When I was in grade 5, my grandfather took his first trip home in 60 years to mainland China from Taiwan. Cross-Strait relations were being discussed all around me and I began to ask questions: Which party was legitimate, the Nationalist or the Communist? Is Taiwan part of China? Feeling skeptical about the one-sided answers I received, I decided to investigate whether or not the truth was slightly more nuanced. Listening to a lecture on “Taiwan Issue and National Defense” taught by Chinese Maj. Gen. Jin Yinan, I was awed by the complexity and sensitivity behind a small region. Although I wasn’t able to come up with a conclusion, that glimpse into major international affairs had a strong impact on me. I realized that my passion is social science, especially politics and history.
In middle school, listening to CCTV and BBC podcasts became part of my daily routine as I compared and contrasted the two news sources. I learned to always look at given information with a critical eye before blindly accepting them. In high school, I took higher level social science and humanity courses, the highlight being AP Human Geography.
While learning about geopolitics, I came across the fact that Tibet was shown as an independent country on the world map. I remember feeling surprised yet intrigued when my teacher talked about PLA’s annexation of Tibet in 1950, a piece of history that is contradictory to my existing knowledge. Reading A History of Modern Tibet by Melvyn Goldstein allowed me to further explore this largely forgotten history, and showed me that following the downfall of the Qing Dynasty, Tibet was involved in several conflicts between China, Russia, and Great Britain, and that there was a number of complex factors contributing to the demise of the Lamaist state. I found the Tibet issue fascinating as it shares some similarities with Taiwan, raising a number of questions. What has happened in Chinese history that leads to the dispute today? How is the status of Taiwan and Tibet affecting contemporary international relations? Writing an essay “——————” for AP World History gave me the opportunity to explore the history of East Asia beyond the syllabus of my AP World History class through independent research. While researching for this essay, I was intrigued by U.S.’ peculiar relationship with Taiwan and its establishment of the diplomatic relationship with People’s Republic China. This project made me realize that History and politics dovetail very well. History explains the influence past events have on the world we live in today, whilst politics offers a tool for possible solutions. And the study of both disciplines is fundamental to the understanding of international affairs.
My passion for politics led me to take part in the Vancouver Mayoral Election Campaign of 2018. Before that, my perception of political activities came mostly from books, a favorite being Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward. No matter how many books I read, experiencing firsthand the competition between politicians and corporation within campaign teams touch my heart deeply as I felt the glory of democracy. Earlier this year, I participated in the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Economics Competition. Within my team, I specialized in political economy and did a presentation to explain my views on the Trump administration’s aluminum and steel tariffs. British ideas about law and liberty are the cornerstone of Western civilization. Canada, my new home, is a great example of this.
It would be exciting to study in the birthplace of Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. I am ready to concentrate fully on international relations and its supporting disciplines for the duration of my undergraduate degree, which the British university education system allows. My future prospects include obtaining a doctorate degree in security studies and pursuing a career in national security and defense.