Xiamen University 廈門大學

By greenteapanda

March 18, 2008

Category: Travel

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One of the reasons I went to Xiamen, besides curiousity, was to look at Xiamen University. With the similarities to Taiwan, I wondered how the campus would compare to places like National Taiwan University. I was struck by how new many of the buildings appeared, despite having been constructed a decade or more ago. Some people guessed that the tiles on the outside of buildings had been replaced rather than cleaned. This seemed like a strong possibility, with none of the telltale marks from rust leading downward from air conditioners or other contraptions attached to the outer walls of the buildings.

The lake seemed a lot more like a park than the one at Hainan University – partially because there is more than a few feet of room on each side of the lake. The one at Hainan University is surrounded on three sides by a ring road going toward the east gate.

Anyhow, how does it compare with Taiwan? For one, there did not seem to be many students outside studying. On a comfortable day like the day I went, there should have been many students outside reading books or doing schoolwork. I didn’t see anything like that. It was surprising how few people I saw. Even during break times, there were far more students at Hainan University – indicating the lack of students wasn’t merely because it is a mainland university.

Like other mainland universities, there were some bizarre works of art on the campus grounds. Maybe they are trying to emulate MIT in the USA?

Not far from the west side of the university was something I was quite surprised to see. The Beijing government tolerates religion that people keep to themselves. I don’t think that applies to Jehovah’s witnesses anywhere. Unlike in English speaking countries, you can’t just say "Ah, me too!" when they come knocking on your door to get rid of them. After all, China doesn’t have a large amount of Christians, and especially does not have a large population of what some would describe as a cult.

I haven’t even seen those people in Taiwan, a place where there seems to be almost as many Christians as in South Korea. On the other hand, Christianity in Taiwan is a lot more laid back, not militant like South Korea, and not a fashionable way to protest against the government like it tends to be in mainland China.

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