Documentary explores cultural bond across the Taiwan Straits
Blood ties proven through historical facts: producer
Published: Jan 16, 2024 11:15 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

A documentary titled Across the Straits, which depicts the cultural bond between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, went online on January 15, captivating viewers through the historical and cultural bonds between the two sides. 

Renowned actor Chang Chen-kuang from Taiwan and Chinese mainland host Li Shaminzi are the hosts of the documentary. Together, they embark on a cultural exploration of the Guandi Temple in Dongshan county, East China's Fujian Province. 

Guandi Temple, established during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to commemorate the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) warrior Guan Yu, boasts a history spanning over 600 years. 

Guandi is the title used to worship Guan as "Emperor Guan." Guan, who was known for loyalty and righteousness, never assumed top power in Chinese history as he was a loyal figure to Liu Bei who established the Shu regime during the Three Kingdoms (220-280) period. 

The three-episode documentary, which premiered on the online streaming site Mango TV, sheds light on the historical significance of the temple cherished by both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, according to Wang Binren, producer of the documentary.

"The Guandi culture in Dongshan possesses numerous distinctive features, not only preserving a series of unique and integral folk traditions in terms of cultural heritage but also exerting a wide-ranging influence in cross-Straits exchanges from a different perspective," Wang told the Global Times. 

The monuments at the site unveiled that Dongshan's history dates back over 1,300 years to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when general Chen Zheng and his son Chen Yuanguang brought Guandi culture to the region due to military reasons.

Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

Photo: Courtesy of Mango TV

During the Ming Dynasty, General Zhou Dexing was stationed in Dongshan, a strategic military location, and established the Guandi Temple. It is from there that Guandi culture further spread to Taiwan later.

"The Dongshan Guandi Temple holds the story of the common cultural origins between the two sides of the Straits," Wang said. 

"The countless historical facts and folk anecdotes across the Straits continually prove that we share a common history, culture and blood ties."

Chang said Dongshan for him feels like returning home.

"It is a place where the people speak the Minnan dialect, share devotion to Guan Yu, and collectively uphold the values of loyalty, bravery, benevolence, courtesy, wisdom, and trust," Chang was quoted as saying. 

The influence of Guan on Dongshan is massive as the people of Dongshan incorporate Guan portraits in various aspects of life, including building houses and celebrating weddings, cultural scholar and artist Liu Ziming unveiled in the documentary. 

The producer also paid tribute to the locals for the shooting of the documentary. 

"Dongshan not only boasts high-quality natural resources but also possesses a profound and captivating cultural heritage. This cultural accumulation provides an incredibly rich tapestry for our story," he said. 

"We have engaged with nearly 100 experts in literature and history as well as local people. Each person warmly shared their lives and stories with us. Beyond the narration of historical events, the documentary also features the perspectives of ordinary people, as their authentic stories are more relatable and resonate with audiences."