Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for December 12th, 2009

Congratulations- They Shut Down Torrent Sites…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 12, 2009


I am dead tired but I have to blog this. I was surfing for tech blogs and came across this limper, China Tech news, I have seen it before and have been somewhat less than impressed (seems like a mouthpiece for the man…), but this time they got me.

The title is ‘Over 530 Bit Torrent Web Sites Shut down… China’. My first reaction was ‘what did somebody miss a ‘hong bao’ (bribe).  But then I read the article and it all became clear to me, so let me educate you on Chinese business culture.

Firstly it struck me as odd that they would shut down any sites, especially regarding pirating. The real reason that I say this is that I have blogged about what I have seen here and the level of copyright infringement is beyond belief (here is my section on that). As I have said, you can get a copy of  anything here. It is reported that over 50% of all medicine is counterfeit, they have fake food, even some of the motorcycles are pirated copies (from a report from the WTO). So, when I see that the Chinese government is taking action, I decided to give it a read.

What a sleeper, this site did not let me down, but exposed a difficult part of doing business in China-that being governmental control. The site gives kudos to the government for closing these sites, an  otherwise honorable thing, but why even bother using them. Baidu, the number one search engine in China allows FREE DOWNLOADS ON ALL MUSIC AND MOVIES YOU CAN FIND!!! That is right, this company who the government no doubt has stock in and thus benefits from its increased share price, allows for the pirating of all of its digital content.

So, the article states that the sites that they closed down allowed for the downloading and copying  of pornographic…content. And just what does Baidu allow? This just seems to be another SOP by the government to come up to snuff on their pledge of playing nicely with IPR issues after joining the WTO. I report, you decide.

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More people…Beijing Subway

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 12, 2009


Day in and day out…Just riding the subway in China

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Huge TV Screens by Tian an Man

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 12, 2009


Here are some kick ass TV screens that they installed for the 60th anniversary.

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That’s a lot of Money- The World Fair and Such

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 12, 2009


“Maybe U$ 60 billion, could be U$ 50 billion”- that is how much the Chinese are saying that China is pouring into the world fair next year. Now fist off, wtf is the world fair, is that thing still around…

Disregarding my ignorance or yours about just what the world fair is, next year it is coming to China, and like the olympics, they are pouring tons of cash into it. The figures cited above (no one really knows as this is not the most transparent country), are impressive. What they are doing, is spending the equivalent of the GDP’s in 2008 dollars, of more than 125 countries, just to prepare for the World fair. Yeah, that means just like with the olympics, China invested an equivalent amount of cash that the 58th largest country etc. will make in a whole year!

The reason I bring this up is that many of my Chinese colleagues have pointed out the wasteful nature of this and the fact that over the past 3 years, China has had some help in her growth. Between the Olympics and the Fair, they invested 100 Billion, which due to the multiplier effect could have a practical impact of almost a trillion dollars on her economy.  The first issue, that of wasteful spending irks many Chinese who say that the funds could be used to fund pensions, or clean air initiatives- that is not happening. They point out the facilities in Beijing and Qingdao that go unused, the people kicked out of their homes to make way for the new stadiums, and the lack of compassion or the rights of humanity from the government (a good piece from the Economist here). The second issue, that of this being a relative gift to China-well they take that in stride. They just see the juggernaut rising, and don’t know how far she will go.

As for me, I don’t know, I live here-know it is booming but really have seen first hand some of her weaknesses. I sleep well at night.

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High Nose…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 12, 2009


When you come here you will see that many may admire your ‘high nose’. What they mean is really the bridge of your nose. To the average Chinese, this bridge is a good thing, looks strong, and the stronger the better.

They call the bridge charming, and think it accentuates our eyes.  The funny thing is that here they seem not to be able to distinguish a large abnormal nose a la Alan Greenspan, versus say a Brad Pitt. Dont get me wrong, I think they would without exception vote for the latter in a beauty contest, but I have seen many foreigners whose nose I would love to have filled with nickles, seen as a ‘handsome foreign friend’ here.

China  the land of reinvention….

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Youtube- Where for Art Thou

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 12, 2009


Quick rant. Ok, so the government blocks social networking sites as they don’t want people to use them to riot… sounds weak but their house their rules. But Youtube…wtf… I mean what, are a bunch of Uy*ghur people going to use YouTube to incite a rebellion (that was the party line on the reason for pulling social networking sites- as in not Chinese ones).

I actually think this is nothing more than protectionism. Yeah,the Chinese government can make baidu pull off any offensive information about tian**men or Ti**t, or anything for that matter, but they claim Google is slow to do so. Well, what about YouTube? Think, right now in China each year they need 10million jobs just for the recent college grads- that is a lot of new jobs. In addition, while they are not innovating at a rapid pace, they are merely following, which actually inhibits them in big bang sites like youtube or google. Thus, it would appear that the blocking of these sites would serve to force the locals to utilize home-grown (copycat) sites of arguably inferior quality all under the auspices of protecting the masses.

whew, glad to get that off my chest… but still loving Beijing

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