Reading time: 4 minutes
Since October 1st, 1949, China and Taiwan have both claimed to be the one and only legitimate China. During the civil war, the communist party, led by extremist-born-peasant and later identified as the world’s greatest mass murderer, Mao Zedong, forced the already-ruling government to flee to Taiwan, whereby they took two million refugees with them; thus creating division and from my experience, also splitting the Yin and Yang of China. Today, China charges Taiwan as a ‘breakaway province’ that will one day be part of the country once again under its ideology of ‘One China’, but many Taiwanese want a separate nation with its own identity.
What is this quick-read article about? This article will offer a first-hand experience of the main differences between China and Taiwan and ultimately illustrate how the two warring factions couldn’t be less alike.
China is a magnificent, magical and majestic country that is overwhelmed with a history boasting thousands of years of emperors and dynasties and is characterised by its unmistakable cuisine, colours, culture and traditions… or so we think. The only one correction I would make here is to take ‘is’ and turn it into its past tense form, and then, it would be more or less correct and believe it or not, I’m not happy to say that.
Our preconceived notion of what China is, is somewhat romanticized from books and cinema, but in reality, China’s towering history and culture has and is, sadly crumbling down into a thick dust. Today, if you were to visit China, you might think that it seemed barren; if you were to imagine an ancient tree, old and brown with its roots long and pushing through cracks in the pavement to create unevenness, and its fruits were few and rotten sitting on branches eternally deciduous, suffice to say, this is also what you might think.
What do I mean? A common sight in China might have you see instances such as public urination, defecation, spitting, yelling, blinding pollution and frequent lawbreaking; these are just a few among a mass of tangled and somewhat troubling standards. Something somewhere has gone terribly wrong.
The people. It seems as if the people of China and their genuine and very real, ‘little emperor’ crisis has led the people to shake the tree of China fruitless with their greedy attitudes towards money and materialism whilst having a total disregard for the country and how it is perceived. Okay, so it’s true that this decline in values began long before the super baby syndrome, but, it does do a good job of highlighting the general mindsets of the common people today. If you’re not familiar with China’s ‘little emperor’ syndrome, see the link above.
There are, of course, bad people everywhere, but there’s something seriously off in China whereby the values and treatment of others is just way, way wrong and I say that with great concern. Here’s an example, in China, the likelihood of being physically attacked in the street is far less than it is in the West, but, if you’re attacked in the West there is a generally positive and willing attitude towards helping others, meaning you can bet your bottom dollar a stranger will help you.
If you’re attacked in China, I can almost guarantee you that no one will help you, not a single soul; instead, they will simply walk by with their hands behind their backs whilst you suffer a stab wound and bleed out. It’s scary, the value of human life in China is genuinely scary and it deeply saddens me to see such a wonderful country turn its back on humanity and almost praise uncivility and chaos. If my words don’t convince you, then watch this with caution.
I also encourage you to watch here for a deeper insight into China’s lack of good Samaritans. Learn something you didn’t know yesterday.
Taiwan is the second half of Yin and Yang, ‘Yang’ the positive and bright side, its customs brought from mainland China have remained and are very much alive, the streets are clean and the standards high and there is a sophisticated sense of organization and law. Think of Taiwan as a smaller tree than China, its roots far smaller and its bark far younger, but sitting upon its branches is a lush green foliage encasing fruits yellow, red, ripe and happy, if not willing, in fact, to fall intentionally to be picked and eaten if it meant helping others.
The People. From my experience, the people go above and beyond for strangers, and not for the reasons of personal financial gain that you might find in China, rather, simply because its how they treat one another. For example, during my time in Taiwan, I was forever commuting by bus to one part of the island to the next, and before even reading the schedule, each and every time, a member of the community, be it a worker from a shop or a pedestrian, stopped and told me what bus to get on and when it was coming without me asking a single question.
Okay, so that might seem trivial, but its an act of selfless kindness, a kindness that is first presented on the smiling faces of everyone, and I do mean everyone. Taiwan, for me, is ‘babies porridge’, it sits perfectly between an ‘overtly relaxed China’ and a ‘stick up the arse Japan’, and by that I mean, the people are professional, but not too much, and they’re relaxed, but just the right amount, it’s as if you’re visiting family, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
Watch here for a Clueless in Asia video of Taiwan’s mountainous village, Jiufen.
Maybe this all sounds biased, but believe me when I say that I never wanted to experience the things I did when living in China, but I did, and that’s my point, it’s there and it’s very much real.
Despite countless countries falling to the pressure of the Chinese government to ensure that they do not recognize Taiwan as its own nation, I can’t help but feel what a tragedy it would be if Taiwan were to lose its character, freedoms and expressions. And if one day, it were to be taken under the blanket, held and injected with the Chinese government’s policies and attitudes directly into its veins, I will light a candle for it.
As of today, both countries deny each other’s legitimacy and neither have declared peace, meaning, technically, they’re both still at war. Meanwhile, Hong Kong also demonstrates the desire for independence through protests and free speech, so, ask yourselves, would you want independence from China?
Don’t forget to follow the Clueless in Asia Instagram page for pictures and videos of places around Asia, like this one above where I’m riding an alpha-male ‘Hello Kitty ‘scooter in Taiwan!