Taiwanese social media influencer Zhong Ming-xuan’s solo trip to Beijing challenges preconceptions and sparks discussions on China-Taiwan relations

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    Zhong Ming-xuan

    23rd February 2024 – (Beijing) Taiwanese Internet celebrity Zhong Ming-xuan’s daring remarks on political issues between China and Taiwan have always garnered attention. Recently, he posted a new video on his YouTube channel, documenting his solo trip to Beijing, China. The video not only surprised viewers but also earned Zhong praise for his high emotional intelligence and mature approach to the situation.

    In his YouTube video titled “Travelling Alone to Mainland China!” Zhong Ming-xuan shared his firsthand experience of exploring Beijing, China. He expressed his desire to personally experience and gain a deeper understanding of the people in this region. Before embarking on his journey, Zhong’s manager consulted a friend working at Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, who advised against the trip, stating, “If it can be avoided, it’s better not to go. I don’t recommend it.” There were concerns that Zhong might face difficulties entering China or even be deported back to Taiwan. However, Zhong firmly believed that “life is all about experiences” and felt compelled to visit this place at least once in his lifetime.

    After passing through customs, Zhong took a taxi to his hotel. To his surprise, the taxi driver, upon learning that Zhong was from Taiwan, stated, “In the eyes of us mainlanders, Taiwan is ultimately part of China.” Zhong calmly responded, “Yes, but when you come to Taiwan, you still need to apply for an entry permit. We, Taiwanese, also need to apply for a Mainland Travel Permit to come here. You can’t enter with just a passport.” When the driver sensitively mentioned the possibility of future reunification, Zhong replied with encouragement, saying, “I wish you the best.”

    The taxi driver then revealed that he had spoken to many Taiwanese people and noticed that those born after 1980 generally support “cross-strait reunification,” while suggesting that younger individuals, such as those born in the 1990s, might not hold such deep thoughts on the matter. The driver went on to directly ask Zhong Ming-xuan about his personal views on the China-Taiwan relationship. Zhong expressed that he could only rely on news media reports to understand China on a regular basis, but the authenticity of such reports remained questionable. He hoped that through firsthand experience, he could gain a better understanding of the people in this region. The driver also mentioned that people in Beijing often discuss political topics and are open-minded towards different opinions. This revelation surprised Zhong, who had expected people to be cautious and avoid discussing sensitive political issues. The driver even recommended visiting Taiwan to Zhong.

    In the video, Zhong Ming-xuan was seen exploring Wangfujing Street in Beijing and even sampled Taiwanese-style sausages at local food stalls. He acknowledged that the air quality was not ideal due to severe smog, but he found the locals in Beijing to be friendly. Zhong shared, “When I asked the lady a question just now, she responded enthusiastically,” and he noticed that people in Beijing spoke clearly with distinct pronunciation. Zhong also added that his previous trips to Cambodia and India had taught him to “believe only what his own eyes see.” He openly admitted that this trip to China had indeed changed his perception of the country. It reinforced his belief that “fear always stems from one’s imagination” and emphasized that if he had never visited a particular country in the future, he would not have the right to pass judgment on it.

    Within 24 hours of uploading the video, it had already garnered over 300,000 views, sparking numerous discussions among netizens. Many expressed surprise at the taxi driver’s willingness to engage in political discussions right from the start of the journey. Comments such as “I was shocked that political topics were brought up immediately. It caught me off guard,” and “Taxi drivers love discussing their political stance, but most Chinese people are friendly,” were common. On the other hand, there was overwhelming praise for Zhong Ming-xuan’s high emotional intelligence, with comments such as “After watching the entire video, I truly admire Zhong’s high EQ,” “Zhong’s manner of speaking is very appropriate. I appreciate your courage to experience it firsthand,” and “When visiting other countries, open your heart to learn and then form your own judgment. You’re truly amazing.”