Compatriots on both sides of Taiwan Straits longing for exchanges

After watching the live broadcast of the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, Lee Tung-hsien, a Taiwan-based taekwondo athlete, expressed his excitement when he noticed how the audience cheered enthusiastically upon the entry of the Chinese Taipei delegation in the stadium. 

"At this moment, I saw the great unity of the Chinese nation, and the mainland compatriots' aspiration for national reunification," Lee noted. 

On September 24, Judoka Yang Yung-wei won Chinese Taipei's first gold medal at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. "It felt like the whole crowd was waiting for this medal," Yang, who will turn 26 soon, said. Before the award ceremony, the "Happy Birthday" music was played in the arena, and the audience has sent birthday wishes to Yang. 

"We welcome the fact that Chinese Taipei has sent a large delegation to the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, in which 521 athletes are competing in 33 sports," Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Wednesday during a press conference.  

Beyond arena

However, Lee became a victim of cyberbully incident when he celebrated his victory at the Asia-Pacific Masters Games in May by showing a five-star red flag, the national flag of China, in honor of his Chinese identity. He has been showing the five-star red flag in international competitions since 2017. 

The move, however, aroused hostile consequences from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)'s supporters in Taiwan. Worse still, Lee was even warned to get a possible investigation.

The DPP authorities also bullied Winter Olympic skaters who exchanged training at the Beijing Sport University and received friendly team uniforms. 

Such acts only make cross-Straits sports exchanges regress, and also limit the development of athletes from the Taiwan region, Lee said, expressing hope that both sides of the Taiwan Straits will move forward hand in hand, learn from each other, and work together to bring glory to the Chinese nation on the international stage. 

Under DPP's "green terror," there is only freedom for supporters of "Taiwan independence," but not for those supporting national reunification, Zhu told a press conference in response to Lee's encounter. 

In Taiwan, the DPP and its supporters are described as the "green" camp. 

The attacks, accusations and even intimidation from the "green-camp" media and Taiwan's mainland affairs council have exposed the hypocrisy of the DPP authorities and their slogans of "freedom and democracy," Zhu added. 

Cross-Straits exchanges encouraged

The DPP authorities' "green terror" also disregards the public opinion and restricts cross-Straits exchanges.

Taiwan's mainland affairs council announced in August it will loosen restrictions on mainland's business and group travelers in a step towards resuming tourism. 

Under the guise of loosening restrictions for cross-Straits exchanges, the so-called plan imposed a daily limit of 2,000 trips for mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan, also imposing unprecedented restrictions on group tours by Taiwan residents to the mainland. 

The plan also restricts Taiwan enterprises from inviting mainland enterprises to engage in exhibitions and business exchanges in Taiwan. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, there were 2.71 million passenger trips from the mainland to Taiwan for the whole year, equivalent to about 7,400 trips per day, and the daily limit of 2,000 trips is less than 30 percent of the original. 

On the contrary, the mainland is always open to visiting Taiwan compatriots, and there has never been an upper limit on the number of visits. 

Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, slammed the DPP authorities for turning back the wheel of history in cross-Straits exchanges on September 13 during a press conference.

Prior to this year's Straits Forum, which is a platform for promoting cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation held in mainland annually, DPP politicians openly threatened and intimidated Taiwan's civic groups and people involved in organizing and participating in the forum on the grounds that they had violated the "Anti-Infiltration Act."

The "green terror" has not deterred Taiwan compatriots who want to go to mainland for exchanges. This year's forum was held in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, in June, attracting more than 5,000 guests from Taiwan.

According to a poll conducted by Taiwan's mainland affairs council, more than 80 percent of Taiwan's residents are in favor of the gradual resumption of healthy and orderly cross-Straits exchanges.  

"If you observe the flights to Xiamen, you will see the enthusiasm of those coming here. A threat cannot deter us, and it is futile. It is evident how people truly feel about it." Wang Chang-ping, vice chairman of Labor Party of Taiwan told CGTN during the Straits Forum. 

"We want peaceful development. We want peaceful communication," Wang added. 

(Cover: The 15th Straits Forum logo is shown in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, June 15, 2023. /CFP) 

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