It looks like being outside on election day could be too ‘dangerous’ for Chinese tourists
A couple of reporters from Reuters parachuted to Taiwan to cover tomorrow’s elections had an interesting piece today on Chinese tourists who, according to the headline, have “flocked” to Taiwan to “experience the elections.”
Kudos to the reporters for managing to get some Chinese to comment on democracy, an effort that yielded some very telling — and at times amusing — responses, including the inevitable tai tai dragging her husband away when he tried to share his views with the press (I myself saw months ago a wife slap her husband in public after he’d been handed a pamphlet by a Falun Gong practitioner just outside Taipei 101 in downtown Taipei).
Even more interesting, though, is information a fellow reporter passed on to me yesterday at a media gathering.
After a foreign reporter, perhaps slightly older than me, had shaken hands with Wu’erkaixi and, being introduced, asked the latter where he was from and what he was doing in Taiwan (“I’m from China, and I’m a political refugee,” which then required a hint on our part — “hum, June ‘89” — as the reporter seemed to be drawing a blank), another journalist, also a Canadian, told me he’d learned that a number of Chinese tour groups had been “ordered” to stay in their hotel rooms on election day.
Now, I have been unable to determine whether this directive applies to all Chinese tour groups or only a select few, and I also don’t know if the order comes from the Chinese side or Taiwan’s. One thing is certain: the Taiwanese tour guide who accompanied the group of Chinese walked away when the question was asked, while the ubiquitous Chinese tour guide/communist minder confirmed the directive.
So much for experiencing the elections!