Studying at Peking University’s School of Economics, Zhang Enshuo, 21, who comes from Taiwan, said, “I think a lot of misunderstanding stems from a lack of connection, insufficient conversation, or a lack of interaction.”
Zhang drew this conclusion because he grew up in Taiwan, and now studies on the mainland. Having lived on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, he is one of many who can see that the gap between the “two sides” would never have existed if there had been sufficient communication.
He remembers a picture from his middle school textbook of residents from Quanzhou, Xiamen and Guangdong－coastal cities and province on the mainland－moving to Taiwan. But such content was soon removed from textbooks, and children younger than Zhang barely had a chance to learn the history of the cross-Straits relationship.
However, Zhang’s high school provided students with regular trips from Taipei to Beijing and Shandong province. Zhang visited both destinations, getting to taste the delicious local cuisine, and taking in the beautiful scenery in northern China, which is very different from that in Taiwan. He was also impressed by the warm greetings he received from locals.
Even though these trips were short, they opened up a new world for Zhang. After he returned to Taiwan from the journeys, he developed an interest in the mainland, and looked for books to read about it. He also talked to local elderly people about their time on the mainland before they moved to Taiwan.
“I think that face-to-face conversation and interaction is very important,” Zhang said in the latest episode of Youth Power.
These trips were also one of the reasons Zhang decided to study at Peking University, as he longed for a bigger stage.
One of China’s leading universities and a world-class institution, Zhang soon found that his place of study is a talent hub and home to the nation’s smartest and most hardworking students.
“My fellow students are all super excellent, so the competitive environment is quite different from that in Taiwan,” he said.
Such competition is driving Zhang to work harder and learn more.
“We cannot stop learning, because the world is changing too fast－way too fast－and if we stop learning we will be surpassed by others,” he said.
Zhang is a member of a Peking University startup company. He is also designing a social media app for college students to discuss whatever they want, whenever they want. By joining this project, he feels he is engaging in what he believes in the most－people-to-people communication.
He regularly updates his social media account with photos and videos for his friends in Taiwan to learn about his life at Peking University. “Many of my friends are curious about how I am getting on in Beijing,” Zhang said.
“In my experience, young people across the Taiwan Straits can be good friends through mutual respect, dialogue and interaction. My wish is that with better understanding, we can build stronger bonds across the Straits.”
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