Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-15 10:16 PM
The 6th Annual Straits Forum came to a climax as a forum held on Sunday morning drew hundreds of representatives from the civic and social organizations from Taiwan and Fujian Province. This forum was hosted by Taiwan Affairs Office Deputy Director Ye Kedon and attended by several political heavyweights including Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Zhang Zhijun, minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), and Hung Hsiu-chu, KMT’s vice chairperson.
Yu made a nearly 10-minute-long opening remarks in which he delivered greetings from President Xi Jinping to all those present. Yu pointed out the theme of a “Harmony in Cross-Strait Relation, Happiness in Bilateral Development,” stressing that this forum is served as a platform for people from both sides to exchange feelings, opportunities for collaboration, and ideas for future.
Yu compared the cross strait relations to sailing at sea with inevitable headwinds, and the turbulence will ease after more mutual-respect and understanding. Grass roots exchanges play a key role, said Yu. Still, he insisted on the One China Principle in bilateral developments given “we are a big family.”
Hung started her speech by telling the history of First Sino-Japanese War, the event that has fundamentally changed the relations between China and Taiwan, expressing hopes for more understanding from China’s side due to the historical factors.
Sunday morning’s straits forum was followed by a dozen of forums, discussion panels, and activities in the afternoon, including cross strait financial forum and community governance forum.
From “Grass Roots Carnival” to deeper ties
The cross-strait event in the southern port city of Xiamen on the Chinese mainland features an array of activities on grass roots exchanges between Taiwan and the mainland. This event was also said as the biggest of such kinds ever for exchanges between people in China and Taiwan in terms of scale. Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the CPPCC, described this event as “Grass Roots Carnival” with great festive ambience. Some experts see this forum serves the purpose to narrow the distance between people from both sides and to improve mutual understanding.
Luo Hwai-jia, Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (TEEMA) deputy secretary-general, said a higher attendance of the civic groups from middle and southern Taiwan was observed and it is a good thing for cross-strait relation.
One of the largest civic groups from Taiwan attending the forum is R.O.C. Women’s Association Headquarters (WAHQ), which owns more than 500,000 members island-wide and sent 120 members last weekend to Fujian for a five-day exchange with local families and grass-root community groups. They also attended Sunday’s straits forum at Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center (XICEC). Mercedes Liao, the chief supervisor of WAHQ, said in an interview with Taiwan News that the group attended the forum every year since the forum was established in 2009. She said the objective of this trip is to “promote traditional family values, and establish good examples for generations,” which they been dedicated to conserving over the past three decades. “With deeper and wider interconnection, both sides may come to more mutual understanding and closer bond like a big family,” said Liao.