Quake Shocks Sichuan
Nation demonstrates progress in dealing with severe disaster
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: July 19, 2010 NO. 29, JULY 22, 2010
A People's Meeting
The Second Cross-Straits Forum focused on the interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits

Since cross-Straits non-governmental contacts started in the late 1980s, the personal, cultural, economic and social exchanges between the two sides have been growing briskly. This demonstrates people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits have played a crucial role in promoting relations, and will determine their future. After Taiwan's Kuomintang Party took office in 2008, cross-Straits relations have become more peaceful and displayed a new pattern of "more frequent communication, broader cooperation and faster development." Cross-Straits non-governmental exchanges have entered a vibrant new phase, as indicated by the cross-Straits forums.

On June 19-25, 2010, the Second Cross-Straits Forum was held in Xiamen, Fujian Province. Based on the first such forum, this one achieved greater success. The Second Cross-Straits Forum remained an open, unofficial and people's event. The forum was co-sponsored by 30 organizations from Taiwan, and attended by more than 10,000 Taiwanese representing 30 sectors. Around 80 percent of the Taiwanese participants were not officials, and 60 percent of them were from central and southern Taiwan. The forum included 25 formal events, which were simultaneously held in eight cities in Fujian.

The Second Cross-Straits Forum set a new bar for people-to-people exchanges. First, it was widely participated in and held with great fanfare. Second, it focused on cultural exchanges, especially exchanges between local cultures of Taiwan and Fujian. Third, it highlighted exchanges of ideas of life. The Second Cross-Straits Forum featured events such as evening galas and cross-Straits choirs, sports competition and ethnic group friendship gatherings. People attending the forum were in high spirits, and their songs and laughter made the forum a cross-Straits festivity.

Fujian and Taiwan share the same cultural origin. People from both sides have many things in common. They speak the same language, minnan hua, listen to the same opera, drink the same tea, and worship the same Mazu Goddess. They were separated in 1895 when China's Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) lost a war to Japanese aggressors and was forced to cede Taiwan. The Cross-Straits Forum aims to bridge the two sides.

In May 2009, the State Council issued a circular on supporting Fujian Province to speed up the development of the economic zone west of the Taiwan Straits. The document pointed out that, as Fujian is close to Taiwan geographically, consanguineously and culturally, and the two places also have close commercial ties and similar religious believes, so Fujian has an advantage in developing relations with Taiwan. The document designated the economic zone west of the Taiwan Straits a pilot in cross-Straits exchange and cooperation.

This year's theme for the forum is to "focus on livelihood and benefit both sides of the Straits." The forum featured 25 activities including galas, religious worship and seminars on various topics such as cross-Straits air transportation, financial cooperation, tourism development in Fujian's Pingtan Island, traditional Chinese medicine, as well as science and technology. These activities are very relevant to people's daily lives.

During the forum, the Civil Aviation Administration of China announced seven policy measures for boosting the economic zone west of the Taiwan Straits and cross-Straits air transportation. It said that the airfare for direct cross-Straits flights would drop 10 to 15 percent following the forum.

A special plan to develop tourism in Pingtan was made public during the forum. Around 5.5 billion yuan ($808 million) and over 25 years have been designated in the plan to build Pingtan Island into a famous international shopping and commodity distribution center.

At the forum, online media on both sides of the Taiwan Straits passed a memorandum on exchange and cooperation between online media in Fujian and Taiwan. The memorandum said that online media on both sides of the Taiwan Straits should enhance information, personal and technology exchanges and strengthen cooperation on specific projects.

Peace, stability and development are the common aspiration for people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. The Cross-Straits Forum put people's livelihood and development at top priority. Through in-depth policy discussions the forum created a better development plan and greater room for consultation and cooperation.

The author is an associate professor of the Taiwan Research Institute, Xiamen University


Top Story
-Too Much Money?
-Special Coverage: Economic Shift Underway
-Quake Shocks Sichuan
-Special Coverage: 7.0-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Sichuan
-A New Crop of Farmers
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved