Sat, Jul 25, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Time not yet ripe for joint overseas celebrations: Jen

STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

The time is not yet ripe for the long feuding pro-Taiwan and pro-China overseas Chinese groups to hold joint celebrations for occasions that symbolize national sovereignty or carry political significance, a senior official said yesterday.

“Even though a Taiwan-China truce on the front of expatriate affairs is likely following a thaw in bilateral relations, the time has not yet come for pro-Taiwan and pro-China overseas Chinese expatriate groups to jointly celebrate either Taiwan’s Double Ten National Day or China’s Oct. 1 National Day,” Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission Vice Minister Jen Hong (任弘) said yesterday.

Jen made the remarks a day after the Hong Kong-based Ming Pao newspaper published an interview in which he was quoted as saying that pro-Taiwan overseas Chinese groups originally only celebrated Taiwan’s Oct. 10 National Day, but that now they also observe China’s Oct. 1 National Day.

In the future, Jen was quoted as telling the newspaper, the previously feuding overseas Chinese groups may consider holding joint celebrations of traditional Chinese festivals, such as the Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival.

Jen yesterday clarified that his comments were not as radical as the Hong Kong daily reported.

“What I said was that the two sides of the Strait should stop pressuring overseas Chinese people to take sides,” Jen said.

Following a cross-strait diplomatic truce, Jen said, Taiwan and China should also refrain from treating expatriate affairs as a battlefield because any confrontational attitude would force ethnic Chinese living abroad to take sides.

“Either side should also never again try to pull the rug out from under the other,” Jen said.

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