On New Year's Day 40 years ago, the Chinese mainland issued a heartfelt letter to compatriots in Taiwan, opening a new chapter in cross-Strait relations. In recent years, the mainland has continuously introduced preferential policies for Taiwan.
More and more people in Taiwan are benefiting from the Chinese mainland's inclusive policy. Some of them even went to the Chinese mainland to study or work and experienced its open policies regarding the economy and trade, education, film, and television.
Travel and visiting
In 1987, Taiwan opened the door for people on both sides of the straits to return home to visit relatives. In 1988, more than 437,000 people from Taiwan visited relatives on the Chinese mainland. The number has increased year-by-year. Since 2008, when Taiwan opened its doors to Chinese mainland tourists, the number of cross-Strait visits has doubled.
In addition to opening to tourists, the Chinese mainland's treasured giant panda also embarked on a journey to Taiwan.
In April 2005, the mainland decided to give Taiwan a pair of giant pandas as a gift. On the morning of December 23, 2008, giant panda "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan," which means "reunion" in Mandarin, left Ya'an Bifengxia Panda Base and arrived in Taipei Zoo.
"Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan" first met the public of Taiwan in January 2009 at the Taipei Zoo. Tens of thousands of people rushed to see the cute pandas, sparking a panda craze in Taiwan. The zoo also took the opportunity to sell a large number of panda souvenirs, including T-shirts, dolls, and stationery.
According to the Taipei Zoo, many mainland tourists also visit the two pandas when they come to Taiwan.
Culture and education
According to data from Taiwan.cn, between 2008 and 2016, more than 100 universities on both sides of the straits signed inter-university exchange and cooperation agreements, with thousands of students studying across the strait and tens of thousands of students from Taiwan visiting the Chinese mainland each year. Also, research institutions and organizations on both sides of the strait hold seminars on a regular basis.
Relevant cultural departments often jointly organize large-scale cultural exchange activities, such as performances by celebrities on both sides of the straits and co-production of films and television programs. Also, cross-Straits civil organizations often visit temples and hold cultural heritage exhibitions on the other side.