From Overseas Press

Ties warm up among cross Straits people

Updated: 2010-07-21 17:30
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Despite the status quo political disunity, people in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan are rapidly becoming closely intertwined, warming up their business links, cultural exchanges and family ties, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

More Taiwan businessmen are coming to the mainland for a windfall. According to the newspaper, over a million Taiwanese are living on the mainland, mostly in and around Shanghai, where they build personal ties, get married and have children. One of their heartlands is Kunshan City in Jiangsu, which is nicknamed "Little Taipei" for harboring lots of Taiwan businesses.

"I could see it was happening around me, people were moving to the Chinese mainland," 39-year-old Taiwanese Tingting Yang said to the Post. She came to Shanghai from Taipei seven years ago and runs a public relations company.

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The thawing of the cross-Straits relationship could be ironic sometimes. Former Taiwan military officer Martin Liou, said to the Post, "We were trained to land in here on a marine landing craft with rifles and tanks. Instead of a rifle, I came with a briefcase."

Liou is now Amway's vice president for Greater China. Last year he organized the largest group of mainland visitors to Taiwan, the newspaper said. As travel limits turn loose, there are 270 regular flights shuttling across the Straits each week, airlifting 800,000 mainland tourists to the island so far this year.

"The governments have their political concerns, their sense of pride," Liou said to the Post. "But we regular people, we want to make friends, make money, we want to see each other."

"If they (the governments) are patient, sooner or later, it's going to be unified," he said.

The cross-Straits warm-up has also helped clear up certain prejudices. Former Taiwan military serviceman Ting Chang-sing said to the Post that upon first arrival on the mainland, he "felt pretty much at home" and was surprised that Taiwan propaganda about the terrible conditions in China was not true at all.

Ting later enrolled in graduate school at Shanghai's Fudan University where he met his wife Zhou Shun. The two now have a 4-month-old son, and plan to stay, the newspaper said.