Beijing has partially lifted the veil on the much-anticipated anti-secession law, which would authorise military attacks against Taiwan if the island declares independence. It has only done so partially because the exact wording of the draft, distributed to NPC deputies and CPPCC delegates on Monday night, remains shrouded in secrecy. NPC deputies and CPPCC delegates were reportedly asked not to show the draft to journalists. A small group of legal experts and officials involved in the drafting of the law were reportedly sworn to secrecy and warned they could be charged with leaking state secrets - a crime that carries a heavy prison sentence - if they revealed any details before the law is passed on Monday. The secrecy appears to be part of a delicate geopolitical game that Beijing is playing with Taiwan and the United States, Taipei's biggest supporter. It would also give Beijing ample time to gauge domestic and international reactions to the law in case further changes are needed. However, the main thrust of the law should remain unchanged, as explained yesterday by Wang Zhaoguo , a senior NPC vice-chairman. Flagged by President Hu Jintao's conciliatory speech on Saturday, the law emphasises peaceful reunification, according to Mr Wang. He stressed Beijing would refrain from using non-peaceful means, saying they would be the last resort when all efforts at peaceful reunification had been exhausted. More indications have emerged that the current version of the law is a result of Beijing's increasing engagement with Washington over the Taiwan issue. The next possible development to watch could well be that both sides will put further pressure on Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian to back down from his agenda of pursuing independence. It is interesting to note that despite Washington's grievances about the anti-secession law, no key Bush administration officials have come out to strongly attack the law so far. In January, Chen Yunlin , director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, visited Washington and met outgoing US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and the incoming national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, for 'candid' talks on the law. In Taipei, Mr Chen held a landmark meeting with political rival James Soong Chu-yu, of the People First Party, on February 24 with both sides vowing to seek peace. According to the joint statement, 'President Chen commits to the following pledges: that during his term as president, he will not declare independence, will not change the national emblem, will not push for the inclusion of the so-called 'state-to-state' description in the constitution, will not promote a referendum to change the status quo in regards to the issue of independence or unification ... ' It can hardly be a coincidence that the Chen-Soong meeting was held after Mr Soong spent a lengthy period in Washington, meeting US officials and analysts. President Hu's speech on Saturday also directly referred to the Chen-Soong meeting, in what was said by some Taiwanese officials to be the first exchange between Mr Hu and Mr Chen over the airwaves. Some mainland analysts said Washington's decision to mention Taiwan in a joint US-Japan declaration on security arrangements appeared aimed at easing Taiwan's concerns over the ramifications of the anti-secession law. They said this was Washington's way of reassuring Taiwan, while encouraging Mr Chen to back down from any further pursuit of independence. Another sign that the US and Beijing are working together on Taiwan is the visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Beijing later this month, to discuss the Taiwan issue and the six-party talks involving North Korea.