Zhang Lijia

Author Zhang Lijia visited Taiwan for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. One conclusion: democracy is not against the character of the Chinese, as leaders on the mainland sometimes suggest, she explains on her weblog.

Zhang Lijia:

What struck me most is the niceness (I know nice is a weak word for a writer) of the Taiwanese. At a computer shop in Tainan, a couple took the time and trouble to call all the hotels in my guidebook in helping us to secure the accommodation. The people here are chilled-out and well-mannered. It seems that they are the gentler version of the mainlanders.

Just like in Taiwan, the unpleasant behavior of mainlanders in tour groups such as eating in the subway and littering in public upset the locals.

I had never been to Taiwan before. I was tempted to go during the recent election but unable to make it due to other commitments. Taiwan’s successful transfer from an authoritarian system to democracy broke the myth that democracy doesn’t suit the Chinese.

Like most mainlanders, we welcomed the news of the re-election of Ma Ying-jeou. the leader of the ruling Kuomingtang (KMT). It was the endorsement of his policy of pushing a closer tie with the mainland, which has eased the decades-long tensions across the Taiwan Strait. And Ma is one of the most handsome Chinese men I’ve ever known. His wife actually sounds real cool. Until his election, she had always gone to work by public bus; she wears no make-up and often in jeans. Now having given up her job, she dedicates to the work of public warfare. I don’t think there are many of such official wives in the mainland.

Maybe one day when China becomes more democratic and modern.

More at Zhang Lijia’s weblog

Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

More on Zhang Lijia and China’s moral crisis at Storify.

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