Taipei: More than 2,000 Chinese visitors
swam across a scenic lake in Taiwan on Sunday, officials said, a
record number for the yearly event amid fast-warming ties
between the mainland and the island.
The swimmers were among a total of 27,000 who crossed
the island`s central Sun Moon Lake, considered a must-see for
visitors to Taiwan.
"That was a steep rise in the number of Chinese
swimmers compared with last year," said Shih Tung-hsien, an
official with Nantou county government, which organised the
event. Fewer than 500 Chinese took part in 2009.
Among the Chinese swimmers was a 99-year-old man, Liu
Junqian, from Guangdong province, who became the oldest person
to have finished the 3.3 kilometre (2.2 mile) route in its
Today`s event coincided with a historic trade pact
between Taiwan and China coming into effect, bringing the two
formerly bitter rivals closer together than at any point since
their split more than six decades ago.