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Cardinal Shan looks towards elusive mainland

 TAIPEI (UCAN): Paul Cardinal Shan Kuo-hsi, who was denied a travel permit to visit the place of his birth on mainland China in June, has done the next best thing by going to a Taiwanese archipelago just off the Chinese coast.
The retired Cardinal Shan went to the Matsu Islands at the end of August, a former military zone a few nautical miles off the coast of China’s Fujian province, but more than 100 nautical miles from Taiwan itself, to speak about peace and love.
During his visit, the retired archbishop of Kaohsiung spoke on life to about 400 residents and military officers stationed there, as well as other guests. He also joined a dialogue with a Buddhist master, Hsing Yun, and Chen Chang-ven, the president of the Red Cross Society of Taiwan, on Charity and Peace, which preceded the opening of an international peace forum on August 25 hosted by the Lienchiang county government.
“Charity seems to have nothing to do with peace, but it is a foundation for it. It is a medicine to eliminate destructive factors to peace, such as selfishness, arrogance and greed,” Cardinal Shan said during the dialogue.
Lienchiang county has two administrations, Lianjiang, which belongs to the mainland and is controlled by the People’s Republic of China, and Matsu, the offshore section, which is under Taiwanese control.
Matsu became an important frontline military base in 1949 when the Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan from mainland China. Military control was lifted in 1992, but the scars of war that still remain remind the Taiwan people why peace should be maintained. 
In 2001, as cross-straits relations began to improve, Matsu was chosen as the first location for a direct sea transport link with mainland China.


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