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Cafe serves up warmer ties between Taiwan, mainland

Reporter: Tang Bo 丨 CCTV.com

11-03-2016 12:30 BJT

Full coverage: Cross-Strait Peaceful Development Forum

Despite the currently slowed progress in cross-strait political relations, cultural ties between the two sides have never really stopped. A café in downtown Beijing serves as a platform where cross-strait cultural events are held, and people from the two sides are encouraged to freely express themselves.

It used to be a factory warehouse, dating from the 1930s. But now it is a cozy cafe. Ye Jiande, an urban planner from Taiwan, took over the warehouse 4 years ago.

"I came here and started the cafe because I wanted to experience a different life in a different place. I studied urban planning at school, and I am trying to blending in here my expertise with a little taste of coffee," Ye said.

He named the cafe Shuangcheng, meaning two cities. It is in a bid to serve the best tea and coffee from Taipei in Beijing.

I’ve just enjoyed a cup of Taiwan Sun Moon Lake ruby black tea, something which can remind people from the island of their home. And this is the only place where you can have the authentic ruby black tea. But what this place can offer is much more than that.

Ye and his partners have been trying to make the cafe a place where people get to know the diverse culture from Taiwan.

Now lectures, concerts, and art exhibitions about the island have become routine at the lounge.

"We have movie clubs on Sundays, and I found that young people from across the strait have quite different views on what the movies deliver. They think differently on certain social affairs as well. I am happy to see them able to freely express and exchange their views and ideas here," Ye said.

So far there are more than 2 million people from Taiwan now working and living in the Chinese mainland. Among them, nearly 200,000 are in Beijing.

Public relations specialist Wang Xianhui is one of them. He says coming to the cafe helps ease his homesickness. What’s more important, it brings him closer to the city and its people.

"There are lots of books you can read here at the cafe. There are many times me and my friends discussed some topics from those books. What I like about it is that friends from the two sides are able to look at the same event from different perspectives. That opens my mind and helps me know more about them," Wang said.

That is echoed by event organizer Ma Chunyu from Beijing who sees the cafe as a window for knowing Taiwan culture.

"I organized some culture events, like art exhibitions, drama, and contemporary dance here. This place is more like a platform where cross-strait culture events gather. What I do here is show the mainland culture to friends from Taiwan," Ma said.

Back to Ye Jiande, he says he doesn’t use the phrase “cross-strait” that often because he has started to see a bigger picture of Chinese culture. He hopes to take more responsibilities in the future to bring people from across the strait closer to each other.

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