Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for September 22nd, 2010

China Fact- Separating Fact From Fiction in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 22, 2010


There is a lot of hype and/or information about China out there. Some of it is true, much is not, here is my list to set the record straight.

Fact or Fiction:
Chinese eat dogs Fact-in each city and area you find dog on the menu
Chinese eat cats Unsure-maybe Guangzhou but I have not seen it
Chinese are short Fact/fiction- in the south they are puny in the northeast just a bit smaller than we are
Chinese are smart at math Fact-in general in math they rock. In analytical thinking they suck
Chinese Food is Good FACT
Chinese are Communists Fact, the government is communist
They Kill babies Fact and Fiction, the government does not do so (from what I
have heard) but the people do to avoid fines and they will kill baby girls
They dont have cars Fact- 96% do not own a car
They do not bathe Fact and Fiction- in the city they have normal habits, the rural
residents are much less clean and likely to bathe

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China Recalls Over 9 tons of the Venerable Moon Cakes Before the Festival

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 22, 2010


I blogged about this being China’s mid-autmn festival which is a pretty cool time of year where everyone clogs the road traveling to friends and acquaintances homes, bringing gifts of a cool cake called a moon cake. The moon cake is a delectable dish shaped like a -surprise, moon. They usually have an egg inside, are heavy tasting and pretty rich. Well China has discovered, surprise surprise that over 9 tons of them are substandard. Say it aint so Joe!
Here is what is shocking: one this is that China has some sort of food safety watchdog, to me its amazing if it is true. And if it is true, they should all be fired anyway, anarchy rains in this joint.
Next, if they only test a small percentage of the products and over 9 tons were tainted, then how many are really tainted if we calculate how many poorly made products past muster because some official was bribed? Scary thought
chinadaily excerpt:
“BEIJING – China’s industry and commerce market supervisor said Wednesday it had recalled 9.5 tons of substandard mooncakes before the start of the Mid-Autumn Festival which also falls on Wednesday. Quality indicators such as benzoic acid, sorbic acid, acid value, peroxide value, lead, sacchairn sodium and other ingredients of mooncakes and bacterial counts on the pastries were examined during the campaign, it said.”

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Here is the Reason that 40-Something Chinese and Their Kids Cannot Relate to the West

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 22, 2010


excerpt from WTD
“It would be prudent to point out what this initial step meant for China and the world. One has to remember that during the 60′s to 70′s, while the rest of the world was experimenting with sex drugs and rock and roll- Woodstock and the like, China was in a cultural no man’s land. They shared none of the experiences with the west and were severely isolated. While Timothy Leary was experimenting with LSD, and Jimmy Hendrix was aiding him, Chairman Mao and his cadre was struggling with sever internal conflicts, lack of education, and some would say even social control. Then, suddenly, Deng Xiao Ping thrusts open the doors to the world filled with socially progressive ideologies, lessons learned from the Vietnam war, genisis of pop culture, and both China and the west were not adequately prepared for each other.”

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Chinese Construction- Mal Constructed

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 22, 2010


Chinese quality here at its finest. As they seek to expand, they forget the notion that people will be using the crap that they build and this is what happens. This is a roadway that collapsed in China about a year ago.

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China Fact- Chinese History

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 22, 2010


Sun Yat Sen- is considered by many to be the father of China made many changes in China. supposedly he was despondent of what he saw in upon returning from traveling (including spending time in not yet American state- Hawaii). He was a precursor to the chicoms and seemed like a pretty smart and well educated guy, to bad his side lost.

“He saw his beloved country as backward, and out of touch with the times. He saw schools which had undergone little improvement and also a government levying astronomical taxes. Also, in part due to his contact with Christian religions, he disdained traditional Chinese religious beliefs. On October 10, 1911, a revolution was started, which sounded the death knell for the Qing dynasty1. The new republic was proclaimed on January 1, 1912.Many historians dispute his role in the event,”- Witte

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You Mean China’s Finest Students Live There?

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 22, 2010


Here are some photos from China’s self-proclaimed Harvard or PKU. Did you ever wonder why everyone has their own Harvard, but no one says hey look at Harvard, America’s own little PKU? Anyway, this is China’s best, but yawwwwwn, who knows how much that is saying. If you look at the profs who teach there, they are mostly recycled from mid level schools in the USA so I doubt they are on the cutting edge, but then again, it could just be me. Actually I know a slew of people from Tshinghua, who is the competition to PKU and I have found them to be very bright…
OOPs I digressed. These photos are from the dorms in PKU. The funny thing is that in China they pack the students into dorms 5 or 6 deep and the living conditions verge on the subhuman, here are some examples.(excuse the mess, the issue is that the places are dingy, small and less than sanitary).
I have some personal photos from a univ I was doing some work at. If I can find them I will post them and you will shit…

beijing-university-graduate-lifestyle

Here is an excerpt from chinasmack:
excerpt:
“Let me first introduce the living environement here. Here, most of the buildings are “tongzilou” [dormitory style, one hall, two sides of
rooms], provided specifically for us people who need cheap rental housing. The big units are under 20 square meters, while the small ones are only a few square meters. These units have no quality to speak of, and while those who have seen “Dwelling Narrowness” will definitely have some impression of small apartments, the units we are living in are far worse than those.
Let me first post a photograph. The units are more or less this big. (This person is not me)

beijing-university-graduate-lifestyle-01

A lot of people come to Beijing with their dreams. There are also those who are in Beijing to attend university who, after graduating, decide to remain in Beijing to begin their lives. Whether it is because of their family’s financial situation or the difficulty of finding jobs or other reasons, they can only choose this kind of pay-by-month and cheap dormitory style shared housing building.”

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What Do You Call What This Guy is Doing?

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 22, 2010


I think most countries would call this transportation of illegal goods…. ie knock-off sneakers….

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Negotiating with Chinese- Things to Consider

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 22, 2010


I just finished negotiating some things with a local Chinese firm and all-in-all I usually do ok with it. The fact, however, is that they usually tear apart people from the west for many reasons. The typical reasons are that westerners, by and large, are ignorant of how the Chinese think and do business. We typically assume them to have the same morals, ethics etc as we do and this is quite often to our detriment. When I negotiate with the Chinese it is like war, not as in violent or filled with conflict, but as in I know and except a figurative loss of life. It is like a country invading another, you know there will be a body count, you just try to keep it at a minimum.
This sounds harsh, but I have adapted my stlye to the local mores, so let me explain…
negotiation should not be confrontational, and this is especially true in China. Face is so important that you can never corner them or they will seek revenge however possible and cancel the negotiations even if they stand to lose quite a bit, so always give them face.
The key to dealing with the Chinese, as in any negotiation is called a BATNA, its a thing from Harvard Principled Negotiations and basically means a best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or a plan ‘B’. In China think of it like this, you have 3 options all of them are a plan ‘B’, you have no plan ‘A’, for in China if you have a plan ‘A’, they will know it, they will smell it on you, and quite quickly your plan ‘A’ will hold you hostage. Thus, go in with apathy and negotiate with all of your plan ‘B’s. This is why I consider negotiating in China as a war. In war there are no winners, only landholders and the dead and wounded. In China when you negotiate it is only the beginning and usually the relationship will get rocky at some point, so it is not time to relax.
So wtf am I saying and did you feel me? Probably not, I am rambling but I am tired so let me summarize:
-with each potential partner, act respectful but not overzealous, apathy is a great tool for a foreigner. Chinese feel nervous around us so use it to your advantage.
-negotiate in English but have enough Chinese skills (dont admit it), to understand the gist of what they are saying
-be patient- in my last negotiation, I made my offer, was told it was unacceptable and that I must think. I was then left alone for 40 minutes, presumably to think. They returned, and I said that I really had nothing to think about, foiling their plan..
-know your cost, and Most Chinese businessmen still today are ignorant of business. They have rubber stamped MBA’s and do not know business. They will not know their true costs, only market prices and such, if you know your cost then you can avoid a big mistake.
-Know your BATNA and use it. Be prepared to walk. Do not think of anything as a done deal till it is done and then it will still have problems. Remember that this is just another plan ‘B’ and there are many others. When you do business with them, make them think you will be their best friend, but always have one foot out the door
-Have fun but look bored or tired. They will get self-conscious, use face and pride against them…
-Shut up- The Chinese hate silence on a foreigner, they are used to us being boisterous etc. Use this against them and shut up. Quite soon they will be babbling and questioning not only their logic but English skills as well.

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