The triple significance of the successful holding of Straits Forum: Global Times editorial
Published: Jun 15, 2024 01:34 AM
Photo: Xinhua

The 16th Straits Forum in Xiamen Photo: Xinhua

The 16th Straits Forum opened in the coastal city of Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province on Friday. This forum received enthusiastic responses from a large number of Taiwan compatriots, with representatives from political parties, organizers, industry representatives, community leaders, as well as guests from various sectors such as youth, education, culture, health, agriculture, fisheries, water conservancy, and folk beliefs, bringing the number of those in attendance to about 7,000 people, representing a significant cross-section of society. 

At this largest and most influential "grassroots cross-Straits exchanges," people from the mainland and Taiwan island expressed a common desire for communication and peace.

For the past 16 years, regardless of how complex and severe cross-Straits relations were, the Straits Forum has always persevered through all challenges, never missing a year. This is no easy feat. It is especially the case this year, after Taiwan regional leader Lai Ching-te took office on May 20 and made provocative remarks about "Taiwan independence," creating hostility and further exacerbating tensions across the Straits. In this context, the successful holding of the Straits Forum carries significant symbolic meaning.

First, it demonstrates the mainland's strategic confidence and determination in its policy on Taiwan question, firmly grasping the initiative and dominant position in cross-Straits relations. The mainland has always adapted to the changing times in cross-Straits relations, guiding them in the right direction. No matter how the situation changes on the island, and whoever is in power, it cannot change the fact that both sides belong to one China, nor can it alter the fundamental pattern and direction of cross-Straits relations, or stop the historical trend of the eventual reunification of the motherland. 

The more certain people try to obstruct normal exchanges between the mainland and Taiwan island and disrupt the development of cross-Straits relations, the more we must promote exchanges and cooperation in various fields between people, deepen economic and social integration and break through the trap of confrontation fabricated by the DPP authorities. 

In a sense, the more complex and severe the situation in the Taiwan Straits, the more prominent the significance of holding the Straits Forum becomes.

The basic principles of the mainland's policy on the Taiwan question have not changed and will not change. We fully implement the overall strategy of Communist Party of China in resolving the Taiwan question in the new era, improving the system and policies to ensure the well-being of Taiwan compatriots and their equal treatment on the mainland. 

From the "31 measures", the "26 measures," and the "11 measures," to the "22 measures on agriculture and forestry," and then to making Fujian Province a demonstration zone for the integrated development across the Taiwan Straits and building the first homeland for Taiwan compatriots and enterprises to land on, a series of policies have continuously promoted the deepening of integrated development across the Straits, improved the quality and efficiency of cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation, and vividly interpreted the profound truth that "when cross-Straits relations are good, Taiwan will be good."

Second, this demonstrates that the inherent momentum and deep foundation accumulated in various exchanges and cooperation across the Straits have formed an irreversible historical trend. Every time the Straits Forum is about to be held, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gone to great lengths to create obstacles, intimidate, and threaten to hinder the smooth convening of the forum. 

Regarding the 16th Straits Forum, the DPP authorities once again portrayed it as a so-called "united front platform against Taiwan," intimidating people in the island into not participating in and warning ordinary citizens and civil society groups to "beware of breaking the law" if they join. Despite this, it is still difficult to stop social groups and grassroots people on the island from enthusiastically participating in the forum. 

Over the past 16 years, the Straits Forum has attracted approximately 150,000 attendees from Taiwan island, which is the best evidence of its value. The more the DPP authorities fear cross-Straits exchanges, the more they behave like a startled bird, making much ado about nothing, which only highlights the popularity of these cross-Straits exchange activities among the people.

Since 2016, the DPP has continuously engaged in "anti-China," "resist-China," and "hate-China" actions, even labeling all cross-Straits exchange groups and political parties as "red," using tactics such as attaching the label of "united front" to obstruct political parties, associations, and individuals in Taiwan from engaging in cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation, and even sacrificing the interests and well-being of the people in Taiwan. 

However, the actual result is that while official cross-Straits exchanges have nearly stagnated, non-governmental exchanges have been steadily growing, forming a comprehensive and multi-layered pattern of exchanges and cooperation in various fields. The facts show that cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation conform to the trend of history, and exchanges, openness, and integration will eventually prevail over hostility, isolation, and decoupling.

In recent years, participants of the Straits Forum have been younger, with many young representatives from Taiwan actively participating and enthusiastically speaking out. As the most vigorous and fresh blood, they add more vitality to cross-Straits relations, demonstrating a promising trend of patriotic unity and succession between the younger generations.

Over the past 16 years, the Straits Forum has provided a platform and opportunities for youth exchanges between Taiwan island and the Chinese mainland. Many young people in Taiwan have used the Straits Forum to learn about and understand the mainland, finding a stage to realize their dreams. It is precisely because they dared to break free from information barriers, broaden their horizons and expand their minds, achieving new personal development on the mainland. Many "first-time visitors" [to the mainland] express their hope of becoming "regular visitors," seeing the mainland as fertile ground for growth and fulfilling their dreams. They aspire to leave their mark of growth here and ensure their youth is spent without regrets.

Despite the complex and severe situation across the Taiwan Straits, the mainland remains confident in resolving the Taiwan question and achieving complete national reunification. This confidence stems from moral strength, the power of the people, and cultural influence. The Straits Forum, viewed as a thorn in the side of the DPP authorities, precisely showcases the mainstream public opinion among compatriots on both sides of the Straits: opposition to "Taiwan independence," a desire for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and active exploration of integrated development.

Both sides of the Taiwan Straits are like flesh and blood, connected by unbreakable kinship. No force or difficulty can sever our familial ties or suppress our shared desire for interaction. The mainland is willing to strive with utmost sincerity and effort for the prospect of peaceful reunification, but will never leave any room for "Taiwan independence" separatist activities. We urge the DPP authorities not to go against the tide of the times, not to reverse the course of history, and not to obstruct people-to-people exchanges between the two sides. Otherwise, they will surely face the joint condemnation of both sides of the Taiwan Straits.