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Mainland, Taiwan youths reach each other in virtual world

06-21-2010 15:14 BJT

by Fu Shuangqi, Wei Wei

BEIJING/TAIPEI, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Living in Taipei, 24-year-old Lin Chin-yen's social life largely relies on the Internet, especially when reaching friends on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

"It takes around ten days to send a postcard to my friends on the mainland, but on Internet, our communication is in real time," Lin says. He has been regularly in touch with friends he got to know at a week-long summer camp in Beijing last August, through social networking websites and chat applications.

"We follow each other's updates on line, share interesting posts and chat. Sometimes they are even more informed than me about Taiwan pop music and TV shows," said Lin, a postgraduate linguistics student.

Another Taiwan youth, Liao Hsin-chung, attracted thousands of mainland followers after posting his "private history" of Taiwan at Tianya, a popular mainland-based online community, since May 2008.

Liao's posts were about what he thought his mainland friends needed to know about Taiwan over the past three decades, from the regional leaders' elections to mandatory military service.

Although Liao no longer posts his writings at Tianya, netizens keep leaving comments. The posts have attracted 3.3 million hits so far.

The posts led to a book named "Our Taiwan in These Years," and about 1 million copies were sold in the first three months after being published last November.

"My knowledge about Taiwan was limited to the films of Hou Hsiao-hsien and books by writers such as Li Ao and Pai Hsien-yung. It was really refreshing to read about things written by a Taiwan person my age," said Chen Hui, living in southeastern Fujian Province. "Maybe, someone from the mainland should write a similar book to tell Taiwan youths our feelings about the past years."

Last December, two popular websites, the mainland-based and Taiwan-based launched an online event called "Taiwan would like to know."

Netizens from Taiwan, mostly in their twenties, were invited to take pictures of their written questions about the mainland and post them online while mainlanders would reply in the same way.

Nearly 280,000 answers were posted by mainlanders to 268 questions selected from over 5,000 left by their Taiwan counterparts.

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