In Taiwan, hardly anybody tries to cheat me. In China, this often happens.
In Taiwan, the government doesn’t care who I sleep with, or what religion I belong to. The Chinese government may well take an interest in such things.
In Taiwan, the social system based on personal connections has mostly been a good thing for me. In China, the same basic cultural base has resulted in a system with all the virtues of fascism plus the mafia.
I have zero trust in China. I would warn businesspeople not to invest in it, because you can’t trust anybody (and they can do bad things to you if you live there). I would warn government people etc. never, ever to believe what the Chinese government says.
I went to Tibet and Beijing a couple of years ago. Tibet is a police state–I mean that literally. The police followed me around, and they got into my e-mail.
I had been to Beijing once before back in 1990, and had good memories of it, but this time I hated the place. There’s something about it I can’t put my finger on. Not that it has the police-state feel of Tibet–it’s a lot more free-wheeling, as long as you don’t practice Falungong or something–but there’s an edge to things. For instance, they were promoting their Olympic bid (which they later won, of course) and gave the impression that they felt they had a right to it, and other countries would bow before them. And then there’s the Muslim quarter (Niujie), which was being bulldozed to make room for something concrete and modern. It’s all just money and power now. At least during the Cultural Revolution they actually believed in something!
Okay, end of sermon.