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Voice across the Straits: Communication and peace should be the way forward

Reality Check

 , Updated 19:32, 18-Jan-2024

Editor's note: Lai Ching-te of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party has won the region's leadership election, which has further put the Taiwan island in a limbo. What does the future hold for cross-Straits relations? Tune into this episode of Reality Check and hear what people from different walks of life in Taiwan think. The views expressed in the video are their owns and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Edited excerpts:

CGTN: The cross-Straits relationship is definitely facing challenges, especially now with everything that's going on around us. And it's a relationship that's going to affect everyone of us sitting here– you, me, and my camera crews who are sitting right in front of me right now. What do you see is the biggest challenge in this cross-Straits relationship? And how would you suggest that we as young people tackle them? I'm going to start with Miss Zhang.

Zhang Wenlin: I think the biggest challenge is misunderstanding. People across the Straits lack of communication. And the internet, however, really cannot convince things or (offer) real experience very well. Therefore, this may lead to many misunderstandings. However, (if) we actually come into contact, we will find that everyone is very friendly. So I think that people across the Straits should engage in more communication, especially the young people like us to first (have) better understanding between people on both sides led by reducing misunderstandings.

CGTN: Mr. Wu, what do you think?

Wu Pengting: Yeah, I agree with the opinion of Miss Zhang. I think more communication across the Straits is very important to know each other and to respect the difference. The young people, they will use the TikTok or use the Xiaohongshu (China's Instagram-like social platform), so they can know each other very well. I think it's a good way towards (re)union.

CGTN: And Director Xu, I'm going to come back to the Xiaohongshu point in a minute, but Director Xu, I want to get your opinion first.

Xu Yuge: Yeah, I agree, but I think the big challenge is about social media. Because so many social media (platforms and accounts) do not show the right things or right opinion for the people across the Straits. So sometimes when we look at the social media, we may mistake some questions or some problems. So, I think Mr. Wu is right, because Xiaohongshu, TikTok, YouTube, they will show the more real things on the internet.

CGTN: Then let's talk about the Xiaohongshu point for a minute, because it's a very interesting thing. Why is it so popular in Taiwan? I mean, on Chinese mainland, I think we use Douyin, the TikTok Chinese version, way more than we use Xiaohongshu, but it seems like at least from what I've read, Xiaohongshu is a huge deal in Taiwan, isn't it?

Xu Yuge: I think because Xiaohongshu (is) different from TikTok or Douyin because people in Taiwan cannot see Douyin. They (can) just see TikTok, but Xiaohongshu is different. And I think not just people in Taiwan use Xiaohongshu, because Koreans, Japanese, I think they all use Xiaohongshu because there's more (about) life, because everybody shows their life and they will show some popular shops or coffee shops and show the picture and show some opinions in there. So I think it's very popular in Taiwan.

CGTN: Mr. Wu, do you think Xiaohongshu or social media like that is bringing young people from both sides together?

Wu Pengting: Yes, I think so. Take my nephew as example. In Taiwan, everybody knows that people in Taiwan use the traditional character. And in Chinese mainland, people use the simplified character. But after, like TikTok or Xiaohongshu, (became) very popular in Taiwan, lots of the very young people, like in elementary school or the junior high school, some of the students use the simplified character at the junior high school. So, I think it’s the influence from Chinese mainland to Taiwan.

CGTN: I'm going to ask a question and for each of you just say whatever comes to your mind first in reaction to it. And we'll go from Miss. Zhang to Mr. Wu, then to Director Xu. If there's one thing that you could do to change the cross-Straits relationship, what would it be?

Zhang Wenlin: More exchange of thoughts and information.

Wu Pengting: I think to communicate is the most important.

Xu Yuge: (To) communicate and show more and more real things for people across the Straits is very important.

CGTN: If there's one impression about the mainland in Taiwan that you could change, what would it be?

Zhang Wenlin: I think I will tell them there are many magnificent places to visit in Chinese mainland.

Wu Pengting: Yeah, I think Chinese mainland is full of diversity.

Xu Yuge: I think it's very hard to answer this question because there’s a very long history between us. But I think do the best for yourself and show the good things for your people and things will go better and better.

CGTN: Again, change of perspective. If there's one impression about Taiwan that you want to change in the Chinese mainland, what is it going to be?

Zhang Wenlin: I think that I will tell people here that people in Taiwan are very kind, not just like on the internet, maybe sometimes they watch the internet and they will find why people in Taiwan are being so mean? But no, we are very kind.

CGTN: One word to describe your expectation about the future of the cross-Straits relations.

Zhang Wenlin: Peace.

Wu Pengting: Yeah, peace too.

Xu Yuge: Peace.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

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