China · Taiwan

Last week, an interesting youth event took place in Taipei concerning mainland-Taiwan relations. Strait Talk Taipei 2012 featured talks and question-and-answer sessions about cross-strait affairs over a week at National Taiwan University. Youth delegates representing mainland China, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese, discussed issues and presented conclusions. This was just the latest of a string of similar events that originated in the US at Brown University. However, what made it really interesting was the presence of large numbers of mainland Chinese youths, all studying in Taiwan universities, at the talks, who from what I heard, outnumbered local Taiwanese quite noticeably. Also, these mainland students were quite active in the Q and A sessions. Keeping in mind that many mainland students are first-year undergrads, this being the first year that mainland students can study fulltime in Taiwan, and studying in other schools, it was impressive that these young students took the time from their weekday evenings to come to NTU to listen to the talks. I was only able to attend the opening and the closing ceremonies, which were on the weekend, and not the actual talks during the week, unfortunately. The actual conclusions were nothing too extreme or creative (though my poor Chinese made me unable to fully grasp everything) but events like this are a nice way for young people on both sides to directly discuss issues in open academic environments (other Strait Talk events were held in the US, Hong Kong and Beijing).

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