TAIPEI—The island nation of Taiwan is separated from mainland China by 110 miles of water, but the distance between the two countries sharing a common heritage involves more than geography. Many citizens of mainland China report discovering a different understanding of life after visiting their close by neighbor.
That discovery was the theme of a book launch recently held on June 8 at Tamkang University in Taipei for the new book “Mainland Chinese Students’ Predestination in Taiwan.” Edited by Professor Yang Chingyao of Tamkang University, mainland Chinese students’ discuss their experiences living in Taiwan. Among those attending the book launch were around ten mainland students.
Cui Yun, a master’s student at Tamkang University, recounted at the book launch the generosity of the Taiwanese public towards her when she suffered from Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (an autoimmune disease characterized by a drop in the number of platelets in the blood) and was hospitalized for a week.
“So many people visited me, including classmates from Taiwan and Mainland China, as well as strangers,” Cui said. “They took care of me 24 hours a day. This was such a special experience. I am deeply touched.”
“It is hard to imagine that a stranger would come to help only after reading a news article,” Cui said.
Another mainland Chinese student at Tamkang University named Xia Tianran wrote in her contribution to the book that during Cui’s stay in the hospital, “Strangers brought chicken soup and came to keep her company. Many students stopped by day and night to bring food. Professors and students helped her find a room in the hospital, and the university assisted in paying hospital bills.”
“I am truly grateful to all of you,” Xia wrote. “I finally realized that my understanding of human nature was too shallow. I didn’t know a person can be so kind and caring to another, even strangers. I was moved to tears. I was moved by Taiwanese people’s respect for each human being.”
Xia Tianran wrote that she has come to the understanding that a human being is not just a number, even if she or he is a stranger.
“I realized the value of being respected as a human being,” Xia Tianran wrote. “Even if the rescued person was not me, I was touched deeply.”
A Mainland student with the surname Zeng said that since he arrived in Taiwan two years ago, he has learned how to be independent while working with a group. In Taiwan, he can relate to the Taiwanese people and Taiwan-style democracy.
“Today, people in China can make counterfeit versions of everything,” Zeng said. “The one thing they can’t counterfeit is the Taiwan style of democracy.”
Mainland Chinese student Xia Yiping at Fu Jen Catholic University considers Taiwan his second hometown.
“It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly why I feel so emotionally close to Taiwan,” Xia Yiping wrote. “I think there are many factors: friendly people, imperfect but promising democracy, and defense of values are all good reasons. However, I believe that real affection is not affection for perfection. Real affection is when you can see its shortcomings yet still like it.”
“Mainland Chinese Students’ Predestination in Taiwan” is the second book Professor Yang Chingyao has published on the experiences of Chinese students in Taiwan.
“It is not enough that we each become independent, strong, and good citizens,” Yang said at the book launch. “We must strive to help others. We must continue to teach and touch hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of people. Let’s make every citizen aware of values and principles. Only then can a country be healthy.”
Translated by Zhang Yang. Written in English by Stephen Gregory.
Read the original Chinese article.