Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Beijing: My home away from home


By Ben Blanchard

I never thought I’d ever go to China. This may not sound strange, except that from the age of 16 I knew I wanted to study Chinese at university.

It was the early 1990s, and memories of what happened around Tiananmen Square a few years ago were still fresh in everybody’s minds.

I’d just read a biography of Chiang Kai-shek, the man who “lost” China to the Communists and was forced to retreat to Taiwan with his rump Nationalist government.

It was not China that fascinated me then, but Taiwan. China was this strange, closed place with apparently no respect for human rights or democracy, while Taiwan was busy lifting martial law and having free and open elections.