Taiwan Strait not deep enough to deter love
After five years of dating and overcoming various challenges including managing a long-distance relationship, a woman from Taiwan and a man from the Chinese mainland finally tied the knot last weekend.
Chiu Yu-chen, from Taiwan, and her husband Li Jian from the mainland celebrated their love by participating in a traditional Chinese-style group wedding in Pingtan, Fujian province with more than 20 couples in cross-Strait marriages on May 20.
As"520" is a homophone of "I love you" in Chinese, every year many couples choose that day to marry.
The couples, dressed in traditional wedding clothes, walked down a red carpet and performed traditional wedding rituals practiced in Fujian and Taiwan such as crossing lit flames, stepping on tiles, and exchanging tea and vows.
They also drank tea made from tea leaves from Taiwan using the water of the Minjiang River of Fujian, symbolizing the exchange and integration of the two sides.
The event took place at a scenic spot in Pingtan, the closest part of the mainland to Taiwan.
Chiu met Li in his hometown in Fujian in 2018, where they bonded over their mutual love of tea. Later they traveled around the mainland and fell in love.
Like many cross-Strait relationships, they encountered the challenges of distance during the COVID-19 pandemic as travel across the Strait was difficult.
"The pandemic came abruptly. Until last year, we were not able to be together, but we supported each other through it all," Chiu said. "It actually strengthened our bond and love for each other."
In March last year, Chiu introduced her boyfriend to her parents, who had mixed feelings about their relationship, but ultimately came to support and understand their love. In November, they registered on the mainland.
"I believe the shallow Strait will never become an obstacle to our love," she said.
Another couple participating in the ceremony, Yan Weijie, from Anhui province, and his wife Hsieh Jui-ling, from Taipei in Taiwan, who both hold doctoral degrees, met in 2014 in an academic program in Shanghai.
They later reconnected when Hsieh visited Yan in Fuzhou of Fujian in 2018. In the following year, they traveled across the Strait for dates.
"We overcame all the difficulties of a long-distance relationship and cross-Strait marriage, and made a lot of contributions to cross-Strait air tickets," Hsieh joked.
Despite the complicated procedure, the couple registered on the mainland and settled down in Fuzhou. "Thanks to the wonderful fate, we crossed the shallow Strait. Although the future is unknown, with him around, every day is a sunny day," she said.
As the nearest mainland province to Taiwan, Fujian has registered nearly 120,000 cross-Strait marriages, accounting for about one-third of the total on the mainland, according to official data.
As more cross-Strait couples make their homes in Fujian, the province has held group weddings and exchange activities for them in recent years.
Ouyang Xiaobo, deputy head of the Fujian provincial civil affairs department, said: "These cross-Strait families tie people from both sides with affection and love, and they are a beautiful testimony of cross-Strait integration and development.
"I hope these new couples will become disseminators for cross-Strait kinship and promote more people-to-people exchanges."