Madou township, Taiwan (CNN)For the last 18 years, Li Meng-han and his family have grown pomelos in a rural town near the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan.
Taiwanese pomelos, known for their juiciness and softness, are highly popular on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, especially during the Mid-Autumn Festival, an important holiday in Chinese culture that falls this year on September 10.
August and September are usually the busiest months for Li and other pomelo farmers in the Madou township, as they prepare for the harvest, but this year they’re facing an unexpected challenge: Chinese import bans.
On August 3, amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial trip to Taiwan, Chinese Customs officials announced an import ban on all Taiwanese citrus fruits — including pomelos — as well as two types of fish, citing “excessive pesticides” and “Covid-19 prevention” measures. Taiwan has condemned the move as violating international trade norms.
The announcement also came as Beijing conducted extensive drills encircling Taiwan in response to Pelosi’s visit — exercises that authorities in Taiwan said simulated a possible attack on the island. China’s ruling Communist Party claims Taiwan is part of its territory, despite having never governed it, and has refused to rule out the use of force to bring it under control.