Overseas Chinese inspired by latest Xi-Ma meeting

2024-04-12 China Daily Editor:Li Yan

Many overseas Chinese in the United States, especially those from Taiwan, felt inspired by the meeting on Wednesday between Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and Ma Ying-jeou, former chairman of the Chinese Kuomin­tang party, in Beijing, calling it "a milestone and a fresh start".

During the meeting with Ma and members of a Taiwan youth delegation, who were visiting the Chinese mainland on an 11-day trip, Xi emphasized several times that "compatriots from both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the same Chinese nation", "people on both sides of the Strait are all Chinese", and "there are no knots that cannot be untied, no issues that cannot be discussed, and no forces that can separate us".

Beijing's message is loud and clear, said Zhang Ruwei, a community leader in the San Francisco Bay Area. "It is the reiteration of adhering to the 1992 Consensus which embodies the one-China principle, the key to promoting peaceful development of cross-Strait relations."

Meanwhile, "we can feel the tremendous efforts Beijing has made to highlight the 'kinship' and 'affection' in a 'family' — all in all, it is the shared culture, tradition and history that define who are Chinese", and "the statement leaves no room for any foreign forces that want to interfere in China's internal affairs", he said.

It is noticeable that on the Qingming Festival, or Tomb-Sweeping Day, which fell on April 4, "Ma paid his first in-person tribute to the ancestral Emperor Huangdi at his mausoleum in Shaanxi province, which is also the first such in-person tribute by a former Taiwan island leader", Zhang said.

Ma's tribute signifies the importance and necessity for Chinese across the Strait to remember their shared origins, honor common ancestors and respect national traditions that have lasted for thousands of years, Zhang added.

Betty Yuan, one of the founding members of the Chinese Peaceful Unification of Northern California, who is from Taiwan, said, "It seems to me the Taiwan Strait will no longer be an obstacle preventing Chinese on both sides from reunification."

Watching the livestream meeting between Xi and Ma in Beijing made her emotional, Yuan said. "They are so close to each other, the table is like the Taiwan Strait — narrow, shallow and can be crossed easily."

Over the years, Yuan has been a strong advocate of the 1992 Consensus, and a persevering voice against "Taiwan independence". With thousands of overseas Chinese, she has participated in protests in the U.S. against Taiwan separatist leaders, including Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian and Tsai Ing-wen.

"It was encouraging to see Xi and Ma meet in Beijing for the first time since they met in Singapore in 2015. It is especially inspiring to hear that Ma pledged to stick to the 1992 Consensus," Yuan said.

David Shu, an immigrant from Shandong province who married a Taiwan woman, said members of the Taiwan youth delegation can be messengers to share with their Taiwan peers that "the mainland has always kept the welfare of Taiwan compatriots in mind, sharing the opportunities from Chinese modernization and the achievements of development and progress of the mainland with them", as Xi mentioned during the meeting.

Shu said he was happy to see that there were 20 Taiwan students in the delegation. "I believe exchanges and collaboration between youths (across the Strait) should continue, and it will yield abundant fruits because there is goodwill and faith among young compatriots in Taiwan," he added.

"When I visited Taiwan, many times young people there offered assistance when I got lost, or needed to locate a public bathroom," he said.

Once, a young man working in a coffee shop in Taipei accompanied him several blocks to make sure he could find the subway station. "He recognized my mainland accent. A flicker beamed in his eyes," Shu recalled. "During the walk, he asked me many questions about the mainland, such as the social media apps, online payment and shared bikes."

Marilyn Librers, former mayor and current city council member of Morgan Hill, California, said the U.S. needs to respect the stance of China regarding its handling of the Taiwan question. "It is critical and the core interest of the Chinese people."

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