BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chen Chien-ming and Xiong Tingting's cross-strait marriage would not have been possible 25 years ago.
The two students first met in 2005 while participating in a cross-strait exchange program in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Chen's major at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan was called "studies of communist bandits" when the island was governed under martial law between 1948 and 1987. It is now called "mainland studies."
He ended up marrying a mainland woman who majored in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao studies at Peking University in Beijing.
When they finally tied the knot in Shanghai in 2007, their friends mocked up them by saying that they were really going to sleep with the enemy.
People on both sides considered each other to be enemies during the long estrangement between the mainland and Taiwan after the Kuomintang (KMT) was defeated in a civil war and fled to the island in 1949.
Both sides restarted communications across the Taiwan Strait in 1987, with Taiwanese authority allowing military veterans to return to their hometowns on the mainland.
In 1988, about 100 cross-strait couples registered for marriage. The number of such marriages increased dramatically in the following decade.
The year 2000 witnessed about 26,000 cross-strait marriages and the total count has topped 330,000 so far, with nearly 20,000 cross-strait marriages being registered annually.
Most of the first mainland women to marry Taiwanese married ex-soldiers who fled to Taiwan in 1949.
In 1995, Li Wenbo married a veteran KMT soldier who was revisiting his hometown in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.