For Friendship and Development: ZUEL held the 5th Cross-Strait Youth East Lake Forum


News Network (Correspondent Cui Zhenzhen, Photographer Peng Jia) reports on the joint efforts from the both sides of the Taiwan Strait for a prosperous future. On 25th April, the 5th Cross-Strait Youth East Lake Forum commenced at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (ZUEL), where over 300 youths from both sides gathered to renew friendship and seek common development.

The forum was guided by Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and All-China Youth Federation, co-hosted by ZUEL, Hubei Cross-Strait Exchange Promotion Association, Hubei Youth Federation, Wuhan Cross-Strait Exchange Promotion Association and the Chinese New Party Youth Committee, and co-organized by Taiwan Cross-Strait Youth Exchange Association, Taiwan-Hubei Youth Exchange and Cooperation Association, Taiwan Youth Federation and Taiwan Chinese Youth Development Federation.

Guests attending the forum included Wu Chengdian, chairman of the Taiwan’s New Party,  Sun Shengliang, head of Taiwan Youth groups and director of the Liaison Bureau of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Central Committee, Ning Yong, member of the Standing Committee of the Hubei Provincial Party Committee, Cheng Liangsheng, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Hubei Provincial People’s Government, Chen Xiaoyan, vice president of All-China Youth Federation and heads from Hubei provincial sectors such as Provincial Department of Education, Provincial Human Resources and Social Security Department, Provincial Government State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, Provincial Federation of Industry and Commerce. Hou Zhenfa, the Party Secretary of ZUEL, Yang Canming, president and Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of ZUEL, and relevant incharges attended the forum. The forum was also attended by Chinese Communist Youth League Committees from Wuhan University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan University of Technology, Central China Normal University, Huazhong Agricultural University and other universities in Hubei. Principles of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs Office, representatives of Taiwan students and teaching staff in Hubei, head of Taiwan Youth Base and the news media were also in attendance. President Yang presided over the opening ceremony.

Hou Zhenfa, secretary of the CPC ZUEL Committee noted in his speech that as exchanges between ZUEL and universities in Taiwan have become increasingly close and vibrant, “golden courses” on national conditions had been set up as a bridge for young people on both sides of the Strait. It was hoped that with opportunities presented by the forum, the youths on both sides would jointly shoulder the common cause of the nation through promoting and witnessing national reunification and rejuvenation. Likewise, the youths were also expected to facilitate exchanges and cooperation in various fields as active participants, and to boost peaceful and integrated development as beneficiaries afterwards.

President Yang Canming, on behalf of ZUEL, extended a warm welcome to the distinguished guests and youths from both sides for attending this forum. He suggested the participants take this opportunity to savor the charm of the great rivers and lakes of Wuhan, the “Heroic City, Vibrant City, Hopeful City” and relish the profoundness of Chinese culture and the vitality of high-quality development. It was expected that a brand new chapter would be written for the win-win cooperation between Hubei and Taiwan and a promising blueprint shall be drawn for the national reunification and rejuvenation.

Chen Weide, president of the Taiwan-Hubei Youth Exchange and Cooperation Association, noted that it was necessary to provide better service for the youths of Taiwan that study, work, start businesses, and live in Chinese Mainland for the further mutual learning and cultural exchanges between young people cross-Strait. He also encouraged the youths to make a greater contribution in realizing the great national rejuvenation and brave challenges encountered in the pursuit of the great Chinese dream.

Cheng Liangsheng, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of Hubei Province, emphasized in his speech that the Hubei Provincial Party Committee and Provincial Government have always genuinely aligned thinking and actions with the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speech to prompt “Gathering Talents in Jingchu” and “Eight Action Plans to Benefit Taiwan Youths”, two projects to provide more recruitment oppotunities for Taiwan youths to realize self-fulfillment in Hubei. At the same time, upholding the concept of “Cross-Strait compatriots are one family”, officials in Hubei endeavored to provide better platforms, support, and services and more favorable conditions for the youths of Taiwan.

Chen Xiaoyan, deputy president of All-China Youth Federation sincerely called on the youths from both sides to make joint efforts for the national rejuvenation, pool wisdom for new prospects, and strengthen friendship for better communication. She believed that achieving the national reunification is the common aspiration of all Chinese and the indispensable requirement for the national rejuvenation. We should constantly enhance our resolution and confidence, and work together towards that common goal.

Wu Cheng-tien, chairman of Taiwan’s New Party, said in his address that the Cross-Strait Youth East Lake Forum would boost the communication and cooperation between youths of both sides, especially provide Taiwan youths with a chance to have a better understanding of Hubei province. The New Party has released four initiatives, namely “I am one of the members sharing the bond of kinship of both sides”, “I am one of the members responsible for peaceful reunification”, “I am one of the members who determined to promote the integrated development”, “I am one of the members to strive for the same goal”. The Party has also introduced the plan called “A Hundred Taiwan Youths in Chinese Mainland”, an annual project in which 100 Taiwan youths are arranged to visit mainland for better cross-Strait integration.

Ning Yong, member of Standing Committee of the Hubei Provincial Party Committee, said that Hubei Provincial Party Committee and Hubei government had been prioritizing the communication and cooperation between the cross-Strait youths. Campaigns held in recent years such as “East Lake Forum”, “Thousand Posts for Taiwanese Youths”, and “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition” gained a heated response and active participation from youths. The broad masses of Taiwan youths are promoters of the communication and cooperation of both sides as well as the peaceful development in the cross-Strait relations. He hoped that Taiwan youths could contribute to national rejuvenation jointly with firm confidence for better development and people’s well-being. More Taiwan youths were expected to live, study, work and start a business in Hubei for the higher-quality development of this province as well as a better future of themselves.

The forum began with a writing ceremony. Heads and guests present jointly wrote the Chinese characters of “Dedicated Youths in the Integrated New Era”, which is the theme of this year’s forum.

A performance—Chu Music: East Lake—by Chime Bells Orchestra of Hubei Provincial Museum brought a visual feast to the audience.

In this forum, video clips demonstrating the entrepreneurship, career, study and life of Taiwan youths in Hubei were played. Moreover, in-depth interviews were also conducted, in which Taiwan youths shared their experiences in Hubei and Hubei’s preferential policies for Taiwan youths were introduced.

On Learning: A Journey of Youth, narrated the stories of two students living and studying in Wuhan, including Huang Yuting, an undergraduate student of the Law School of ZUEL from Tainan, Taiwan Province, and Lin Zhenqi from Taoyuan, Taiwan, a graduate of ZUEL and now a postgraduate of Wuhan University. During the event, the two both expressed their desire to continue their dreams in Wuhan. Guest speaker Cui Hang, a guide at the Hubei Provincial Museum, shared her experience of standing on a national stage, telling the story of the Communist Party of China and actively adding China’s voice to the world. Moreover, the unique cultural and creative products from the provincial museum were presented as gifts for the Taiwan youths. She welcomed young people from both sides to visit Hubei Provincial Museum to feel the charm of Jing-Chu culture, a distinctive regional culture of Hubei that emerged in the Jianghan Valley from the Zhou Dynasty to the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods.

On Entrepreneurship: A Light of Youth, told the stories of two dream chasers who have embarked on entrepreneurial journeys in Hubei, including Lin Jiaying, a post-1995 girl from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, who has rooted herself in Xianning, Hubei and Chen Mincen from Miaoli, Taiwan, who has carved out a niche in the rural areas of Hubei province. Building the grand “Chinese dream” cannot be separated from their individual “homecoming dreams” and “wealth dreams”. At the event, they shared, with their personal experience, how to seize opportunities and gradually make dreams take root and come true in Wuhan. Wu Zhirong, president of the Youth Functional Committee of Wuhan Taiwan Enterprises Association, introduced initiatives to benefit Taiwan compatriots for their convenience. Based on his personal experience as a Taiwan entrepreneur in Wuhan, he also appealed to all the youths in Taiwan to pursue dreams and start businesses in Wuhan.

Bao Songtao, Fang Chenying, Zhao Xueting, and Guo Yuhang, as the student representatives from both sides of the Straits, Hong Kong and Macao, recited a poem titled “China Under the Moonlight”. Their tender words, in a vivid and tireless way, depicted a tranquil, gentle, harmonious, and beautiful China under the moonlight, conveying a strong sense of attachment and devotion to the motherland.

On Employment: New Landmarks of Youth, told the stories of two strivers chasing for success in Hubei, including Gan Jiahua from Hsinchu, Taiwan, employed at Wuhan Central Hospital, and Lai Yanjun, a winner of the “Hubei Youth May Fourth Medal” and one of faculty members of ZUEL from Taiwan. They shared how they worked hard and forged ahead in Wuhan after completing postgraduate and doctoral programs. Invited guests, including Liu Qixiang, associate dean and associate professor of School of Economics and Trade, Hubei University Of Economics, and the laureate of “Hubei Youth May Fourth Medals”, Wang Tianshan, member of the Standing Committee of Wuhan Youth Federation, general manager of HuangDing Biological Technology Co., Ltd., and the laureate of “Hubei Youth May Fourth Medals”, Xu Kaixiang, vice president of The Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises in Huangshi, general manager of HuBei Zoan Precision Technology Co., Ltd., and  the laureate of “Hubei May Fourth Medals”, and Li Fangzhong, operations manager of City Business Department of CPC Optics Valley and a candidate for 2023 “Hubei Youth May Fourth Medals” called on young people across the Strait to join hands for a shared future.

On Integration: The Bloom of Youth, told the story of Xue Yingtong, a young director from Pingtung, Taiwan and Liu Yuyu, a geographical science major from Miaoli, Taiwan now studying at Central China Normal University, both of who kept pursuing their dreams in Hubei Province. At the event, Xue Yingtong played Dear Wuhan, a song she composed during the pandemic as her token of love for Wuhan. Students from Chen Yun Primary School—a school imprinted in our revolutionary spirit where Liu Yuyu once volunteered to be a teacher—also showed up to present their painting of Taipei 101 Building, Yellow Crane tower in Wuhan, and Lianxin Bridge in Chenyun Village, expressing the best wishes for a closer cross-Strait relationship.

Liu Huixia, an Olympic champion from Hubei Province shared her story with young people from both sides, “I want to pass on the sportsmanship to my peers from both sides. We strive, train, compete together, and thus promote our friendship.”

Yang Zheng, an alumnus of ZUEL, assistant president of Xinzhongyuan Ceramics Co., Ltd., and vice president of Ceramic Manufacturing Production Services Committee of China Building Materials Circulation Association brought a special gift to his alma mater. It was a ceramic plaque engraved with the logo of Cross-Strait Youth East Lake Forum and Foshan Alumni Association of ZUEL. Ceramic is also known as “china” in English. This gift was a symbol of beautiful wishes for the bright prospect of ZUEL and a stronger China.

At the end of the opening ceremony, youth representatives from both sides sang Tomorrow will be Better, a well-known Chinses song in chorus, in which The fifth Cross-Strait Youth East Lake Forum culminated.

During the forum, campaigns were also held, including “Welcoming Taiwan Youth” online and offline job fairs, Two Rivers Tour for Hubei and Taiwan youths, cycling on East Lake Greenway, the theatrical performances and visits for Jing-Chu cultural landscapes for Hubei and Taiwan youths.

Since its inception in 2016, the forum has invited more than 1000 young people from both sides and become an important platform for them to enhance mutual communication and trust.