Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Conversation with a Journalism Student and Shantou, Guangdong Province

Recently while riding a train in southern Taiwan, I had the opportunity to speak to student who is studying journalism at Shantou University in Shantou, Guangdong province in mainland China.  She was in Taiwan as part of a student exchange program -- a sign of the openness that is growing between Taiwan and mainland China.  She had several positive things to say about Taiwan, so I asked her whether she'd prefer to later work in Taiwan or Mainland China (if she had the choice).  She said Mainland China even though in her own words it was more "challenging" due to the level of censorship applied by the Chinese government.  Despite that, she felt that China would offer her greater opportunity since there was "more to discover".

Her story reminded me of many others I've heard from some of the youth I've spoken to in China -- frustrated by censorship but pragmatically accepting it as a part of life.  In a later post (yes, I have a lot of "later posts" lined up and am working on them), I'll write about another student I met who is studying law and journalism at a university not too far from Shantou.  Her story helps to draw attention to the broad array of views that are held by people in China.  However, it can be challenging to express those views when some of your articles are blocked from being published in the school newspaper because they're not "appropriate".

I visited Shantou (map) this past winter and also had the chance to visit Shantou University.  Shantou is less than an hour drive from another city I highlighted in a post over half a year ago -- Chaozhou, Guangdong.  Although Shantou is roughly in the middle of two other cities covered in recent posts, Hong Kong & Taipei, and shares aspects of their cultures, it is readily apparent that its economic development lags significantly behind them.

In my usual spirit I'll share a selection of photos to provide a glimpse of some scenes around the city.  The photos around the university in particular provide a hint of some of the issues I was exploring there.

students picking up delivered packages sitting outside, several with logos of the boxes
Students picking up their recently delivered packages at Shantou University.  Notice a familiar logo?

PC's were the norm in the Shantou University library.

This Shantou University classroom was filled with Macs, though.

The people with umbrellas are actually part of an artistic piece at Shantou Unversity.

A typical street scene

One of the main streets of Shantou

A pedestrian shopping street

What was this man watching on the TV in a small restaurant?

American wrestling

However, I sampled their famous snacks & sweets.

A kiddie play area in a shopping center

A slide offers a quick and fun way to descend this hill in the Queshi Scenic Area.

A market in Shantou's central "Old Town"

Another scene in the "Old Town"

Harry Potter working his magic

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