes to support poorer parts of Spain, and they complain that they have been taken advantage of by the central government and other less-developed regions of the country, thus leading to secessionist movements in recent years.

Many governments and international organizations such as the European Union, Britain and the United States voiced their support for the Spanish Government’s efforts to maintain national unity after the Catalan parliament declared independence. The EU said in a statement that, as a developed region, it is the responsibility of Catalonia to help those less developed areas in the country.

China has developed friendly relationships with Spain during the past decades. “We understand and support the Spanish government’s efforts to uphold national unity, ethnic solidarity and territorial integrity. We oppose moves to split the country and breach the rule of law and believe Spain is capable of protecting social order and citizens’ rights within the legal and institutional framework,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Frankly speaking, an independence bid will not settle economic and social problems in Catalonia, but further worsen its investment environment. According to statistics, since its independence referendum on Oct. 1, more than 1,500 firms have decided to leave the region and 107 big companies have relocated their headquarters to other places.

(The author is the editor-in-chief of the Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)

 

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