One day in July 2013, Y and I visit his 9-year-old niece in Changchun.
At dinner, she asks me:
“Are there any positive aspects of having a different citizenship?”
I: “There are. If you hold a Chinese citizenship it’s not very easy to go abroad. You’ll need a visa for almost every country. If you’re from Austria, you’ll need a visa for some countries like China, but there are also many countries where you don’t need a visa.
She: “I see. Is there anything else that is better abroad?”
I: “The air is generally much cleaner in Europe than it is in China.”
She: “Is the air bad in Changchun?”
I: “Well, Changchun is still okay I guess, but if you go to Beijing, for example, it’s really bad. The skies are often grey and you can’t see the buildings just a few meters from you.”
She: “Why is the air in Beijing so bad?”
I: “That’s a question many people would like to know the answer for. Maybe there are many factories near Beijing.”
Y churns in: “And there are lots of cars on Beijing’s streets.”
Has a young kid ever asked you similar questions? I’d love to read your stories.