Simplified Chinese

Cross-Straits cultural bonds unite the family: China Daily editorial

Source: 2023-03-27

Although he is visiting in a private capacity, the visit of Ma Ying-jeou to the Chinese mainland on Monday has still captured much attention as the former Taiwan leader's trip comes at a time when cross-Straits tensions are running high.

Ma, who is on a 12-day visit for the purpose of paying his respects to his ancestors on Tomb-Sweeping Day and leading a delegation of youngsters for exchanges with mainland students, is the first former Taiwan leader to visit the mainland since 1949.

History has shaped the itinerary of his trip. As well as the visit to his ancestral home in Xiangtan, Central China's Hunan province, Ma's delegation will visit Nanjing and the Mausoleum of Dr Sun Yat-sen, who founded the Kuomintang. Ma served as the party's chairperson twice, from 2005 to 2007 and from 2009 to 2014. He will also visit Wuhan, where the first gunshot of the 1911 Revolution was fired, and Chongqing, which served as the capital of China in the early 1940s, when the Communist Party of China and Kuomintang forces fought the Japanese aggressors together.

Some youngsters from Taiwan are accompanying Ma, who is a legal professor at Taipei-based Soochow University. By learning Chinese history together, young people from both sides of the Straits can strengthen the cross-Straits cultural bonds, understand and stress the undeniable fact that the two sides are part of one family.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were over 9 million cross-Straits visits in 2019, with more than 6 million being those from Taiwan to the mainland. The number of cross-Straits visits is expected to again pick up now that the pandemic travel restrictions have been lifted.

Although Ma is not visiting Beijing and no high-level meetings are planned, given that one of the purposes of his trip is to improve understanding and communication among young people on the two sides of the Straits, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council has wished him a good trip.

True to form, Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party has been less than happy about the trip, not least because it comes when current Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen is on a trip to Central America. She is scheduled to stop off in the United States, during which she is expected to meet with US lawmakers, and they will no doubt try to make a scene in order to create frictions in the island.

Tsai herself came to the mainland in 1998 as a professor and member of Taiwan's "mainland affairs council" to participate in the second meeting of the talks in 1992 that reached the 1992 Consensus.

Yet she has put aside the interests of the people of Taiwan since she joined the DPP in 2004, and as leader of the island she has pursued a pro-independence agenda that denies the 1992 Consensus and has made Taipei a pawn in Washington's strategy to contain China.

It is this stance and her collusion with Washington that is escalating cross-Straits tensions.

Related Stories