Youth exchanges underpin bridge across Taiwan Strait

(Xinhua) 09:33, June 18, 2024

XIAMEN, June 17 (Xinhua) -- "Before me, many young people of Taiwan have already dedicated themselves to cross-Strait exchanges, and now the relay baton is in my hands," said Lai Yen-chun.

Lai, 34, a lawyer hailing from Taipei, has settled in Wuhan, capital city of central China's Hubei Province for 15 years. "People from both sides of the Strait never stop in this relay race," said Lai at the 22nd edition of Straits Youth Forum that was held in the eastern coastal city of Xiamen.

As a part of the Straits Forum, the largest event for grassroots cross-Strait exchanges, the youth forum gathers people of Taiwan who have succeeded in making a new life on the Chinese mainland in various fields and invites more to move across the Strait to explore more opportunities for personal development.

Since 2009, Lai had studied at Wuhan University until she received a doctoral academic degree in law. During her graduate study, she passed the national judicial examination and became the first licensed lawyer from Taiwan in Hubei.

Noticing that some Taiwan compatriots have difficulties in pursuing further studies and starting up businesses on the mainland due to a lack of knowledge of the mainland's law and policies, Lai joined in an initiative to provide free legal consultation and law popularization services for them.

She said such cross-Strait legal services were often met with challenges such as differences in some common expressions, leading to ambiguities in contracts in some cases. Given such circumstances, Lai summarized some knacks based on her own experience like making use of dialects.

Influenced by Lai, more and more Taiwan youngsters have chosen the same path as her to become a lawyer and share their strength in the public interest initiative.

Such exchanges and cooperation among young people help bridge the two sides of the Strait, which heralds opportunities for promoting peaceful development of cross-Strait relations no matter what difficulties lie ahead, according to Zhang Hua, a research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"No matter how the situation across the Strait fluctuates, youth exchanges must not stop and rather continue expanding," said Sean Lien, vice chair of the Chinese Kuomintang.

At the forum that attracted over 7,000 guests from the island, many Taiwan youth see Chinese mainland as a land of opportunities.

Wang Tien-shan, a businessman from New Taipei City, has also taken root in the mainland. In 2016, Wang established a bio-tech company in Hubei, a province boasting abundant herb resources, with a focus on the technology of planting traditional Chinese medicine materials.

Launching cooperation with local universities and research institutions, Wang expects to apply advanced drug extraction technology to this field and better promote traditional Chinese medicine.

As a witness and a beneficiary from the cross-Strait cooperation and integrated development, Wang believes he can do more, putting forward some suggestions on further boosting cross-Strait exchanges, such as mutual recognition of license between Hubei and Taiwan and employment subsidies for Taiwan youth.

"All of these suggestions have been adopted and translated into concrete measures by local authorities," Wang said.

The mainland released policy tool kits of promoting cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and announced to make Fujian Province, the host province of the Straits Forum, a demonstration zone for cross-Strait integrated development in 2023.

In April this year, Fujian released 13 new measures to benefit Taiwan compatriots, including providing internship programs for Taiwan youth as well as offering e-commerce and live-streaming training for about 1,000 people.

Observers think the annual largest-scale people-to-people exchange event conveys such a message: no matter how the cross-Strait situation changes, the mainland will always show respect and care for Taiwan compatriots, deliver benefits for them and promote cross-strait exchanges and integration.

"Currently someone in the Taiwan island seeks to erect walls against the mainland, but I pin hope on the bridge of youth exchanges to advance cross-Strait peaceful and integrated development," Zhang said. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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