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Shared beliefs across Strait enhance exchanges, unity

Updated: Oct 24, 2023 By Li Wenfang in Jieyang, Guangdong China Daily Print
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The Three-Mountain Kings Ancestral Temple in Jieyang, Guangdong province, which has for years been a shared bond for people across the Taiwan Strait, will be upgraded to better facilitate exchanges.

On Oct 18, it was declared a base for cross-Strait exchange by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

Zhang Zhijun, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, attended the ceremony.

The worship of the kings originated in Jiexi county, where the temple is located, and spread to Taiwan. It is also practiced in Southeast Asia.

Originally known as the gods of the three mountains of Jin, Ming and Du, the worship of whom dates back to the Sui Dynasty (581-618), they were renamed kings by an emperor during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

In Taiwan, there are over 460 three-mountain kings temples with more than 6 million worshipers, said Wang Ruijun, a member of the standing committee of the Communist Party of China Guangdong Committee.

Taiwan people started to visit the temple in Jiexi in 1988. Between 1998 and 2021, 15,000 people in 405 groups from Taiwan visited the temple. Groups from Jieyang also visited Taiwan.

The three-mountain kings temples across the Strait stand as a witness of exchanges among compatriots on both sides sharing the same roots and origin, Wang said.

The associated folk belief and culture reflect the wish of people on both sides of the Strait for the peace and prosperity of the country and the people, he said.

The establishment of the base in Jieyang signifies the recognition of and support for the three-mountain kings culture, said Liu Jui-der, chairman of the China Jin Ming Du three-mountain kings association in Taiwan, adding that the base serves as an important bridge for exchanges of compatriots across the Strait.

The worship of the three-mountain kings was brought to Taiwan by migrants from the Chaozhou-Shantou region in Guangdong during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Liu's association has 135 member temples.

The thriving of the belief in Taiwan reflects the recognition by Taiwan people of their native culture. Such spirit has supported their development in Taiwan and become the love for their ancestors and native land, Liu said.

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