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Soong's Visit Makes Headlines

James CY Soong, chairman of the People First Party (PFP) in Taiwan, has become a household name as mainland reporters closely track his nine-day "bridge building" trip.

Upon the 40-member PFP delegation's arrival last Thursday in Xi 'an, a fierce contest for news began to sprawl among televisions, radio stations, newspapers and wire services, providing easy access to the general public on the landmark event in the history of cross-Straits party-to-party exchanges.

During the past few days, Soong and his delegation visited Xi' an, Nanjing, Shanghai and Changsha.

Soong arrived in Beijing Tuesday afternoon. Many influential Beijing-based newspapers such as the People's Daily, the Xinhua Daily Telegraph and the Beijing Daily all featured it as the lead story Wednesday. Beijing is the last leg of Soong's trip to the Chinese mainland and he is scheduled to meet with Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

The People's Daily even reserved a special page for detailing news on Soong's every leg with graphs, pictures and thorough reports.

In the meantime, Wednesday's Xinhua Daily Telegraph boldfaced Soong's speech at the Beijing Capital Airport: "It is up to the Chinese people to cope with their own problems."

On the same page, a side-bar story by a Xinhua staff writer read: "Although temperatures from central-south China's Changsha to Beijing in the north plummeted, the enthusiasm of general public toward Soong and his peers does not weaken to the least."

In Wednesday's China Youth Daily, the story of Soong's visit of the millennial Yuelu Academy in Changsha was front-paged when Soong said there that no one could "block the trend of rejuvenation for the Chinese nation."

To draw the attention of local readerships, Wednesday's Beijing Daily placed a group of stories on the front page, which depicted the airport crowd craving to meet Soong in person, Soong's humorous Beijing dialect in airport speech, faculty and students of Tsinghua University vying to get admission tickets for Soong's lecture in campus and a poem written by an 84-year-old native of Beijing in honor of the PFP delegation's visit.

In the Focus Section of Wednesday's Beijing Youth Daily, all information related to Soong's speech at Tsinghua, including the route he took, the design of admission tickets and the presents he was to receive, were detailed.

Many television stations on the mainland, including the Beijing-based China Central Television, the Shanghai-based Oriental Television and local cable TVs have invited big-name scholars to comment on live broadcasts.

(Xinhua News Agency May 11, 2005)

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