Realities of similarities hit home with Taiwan youths

Cross-Strait exchange allows them to witness history, mainland's modernity

By Jiang Chenglong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-19 07:14
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Members of a delegation of young people from Taiwan led by Ma Ying-jeou, former chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang party, attend a ceremony paying homage to Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, in Huangling county, Shaanxi province, on April 4. CHEN YEHUA/XINHUA

In recent years, there has been a popular phrase circulating among young Chinese — "Whose DNA has been stirred up?" — which means being emotionally moved by something that one has been deeply affected by in the past.

Earlier this month, I felt my "DNA" being stirred when I heard 20 students from Taiwan singing the theme song of a movie at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Led by former chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang party Ma Ying-jeou, the students were on an 11-day visit to the mainland, taking in Guangdong and Shaanxi provinces and Beijing, visiting high-tech companies as well as historical and cultural sites.

The Taiwan-made movie, You Are the Apple of My Eye, is a love story of regret set at a university. After its release on the mainland in 2012, it became one of the most popular Taiwan films, along with its theme song.

More than a decade later, I witnessed 20 Taiwan youths singing the theme song Those Years on stage during a fellowship activity at Sun Yat-sen University. Even though I was a journalist appointed to cover all of Ma's visit, I couldn't help but sing along softly.

During the fellowship activity, young people from the mainland and Taiwan also gave various performances including piano recitals and singing popular songs. They also exchanged gifts, with the Taiwan youths receiving annual membership cards for the video streaming website iQiyi.

The heartwarming and harmonious scenes involving the young people from across the Strait were even enough to make some observers forget about the unprecedented tension in recent years. Ma said in his speech at the university that his second mainland visit was aimed at promoting cross-Strait student exchanges, which he emphasized was the "most important purpose of his trip, and the goal I have striven for".

He pointed out that students, because of their common language and similar ages, naturally interacted warmly with each other.

"Besides sharing common interests and trends, students also share the pressures and worries typical of their age," said the former KMT leader. "Although their time spent together was short, everyone quickly established communication channels through WeChat without the need for reminders."

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