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Many Taiwan residents staying for Spring Festival

By HU MEIDONG in Fuzhou and ZHANG YI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-10

Many Taiwan people who work or study on the Chinese mainland will not return to the island for Spring Festival this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they're still looking forward to a happy and secure celebration.

Authorities in Taiwan estimate that about 20,000 Taiwan residents on the mainland will return to the island for Spring Festival this year, down from around 100,000 last year.

The long quarantine required for those traveling across the Straits-14 days for a one-way trip-is one reason many have canceled travel plans.

Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said the mainland will ensure the many Taiwan residents staying put this year enjoy a peaceful and harmonious festival through measures including subsidies for companies and workers, free cellphone service to allow them to connect with families across the Straits and activities to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

In Fujian province, on the other side of the Straits from Taiwan, about 10 associations of Taiwan residents and business owners have called on Taiwan residents to spend the festival on the mainland.

Wu Chia-ying, president of the Taiwan Businessmen Association in Xiamen, Fujian, said nearly 70 percent of Taiwan-funded enterprises in the city have offered subsidies to employees who stay.

The city government has sent Spring Festival couplets, gift bags and shopping vouchers to Taiwan businesses and employees in Xiamen and a cross-Straits fireworks display will be held at the same time on Friday on beaches in Xiamen and Jinmen, Taiwan, Wu said.

He said most Taiwan students studying at universities in Xiamen will not be able to return to the island for Spring Festival, so the association will send dinners to their dormitories on Thursday, Lunar New Year's Eve.

Su Fei-chun, general manager of Xiamen's Hotel Discovery Inn, hasn't returned to her hometown of New Taipei City, Taiwan, since Spring Festival last year.

The hotel was converted into a designated hotel in February last year to quarantine people returning from overseas since it's near Xiamen's airport. More than 5,000 people have been quarantined there.

"I will stick to my post with my colleagues this year," she said. "We are going to eat hotpot together to welcome the new year and feel the warmth of home together, even though we cannot go home. The hotel is also going to prepare dumplings for all guests.

"My daughter is in her third year of high school in Taiwan and she is very independent. I often contact my family via video link, and they are very supportive of my work."

With the country calling on people to stay put for the holiday, Ye Cang-zhi, president of Pingtan Fukang Biological Technology, a disinfectant manufacturer in Pingtan, Fujian, decided to spend his first Spring Festival on the mainland.

"As a Taiwan businessman on the mainland, I want to contribute what I can," he said. Last year, the company donated 100,000 bottles of disinfectant to Pingtan residents and front-line epidemic prevention and control workers.

Ye said he has stored sufficient raw materials at the factory and put workers on standby to be ready to produce disinfectants in case of emergency as the epidemic is not over yet.

Contact the writers at zhangyi1@chinadaily.com.cn

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