Religious representatives from Taiwan traveled to the Chinese province of Fujian yesterday to conduct talks on a direct boat service during the high pilgrimage season to worship Matsu (
Cheng Min-kun (
"The local authorities have told us that they have already been authorized by the Chinese central government to accept as many pilgrimages as possible," Cheng said
He added that in the past, the temple had to cut through central government red tape to pre-approve the list of pilgrims.
Chen said an estimated 3,000 followers from his temple would travel to Meizhou Temple
"It is up to the MAC now to determine whether there will be a direct service. Otherwise, the boats will have to dock at a third country," he said.
The MAC announced earlier this month that quasi-direct passenger boat services to China would be allowed after the March presidential election.
Instead of fully liberalizing sea links, the proposal still requires boats to dock in a third country while paperwork is processed.
The only difference would be that passengers would not be required to change boats in the third country.
The Taiwan delegation, led by Chenlan Temple's chairman Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) is in Fujian to discuss the direct boat service from Taichung to Meizhou Island, where the sea goddess Matsu is believed to have originated.
Official estimates show up to 100,000 pilgrims from Taiwan travel each year to the temple to attend celebrations commemorating Matsu's birthday.
Her birthday is on the 27th day of the third lunar month, which falls on the first day of May in the Roman calendar this year.
Because of Taiwan's ban on direct sea links with China, the pilgrims have just two choices if they are to go to Meizhou.
They can either go with the cheaper option of sailing illegally by fishing boat to Fujian.
Or they can transit through Hong Kong to Fujian.
But sea passage across the Taiwan Strait is often dangerous, particularly during the time of the pilgrimage.
This coincides with the northeast monsoon season and climaxes with the Sea Goddess' Ascension Day on Sept. 9.
Cheng said the boat service is expected to begin in June or July this year.
The direct four-hour boat journey from Taichung to Meizhou should be available one to four times a month. However, the service is expected to be one-way only.
Taiwanese pilgrimages would be allowed to disembark using the so-called "Taiwan compatriot's travel document" (
The document is a special permit issued by the Chinese government for Taiwan citizens who wish to travel to China.
Officials at the MAC had suggested that foreign registered chartered ships be allowed to shuttle between Taichung and Meizhou, via a third port of call such as Hong Kong or Ishigaki Island in southern Japan, to help facilitate the movement of pilgrims.
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section
UP TO TWO DAYS: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said that most who got the shot and felt discomfort only felt ill for the first two days Employees can ask for unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave, from the day of their shot until the end of the next day, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, adding that the policy takes effect immediately. “The policy of unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave will be implemented starting on May 5, and all workers and civil servants will be eligible,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news conference. Leave can be taken on the day of vaccination and if recipients feel discomfort after getting the shot, they can extend the leave to all of the