To walk around Tiananmen Square in Beijing or the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial in Taipei is to appreciate the divergent paths these two capitals have taken in the 21st century.
Nothing is more annoying than the uncritical writer who arrives at a destination and proceeds to gush over the local culture. So when I say I love Taiwan, I do so with the full expectation that I may be simply exorcizing the accumulated demons of a life lived in Beijing. But you know what… I absolutely love Taiwan and let me tell you why.
While there will be considerable fanfare today commemorating the 15th anniversary of the British handover of Hong Kong to the PRC, it’s worth noting that this is also an important anniversary year in the history of another island. 2012 marks 350 years since Zheng Chenggong (better known outside China as ‘Koxinga’) landed on Taiwan and forced a Dutch garrison to surrender control of the island to Zheng and his family.