Jiangli (Joannie) Tian

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Jiangli (Joannie) Tian



Jiangli (Joannie) Tian is a businesswoman and cosmetic design artist. She is currently studying for her B.A. in Journalism at Humber College, Toronto. [1]

When she told her friends in China that she was interested in studying Journalism, they asked: “Journalism? Are you crazy? You are wasting money on journalism. The journalism field is dying. How do you plan on living? The salary and work conditions are bad for a journalist. You should better change your major right away. Are you ready to only eat tomato soup for the rest of your life?”

Jiangli's reply to her friends was simple. "For my personal reason, I come from an ethnic minority called the Tujia people in the People's Republic of China. In my hometown, I am the first and the only one who has gone abroad to study. So, people in my hometown are expecting me to bring something valuable and important back to them. I expect that I shall have that ability to bring something back in the future. I may not have a big money to help those who need help. But I could be a mentor who provides guidance and assistance to young people who are confused in their lives. This can only happen if I can become a knowledgeable journalist in the future. I want to help in reducing the school dropout rate and guide young people to choose better majors in college. Also, I want to tell them stories about the outside world. Most important, I want to change such old traditions as early teen marriage, leaving school early, and not valuing the education of females. All these have historically been associated with a future life of poverty. I expect to be a bridge who can assist students to study abroad and obtain a better education in the future."


After attending the Shanghai Villa Training College (makeup, beauty, manicure, design), [2] , Jiangli Tian eventually owned three nail salons know as Young Hand Salon in Shanghai. These were in three separate hotels. She continued to take training courses at the O.P.I. agency and distributor of cosmetic and nail products in China. After selling her nail salons to one of her employees, Jianli enrolled at the Dalian University of Foreign Languages [3] (大连外国语大学) and the Dalian New Oriental School [4] both in Liaoning province to learn English.

Jiangli was born in a village called Zouma, Hefeng county, Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture (恩施土家族苗族自治州). This is in the Wuling mountains (武陵山脉) in the southwestern corner of Hubei province. Zhangjiajie (张家界), Hunan province is the closest city to Zouma, a mere nine to ten hour bus ride.

Joannie Tian is a member of the eight million strong Tujia (土家族) minority people, which is the 6th largest ethnic minority in the People's Republic of China. Tujia means "local" people in contrast to the Hakka (Kejia 客家) implying "wandering" people.

It is thus remarkable that Jiangli Tian is less "local" and has travelled from Zouma to Shanghai and now lives in Toronto studying journalism, a discipline that is more "global" and "wandering" than "local".


Photo essay of the Tujia people. [5]