Civitas and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting are glad to announce the fall Global Gateway outreach program to students and teachers in St. Louis. Richard Bernstein, a veteran New York Times and Time Magazine correspondent, reported extensively last year on Taiwanese notions of democracy as they relate to China.
WHAT CHINA SEES IN TAIWAN
“The old barriers have crumbled, the old animosities have abated, and as a result, millions of people from the authoritarian mainland of China now spend various lengths of time on democratic Taiwan,” writes grantee Richard Bernstein in this perceptive piece for Foreign Policy and the Asia Society’s China File.
“On average, about 11,000 mainland tourists arrive every day at Taoyuan Airport in Taiwan, the democratic, self-governing island of 23 million that mainland China considers a rogue province. Several thousand mainland students are studying at Taiwan’s colleges and universities. It’s just as quick, and almost as administratively easy, for a Taiwanese to fly from Taipei to Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangdong as it is for a New Yorker to go to Washington,” he reports.
So has the inevitable cross-pollination of ideas planted the seeds of democracy on the mainland? Not likely, says Richard, who spoke with several young mainlanders studying in Taiwan. “Ultimately, the reason the mainland authorities do not seem especially worried about ‘spiritual pollution’ being carried back to China from places like Taiwan is their confidence that they can repress it.” As one student told Richard, “We are forced to go back. We need to work. We need to live…The democratic ideology makes no sense for your daily life.”
Richard and Mark Schulte, Pulitzer Education Director, will be in St. Louis from Wednesday, Nov. 2 – Friday, Nov. 4.