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September 24, 2017

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Taiwanese expats celebrate National Day

TAIPEI--Taiwanese expatriates around major U.S. cities and in Paris celebrated Taiwan's Double Tenth National Day in advance on Saturday, with events ranging from a procession of Harley-Davidson motorcycles to a fair held in New York.

Some 120 motorcyclists drove through areas populated by Chinese communities in Southern California on Harley-Davidson motorbikes adorned with Taiwan's national flag. The procession to celebrate Taiwan's 101st National Day on Oct. 10, which is in its third year, was spread out over 40 miles.

The participants drove as far as San Diego and the state of Arizona, said Christine Chen, the director of the Taiwanese expat association in Los Angeles that organized the event.

The procession also drew other ethnic groups, including Filipinos and Indonesians, Richard Shen, who led the parade said. The parade, which lasted for nearly two hours, ended at the Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles.

Taiwanese expats in New York's Queens borough also observed a flag-raising ceremony and organized a fair on Saturday that attracted hundreds of people, including a 98-year-old woman and an infant.

Chang Tsai-tuan, 98, who took part in the events, was accompanied by her daughter and daughter-in-law. She said she had attended the National Day celebrations every year since she moved to the United States more than two decades ago.

She added that she always wished for Taiwan's peace during her daily prayers in the morning.

Lin Chia-yu, who immigrated to America more than a decade ago, also joined her fellow Taiwanese along with her husband and 10-month-old baby. She has named the infant Formosa after a sobriquet for Taiwan given by the West. Lin also dressed her two dogs in clothes based on a pattern similar to the Taiwanese national flag.

The ceremony was meaningful because it symbolized the expats' unanimous support and feeling of solidarity for their home country, said Andrew Kao, the director-general of TECO in New York.

Two official Taiwanese National Day receptions also took place in Miami and Houston. The recent announcement granting visa-free privileges to Taiwan by the U.S. was a major talking point at both the gatherings.

The visa-free status, which is slated to take effect on Nov. 1, was indicative that Taiwanese nationals' civility and decency had been widely recognized by the international community, Daniel Liao, the director-general of TECO in Houston said.

Taiwan's inclusion in the U.S. visa-waiver program further testified the success of President Ma Ying-jeou's "flexible diplomacy" that has improved Taiwan's participation in international activities, said Ray Mou, who heads the Taiwan representative office in Miami.

The two events drew over 200 and 1,000 people, respectively, including American politicians such as Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and members of the House of Representatives, as well as the local academicians, the industrial and business community.

The National Day festivity was also evident at another reception in Paris, which was attended by 900 Taiwanese expats and friends of Taiwan.

Michel Lu, Taiwan's representative in the French capital, said the country was negotiating a "youth working holiday program" with the country, with the hope of offering young Taiwanese an opportunity to broaden their worldview.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Sunday that Manasseh Maelanga, deputy prime minister of Solomon Islands, will visit Taiwan from Oct. 8 to Oct. 13 and attend the National Day celebrations during his second trip to the country.

Manuel Heredia, the Belize minister of tourism and culture, will also travel to Taiwan on Oct. 8 and join in the National Day festivities, a statement from the ministry said.

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