joining the Foreign Languages Press.
As someone who still writes for a newspaper, White has paid a lot of attention to the protests in Hong Kong. He has pointed out that the problems of unemployment, low wages and high living expenses some protestors have complained about also existed back when Hong Kong was under British rule. He noted that Hongkongers should realize that the prosperity the central government hopes for will be deteriorated by these damaging protests.
White says he remembers very clearly what Beijing was like in the 1980s. Back then, and even through the 1990s, it was very difficult to get a taxi, as they had to be booked in advance at a hotel.
However, over the following decade and a half, taxis multiplied and could be found everywhere. White notes that he finds it amusing that in today’s age of smart phones, the situation has returned to the 1980s in a way, since taxis can no longer be hailed freely on the streets and instead must be booked through one’s smart phone.
“Now you see empty taxis, but they’re already going somewhere,” White pointed out.
He visits Britain about once a year. He noted that except for ever rising prices, everything in his hometown has remained the same. As to why he hasn’t gone back for his retirement, White said that he wants to continue to observe the changes that are taking place in the Chinese mainland.
In his opinions, China is interacting with the rest of the world more than ever.
Back in the 1980s, Chinese people seldom had the opportunity to travel abroad, while nowadays Chinese tourists are everywhere throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia. Back when he first came to the capital, his first impression was that Beijing was nothing more than a large rural “village,” but over the years it has become an extraordinary cosmopolitan city that attracts foreigners from all over the world.
The advances in technology have also grabbed White’s attention. While he still prefers using cash, everywhere he goes he sees people today using phones to make mobile payments.
White said that he can tell that the people he sees using these new payment methods are just ordinary people, not members of some rich family, yet he feels these people are far more relaxed when it comes to money. In his eyes, this is one of the most noticeable changes among today’s Chinese and it shows that they are far better-off materially speaking.
Among the piles of translated publications on the table in his living room, White showed off the newly printed version of The Analects of Confucius that he had worked on and pointed to a QR code in the book, noting in a rather excited voice that readers can now listen to an audio version of the book by scanning the code.