Group uses congress as platform to criticise leader and his referendum The Taiwanese delegation to the NPC yesterday lashed out at the island's president, Chen Shui-bian, saying his March 20 referendum was creating an unnecessary crisis. 'We all feel the referendum hurts the feelings of all cross-strait compatriots and is causing an unnecessary crisis,' said Yang Guoqing, a Communist Party member whose father was born in Taipei but moved to the mainland before the 1949 civil war. 'Our Taiwan compatriots know that Taiwan independence would bring a crisis. We Taiwanese compatriots on the mainland absolutely oppose Taiwan independence.' Practically every one of the 13 members of the delegation took turns in attacking Mr Chen and his Democratic Progressive Party during a two-hour session held at a hotel in Beijing packed with journalists from Taiwan. 'Chen Shui-bian has given up tremendous opportunities to improve relations with mainland leaders,' said Fan Zengsheng, a Shanghai-based economist who was born in Taiwan but migrated to the mainland in the 1980s. 'We are sad a civil war split China, but virtually all nations split during the second world war have now reunited. Why not us? 'It's because Chen Shui-bian has created a political mess in Taiwan. He's a poor leader.' Despite the harsh rhetoric, the 13 members of the Taiwanese NPC delegation vowed to strengthen laws protecting Taiwanese investments on the mainland. Chen Jiande, a Communist Party official from Xiamen whose parents are from Taiwan, said he was working on proposals to strengthen laws protecting Taiwanese investments. Taiwanese have long complained that a lack of political ties between Taiwan and the mainland have left them in legal limbo when it comes to settling business disputes. Mr Chen said lawsuits and court cases involving Taiwanese investors rose from 200 in 1992 to more than 2,000 in 2001. 'We believe it is really important to come up with strong cross-strait commercial laws,' he said.