Ben Sainsbury, China – 9 November 2009

Dear all,

It’s been awhile since I have left an update; things have been pretty busy here and fun as well.  This past week was the annual 3 countries down and feather exhibition. China, Japan, and Taiwan held in Taipei this year.  I had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan and witness the event.  Though obviously more of a private sector party, the Chinese government was not invited… Chinese communist officials are not allowed on Taiwan soil so a delegation of Chinese that could report back to the government was assembled and came.  We went as a third party to represent the American end of things in Asia.  Though strictly an Asian gathering many Far East countries sending products to America need to test through American approved companies such as IDFL in order to sell in the states.  And with America being such a big buyer they also had us invited.

Because this year’s event was hosted in Taiwan and just recently Taiwan has opened up more to Chinese visitors, it was the first time many Chinese nationals had a chance to visit the renegade province…. (Though I say they are different countries) The Taiwanese being very hospitable of course took the Chinese delegation to see all of the famous ROC sites, democratic sites, Taiwan pride sites, nature sites, and military sites.  Most of the Chinese delegation by the end of the day, though treated nice were appalled at all of the anti china rhetoric from the local Taiwanese.  Taiwan definitely leans more toward the west in independent thought and culture than their gigantic communist cousins to the north.  Taiwan is more westernized in thought with a hint of Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese cultures mixed into one.  Not to mention western capitalism has helped this nation flourish to where the average citizen has a far better lifestyle than that of the average Chinese citizen.   The Taiwanese have a fledgling robust democracy and are very independently minded and just in asking on the streets whether they are a part of China every single person I asked said no claiming that Taiwanese and Chinese cultures are fundamentally different.    But it is hard to explain that to someone from China.  For the most part everything went smooth as companies got to know each other but in the evening after everybody had something to drink and the business aspect of things was finished, the insults started to fly between the Taiwanese and the Chinese delegation.  The Japanese and us left early and left the drunk Taiwanese and Chinese to have their fun (nothing to serious happened between the groups) But overall I think both sides learned a little bit about the other and if hard politics between the groups can’t be established than soft politics is the next best option.

I am back in China now, working in the Chinese CIQ and have just under a month left.  I will be home around December 7th.  Time is flying by.

Until next week,

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