The 13th Straits Forum kicked off in Xiamen, southeast China’s Fujian province, on Dec. 10, bringing together people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, who belong to the same family.
Continuing the theme of expanding people-to-people exchanges and deepening integrated development across the Taiwan Strait, the event comprises 41 activities featuring interactions between young people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, exchanges at the grassroots level, cultural exchanges, and economic exchanges.
This year’s Straits Forum activities will last for one week and are expected to focus on exchanges at the grassroots level and between teenagers.
China will fully implement the overall policy formulated by the Communist Party of China (CPC) for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era and promote the peaceful and integrated development of relations between both sides across the Taiwan Strait, said Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), at the 13th Straits Forum on Dec. 11.
China will improve the systems and policies for safeguarding the wellbeing of Taiwan compatriots, ensuring they enjoy the same treatment on China’s mainland as residents, and encouraging Taiwan compatriots, especially young people in Taiwan, to pursue their dreams on the mainland of China, Wang said. His speech triggered a warm response from young people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
The forum’s nine exchange activities for young people have brought better experience-based exchanges to young people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait and infused youthful energy into the event.
At a forum on caring for the growth of the younger generation of the 13th Straits Forum, which was aimed at carrying forward the culture of children’s folk rhymes and enhancing mutual understanding across the Taiwan Strait, a little girl from Taiwan performed folk rhymes, bringing back shared childhood memories for the audience.
“I was born in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung. Children’s folk rhymes in the southern Fujian dialect of Hokkien are deeply rooted in my childhood memories,” Wang Jialin, project officer of a charitable foundation in Xiamen, said at the forum.
“Children’s folk rhymes are very good carriers of cross-strait cultural exchanges. I hope more children in the younger generation will know children’s nursery rhymes in Hokkien and better pass on our traditional culture,” Wang said.
In recent years, community governance has become a hot topic. Thanks to the Straits Forum, which has held forums on community governance for eight consecutive years, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have exchanged experience in community governance and enjoyed integrated development in this regard.
More and more Taiwan people have participated in community governance on the Chinese mainland. Xiong Qi is one of them.
Xiong has run a mediation workroom in Xiamen for many years. At the 8th cross-strait community governance forum, one of the activities of the 13th Straits Forum, Xiong and many other community workers and volunteers from both sides of the Taiwan Strait shared their practice and experience in community governance.
More and more Taiwan people have shown increasing initiative in and growing enthusiasm for taking part in community governance, according to Xiong, who has put forward a lot of feasible suggestions for community governance and integrated the volunteer spirit and ideas of community service organizations in Taiwan into his work in Xiamen over the past years.
The Straits Forum, which pools strength from both sides of the Taiwan Strait to promote integrated development, is also considered as an essential platform for deepening cooperation and jointly pursuing development.
“The trajectory of the economy of the mainland toward continuous and steady growth will remain unchanged, and the market prospects of the mainland will only get better and better,” said Wu Jiaying, chairman of the Taiwan Businessmen’s Association in Xiamen, who considers the mainland always the best investment destination for businesses and investors from Taiwan.
China’s Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 and many preferential measures rolled out by the Chinese mainland to benefit Taiwan, including the “31 measures” and the “26 measures”, have continuously created better conditions for the participation of Taiwan businesspeople in the economic development of the mainland and the construction of a common market for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, Wu noted.