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Political adviser building links to Taiwan

By ZHANG YI in Beijing and HU MEIDONG in Fuzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-11

For national political adviser Jiang Erxiong, president of the Fujian Federation of Taiwan Compatriots, helping young people from Taiwan come to the Chinese mainland to build their lives is her mission.

As part of the second generation of a Taiwan family to settle on the mainland, Jiang, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, offers many suggestions to government regarding cross-Straits relations.

The Cross-Straits Livestreaming and E-commerce Industrial Cooperation Park was launched in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Aug 29. It covers 8,000 square meters, providing services for young people to start businesses on streaming e-commerce, with leading internet companies, including Taobao, that have established offices there.

A livestreaming contest across the Straits was held there when the park was launched. After knowing that some Taiwan contestants had won offers from mainland companies, Jiang said she felt "a warm current in her heart".

"I am proud to serve as a political adviser and help more young people from Taiwan realize their life values on the mainland," she added.

That's closely related to a proposal she made during the two sessions last year.

As streaming e-commerce flourished during the COVID-19 epidemic, Jiang believes the industry is very suitable for Taiwan young people to start businesses and find employment on the mainland.

She submitted a proposal last year to government departments to enable more young people in Taiwan to enjoy the benefits of streaming e-commerce on the mainland, which was later listed as a key proposal by the CPPCC National Committee.

"The proposal, based on solid research, meets the expectations of Taiwan young people, the trend of development of the new economy on the mainland and integrated development across the Straits," she added.

The draft document of the national development plan for the next five years said the government will support Fujian province to explore integrated development across the Taiwan Straits and accelerate the development of demonstration zones.

Jiang said Xiamen in Fujian is a frontier city for cross-Straits integration and she believes the park will help promote the transformation and upgrading of Taiwan enterprises and boost entrepreneurship and employment of Taiwan young people in the streaming industry.

"It's beginning to take shape. More precise efforts will be made in helping streamers from Taiwan to sell Taiwan products to broaden the market of Taiwan enterprises," she said.

Her attention to helping young Taiwan people learn about e-commerce began five years ago. Since 2015, the Fujian Federation of Taiwan Compatriots has organized 12 e-commerce training sessions for about 1,000 young people, two-thirds of them from Taiwan.

Ranging from three days to a week, the training sessions include practical skills such as how to open a shop on Taobao and operate a social commerce platform like Chinese fashion and lifestyle sharing platform Xiaohongshu and video-sharing platform Kuaishou, as well as visiting tours to e-commerce giant Alibaba.

"It's a good platform for learning the new economic mode and gaining vocational skills. Young people from both sides can communicate and even cooperate with each other in the future," she said.

"Mainland celebrity hosts such as Li Jiaqi and Wei Ya are very well known among them, and they also dream about becoming the 'Li Jiaqi and Wei Ya' of Taiwan," she said.

Jiang said this year she will propose attracting more Taiwan young people to join the rural vitalization projects at the grassroots levels.

Jiang's concern for Taiwan's young people has a lot to do with her family background. She was born in 1967 into a Taiwan family living on the mainland. Her father, who was born and grew up in Changhua, Taiwan, came to the mainland in the late 1940s when he was 18 during the War of Liberation (1946-49).

Jiang's father stayed on the mainland after the war and started a family. Until his final years, he never returned to the island.

"My father loved to play the violin, and his favorite tune was a homesick song. He played it almost every day until shortly before he passed away," Jiang recalled.

Before the mainland and Taiwan resumed talks in the 1980s, cross-Straits relations encountered decades of military confrontation and no personal exchanges were allowed.

"Being away from his hometown for such a long time and facing cross-Straits tensions brought him unspeakable pain," she added.

"Taiwan is also my hometown. According to records, my ancestors moved from Fujian to Changhua, and they have lived in Taiwan for several generations. I also have a lot of relatives in Taiwan and visit them when I go there for work," Jiang said.

On her first visit to Changhua in 2009 to pay respects to her ancestors, Jiang found her grandmother's tombstone was facing the mainland, inscribed with the words, Jinjiang, the name of her grandfather's hometown in Fujian.

"There are many families like us on the mainland and because of the experience we are promoters and defenders of the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. What we are doing now is making sure the historical tragedy never happens again," she said.

Yang Jie contributed to this story.

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