China - Taiwan Province

Chinese mainland to help Taiwan minorities in typhoon's wake

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BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese mainland authorities have promised ethnic minority groups in Taiwan preferential assistance in trade, tourism and other sectors to promote the island's economic and social development after the devastating Typhoon Morakot.

Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said in meeting a Taiwan delegation led by politician Kao Chin Su-mei on Thursday that the ministry would lead mainland entrepreneurs to visit the island's areas inhabited by ethnic minorities to purchase local products.

The ministry would also encourage mainland commercial distributors to buy more agricultural products from Taiwan and help the Taiwan minorities participate in trade fairs on the mainland, Chen said.

Shao Qiwei, director of China's National Tourism Administration, told the Taiwan delegation that his administration would extend existing travel routes to areas where Taiwan's ethnic minorities live.

Shao suggested that the reconstruction work in the typhoon-hit minority area should also be combined with tourism development.

He Junke, chief of the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), said the non-profit organization has started fund-raising for Taiwan's victims of the disaster and would like to mobilize more mainland youth to help dropout students on the island.

Kao Chin Su-mei said that she hoped the mainland authorities could increase the purchase of processed agricultural products from Taiwan, especially from the island's mountainous regions.

Currently, about 500,000 ethnic people live in Taiwan, 80 percent of whom make a living by growing and processing agricultural products.

In another meeting with the Taiwan delegation, Yang Jianqiang, Vice-Minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, said his commission would encourage mainland people to visit the island and welcome Taiwan's minority students to study on the mainland.