A young Taiwan man's experiences on the Chinese mainland

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 6, 2022
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Kenny Lee, a young Taiwan man who spent more than half his life living and studying on the Chinese mainland, shares his experiences and insights with China.org.cn. 

Kenny Lee poses for a photo with the Club of the Year trophy won at Marshall University, West Virginia. [Photo provided to China.org.cn]

Lee, 27, describes himself as coming from a Taiwan family, but wouldn't say he is a "typical" Taiwan resident. He was born in Hong Kong and lived there until the first grade of elementary school, then moved to Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on the mainland when his father changed jobs. Afterwards, he spent his senior year of high school in Guangzhou and got his bachelor's degree at Xiamen University, Fujian province. He gained his master's degree in the United States three years ago and now works in the logistics industry in Southern California. 

"You see that I have a kind of complicated background and I can speak four languages," he explained. "I was educated mostly on the mainland and have never had school in Taiwan. But because my parents have many connections with all the friends and family in Taiwan and we have our apartments in Taipei, I would go back to my hometown almost every year during summer or winter break. I would say I have enough qualification to somewhat represent both sides — mainland and Taiwan." 

Having lived on the mainland for 14 years, he explained that he was most impressed by what it has accomplished in terms of development in such a short span of time. 

"China is no doubt one of the countries that has top tier of logistics, entertainment, technology, international influence, etc. Though there's still many issues in China, I'm sure that's just a matter of time." 

Regarding the relationships in recent years between the mainland and Taiwan, and between China and the United States, Lee said some extreme online comments that lack comprehensive thinking could hurt innocent people, which makes him sad. 

Kenny Lee (second from right) poses alongside high school friends in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, 2010. [Photo provided to China.org.cn]

Lee remembered when he was a child, the first place he visited on the mainland was a village near Shenzhen, where many Hong Kong and Taiwan businessmen invested to build and operate factories. However, he didn't have a good experience as a kid, only recalling bumpy roads, bad smells and poor medical treatment in the countryside at that time. But after he traveled a lot and learned more about the mainland in later years, he changed his mind. 

"It's funny that when I was first told by my father that I was going to move and have school on the mainland, I literally cried for three days. But now I feel truly grateful to have this kind of experience and life changes at the point which is the start to open my mind and forge my great adaptability to new environments and difficulties. I'm also honored to witness and experience the development of China myself," he said. 

Lee has many good friends from the mainland. "They are all indivisible parts of my life experience," he pointed out. "My impression of Chinese people is that they are very smart and fast learners. And I think China deserves to have rapid development as a result of having a highly competitive work environment and purposeful strategies executed by the government." 

He also had an amazing four years in Xiamen University. "I'm very lucky to have been in one of the top universities on the mainland because of the advantage I took from my Taiwan identity. This preferential policy makes Xiamen University provides extra quota for Taiwan students so that I had a better chance to get in." 

Kenny Lee performs on stage at his graduation gala in Xiamen University, Fujian province, 2016. [Photo provided to China.org.cn]

Not only did Lee make many friends and have great experiences on the mainland through the years, but he revealed that he also has a girlfriend. The pair fell in love before he left the mainland and then when the pandemic happened, their love became more precious amid the travel difficulties. "She's currently living in Guangzhou and we've been in a long-distance relationship for almost four years," he said, adding that he is open to returning to the mainland in the future for work if he finds a good opportunity. 

"I know that the Chinese government is doing what they thought is the best to protect the people and keep the country developing based on the domestic situation, such as having a large population and a complex history," he added. "I also believe the government can continue to improve while trying to enhance international prestige or reaching its goals."

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