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September 23, 2017

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'I Love Taiwan' initiative in Taichung sets Guinness record

TAIPEI--A total of 2,012 people, including Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, gathered to form an image of a person raising his arms in the form of a "V" sign Wednesday in Taichung, central Taiwan, breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest human mosaic.

The "V" shape is the motif of a campaign called "I Love Taiwan," initiated by Shaun Bettinson, an English teacher from Britain who in April called on people to upload pictures of themselves doing the pose at their favorite places in Taiwan to a Facebook page to express their love for Taiwan.

Bettinson said that he originally planned to collect 200,000 such photos, form a large "V" shape with the photos he received and hang them on the facade of Taipei 101 to celebrate the 101st Republic of China National Day.

He was forced to give up the plan after the Taipei 101 authorities demanded NT$10 million in royalties, until Taichung City's Information Bureau Director Shih Chin-wen approached him.

Bettinson and city government officials came up with the idea of challenging the Guinness record, previously set in the U.S. state of South Carolina when 1,458 people took part in a charity event in which they formed a picture drawn by lymphoma patient Ansley McEvoy.

Huang Mei-ching, a student from the National Taichung University of Science and Technology, said she invited more than 50 people to take part in the event and that they all wanted to "write a page of history for 'I Love Taiwan.'"

Bettinson, who came to Taiwan eight years ago, thanked the participants for supporting his initiative and described Taiwanese people as "ke ai" — Chinese for "cute."

Meanwhile in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, 1,000 people joined hands and completed a large installation artwork comprising 200,000 puzzles to celebrate Double Ten National Day.

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