40th anniversary of 'Message to Compatriots in Taiwan': Closer than ever to national rejuvenation
By Li Deyi
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the issuing of "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan." Elevating and achieving closer and better cross-Strait relations reflects mainstream public opinion on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Some officials say "we are closer than ever to the goal of national rejuvenation" in commemorating the anniversary.
Milestones in process of cross-Strait relations
On New Year's Day of 1979, the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC) issued "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan," stating major policies to realize peaceful reunification of the motherland.
The message marks the beginning of a new historical period in the theory and practice of resolving issues relevant to Taiwan, and a new chapter in the development of cross-Strait relations.
"Reunification of China today is consonant with popular sentiment and the general trend of development," the message said, reiterating that the firm stand of One China and opposition to an independent Taiwan are the basis for cross-Strait co-operation.
"Every Chinese, in Taiwan or on the mainland, has a compelling responsibility for the survival, growth, and prosperity of the Chinese nation," the message also said, encouraging every Chinese to treasure national interests and make valuable contributions to the reunification of the motherland.
Preferential policies for Taiwan compatriots
Over the 40 years, many policies and propositions raised in the message have become a reality and more preferential policies for Taiwan compatriots have been carried out recently.
Taking the 31 measures unveiled in February 2018 for example, the measures cover industry, finance and taxation, land use, employment, education and healthcare, and are aimed at sharing the opportunities of the mainland's development with Taiwan compatriots.
According to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, more than 1,000 Taiwan-funded companies have been offered tax incentives by the mainland, over 100 Taiwan enterprises have received financial support, and around 800 Taiwan residents have passed the mainland's vocational qualification exams over the past year.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the office, also noted at a press conference last week that Taiwan compatriots will enjoy further preferential treatment on individual income tax after a new regulation issued by the Chinese mainland takes effect on January 1, 2019.
Achieving peaceful reunification
"After decades of efforts, we are closer than ever to the goal of national rejuvenation and we are also more confident and more capable of realizing national rejuvenation and reunification," vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Tung Chee-hwa said at a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of issuing "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan."
It had been proved over the past 40 years that development would be difficult in any field without a peaceful environment, chairman of Taiwan's New Party Yok Mu-ming said at a 40th-anniversary ceremony.
In the past 40 years, it was because of peace that the mainland and Taiwan had gone through relations from peaceful exchanges to peaceful development, and would eventually reach the goal of peaceful reunification in the future, Yok said.
The mainland's reform and opening-up and modernization provided solid safeguard for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Chen Yuanfeng said at the ceremony, noting that the shared blood, history, and culture had always been an inexhaustible driving force for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.