As the Wall Street Journal reported today, the number of mainland Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan is on the rise. Apparently, some mainland Chinese increasingly prefer Taiwan over Hong Kong.
According to Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, there was a 33% increase in the number of mainland tourists in Taiwan over the Labour Day holidays, while at the same time the number of mainlanders travelling to Hong Kong decreased by 2%.
However, if mainland tourists hope that in Taiwan they will find a friendlier environment, they might soon be disappointed.
Recently, the famous Taiwanese singer Bobby Chen (陳昇) gave an interview to Liberty Times. He not only stated that he endorses the Sunflower Student Movement, but also that Chinese tourists are not welcome in Taiwan. He said:
Mainland tourists should stop coming here. Should we really be sacrificing our quality of life? Some people say that if we don’t sign the trade agreement we will be marginalised. But I ask you: Haven’t we already been marginalised? The trade agreement made as look at our position more clearly, and although I haven’t taken up a clear stance during the occupation, if you ask me I will tell you that I am against the trade agreement.
He said that he has mainland Chinese friends, but he added that he finds it annoying when mainlanders talk with him about unification.
He further stated that Taiwanese people don’t need to make compromises with mainland China for economic reasons. Despite the huge opportunities the Chinese market offers, Taiwan’s domestic market is big enough to allow artists like him to make profits, he said.
Obviously, his remarks caused an uproar among mainland Chinese netizens. As Apple Daily reported, some of them left comments on Chen’s Facebook Page:
You Taiwanese yokels should first let your swindlers and criminals who come to China to do business return to Taiwan, then you’ll have the right to talk about whether we should come to Taiwan or not,
said one netizen.
Another one commented:
You Taiwanese dogs, you just allow your own people to go to other countries but you don’t allow others to come to yours. In the whole world no one will welcome you. Just stay in your Taipei.
Taiwanese netizens of course responded. One of them said:
What’s so extraordinary about China? Apart from its cheap labour, what’s this country’s impact on our lives?
Another one commented
If you look down on us, don’t come here, please!
No one exactly knows how many Taiwanese think like Bobby Chen. But one thing is sure: China hasn’t been able to project a positive image abroad. Whether this negative image is the reflection of reality, or the result of a complex web of fears, prejudices, and misunderstandings, is an open question.