Kinmen County office keeps connections with diaspora alive

Deputy Kinmen County Commissioner Wu Cheng-tien

An office set up by the Kinmen County Government in 2016 is working to maintain the county’s ties with locals who have migrated abroad.

The island county saw many residents leave for opportunities abroad in past decades, when local development was limited. Many settled in Southeast Asia.

During an RTI interview on Friday, deputy county commissioner Wu Cheng-tien said that during those years, migrants helped Kinmen through remittances of money. He said the funds were particularly useful in allowing islanders to maintain their religious culture.

Wu said that an overseas affairs office set up by the county government is working to keep ties with these former residents alive. He said the office has sent groups to different areas of Southeast Asia to help achieve this goal.

At the same time, Wu said that the combined efforts of the county government, the education ministry, and Kinmen natives living abroad have led to educational exchanges between Kinmen and Southeast Asia.

He said that Kinmen’s National Quemoy University now offers Malay language classes, while students in the university’s Chinese department have traveled to Indonesia to teach classes. At the same time, Wu said that many Southeast Asian children with ancestry in Kinmen now come to the island for university, with their families often accompanying them.