Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for April 10th, 2011

Serious Street Cut in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


Here is my favorite Beijing street barber….

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Chinese and Ruining Your Photos

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


In China it is sometimes hard to get a good photo, no it’s not because the chog or Chinese smog gives each shot a ghoulish brown gray tint, although this does play a roll. But in China it’s hard to get a good photo because of the Chinese.
I realize that for every American there are 4 Chinese and this can play a roll in their inability to avoid stepping into my frame of view whenever I want to take a pic, but it goes beyond this simple fact. The Chinese who, like the honey badger, possess just enough self restraint to allow you a milisecond to focso and they feel compelled to dash forth into the exact spot you are photographing. The impact is a digitial memory filled with dough like swollen eyes peering into your lens, or flat pancake assed locals stepping into the shot or the slack jawed look of a passle of Chinese elders staring at you as if you were the 7th wonder of the world.
Maybe it’s cultural, but in the west if we see someone taking a photo, we stop or walk around, as we figure they probably want something other than an excellent shot of my shoulder in front of that dingy old Great Wall anyway. But the typical Chinaman has not progressed to this level of enlightenment. The typical Chinaman, upon seeing a westerner taking a pic feels it is his duty to interject himself into said photo to be a part of your digital archives of China.
If you’ve never been here you may say, “Well wait till the chinaman passes, idiot”
at which point i would merely walk away from you as my patience had run out with your ramblings. The problem is that the freaking Chinese will not pass by! Once they see a foreigner taking a picture, they make it their mission to see just what is so interesting and waiting like Job, they will not stir until you are ready to take a shot.
I guess if I could pass along a simple message to Joe Chinaman it would be the following:
Unless you are fighting on the subway, squeezing a linkie in public or doing any of the myriad of idiotic things you do in each day, we do not want you memorialized in our memerories of China. And, in the highly unlikely event we do wish to film your gelatinous belly with your 2008 powder blue Olympic shirt pulled up to your man jugs, we will tell you so.

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Photo of Some Town Outside of Beijing

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


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Suing in Modern Day China- Chinese Courts

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


From R Peerenboom

– More Law less courts _
The courts are also being inundated with labor disputes from factory workers suing over unlawful termination and unsafe working conditions, and migrant workers seeking unpaid wages and protesting compulsory overtime in excess of the number of hours stipulated in the Labor Law. • Retirees are suing their former employees or the local government for failure to pay pensions, raising important social policy issues in the absence of an effective welfare system. • Courts are hearing an expanding range of discrimination claims brought with respect to the rights of migrant workers, education, the retirement age for female workers, hepatitis and AIDS, and the unequal treatment of urban and rural residents in wrongful death cases. • Land disputes are rising dramatically both in urban and rural areas as governments in pursuit of economic growth requisition land for developers, again raising issues of corruption and collusion. • Social activists have sought
to bring suits against the local government for forced abortions and other violations of family planning policies and regulations. • Citizens, often aided by newly formed (and sometimes not licensed) environmental groups, are seeking to close down polluting enterprises in their area. • Courts are also handling cases that touch on sensitive national security issues or affect social stability, including cases involving very broadly defined state secrets regulations that are used against whistleblowers who reveal government corruption or malfeasance. • A rising number of cases involve freedom of speech, assembly and religion, including the rights of citizens to form NGOs: in one much publicized case, Dong Jian brought an administrative litigation suit against the Ministry of Health after the Ministry failed to respond formally to Dong’s application to establish an NGO to promote eye care. • In addition, many cases raise the issue of social
justice as those who have lost out in the course of economic reforms look to the courts for protection: what are people entitled to given the government’s goal of establishing a harmonious society ( hexie shehui) or at least a xiaokang society?8

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Political Correctness and China- What They Say and What they Really Mean

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


I was thinking about how I felt after watching that show “Bizarre foods” or whatever, with that guy named Zimern, and I thought of how much pandering to uncle chicom one must do so that you are not whisked away or worse yet, taken to an ALLEGED black jail and beaten and then have your visa revoked…
So then I was thinking of some of the verbiage zimern used as well as many foreigners who come to the land of soot and despair, so they do not offend their gracious Chinese hosts. Of course it’s always impolite to say negative things when one is a guest, but we all do have our prejudices don’t we?
So let me first state that I love living in Beijing, the cabbies are great and the food rocks, this is the truth, no pandering to the crowd here. But in addition to this, I have been able to spot some key phrases that my occidental brethren use when coming to China, and what they really mean to say. For instance
“wow China has a great history!” really means -I really don’t know squat about this place but please spare me the boring details
“wow China invented paper” really means- invented paper thousands of years ago and it was probably Shanzaied from the termites, can’t you guys be original? “wow your english is great!” really means- wtf did you just say?
“great! you say your cousin lives in the USA- really means- that’s just what we need….
“China is a vibrant country” really means- how do i tell a pack of zombies that I feel more energy by staring into a light socket than their dim eyes
“in China people are always on the move”really means- I gotta get out of here, this place is sheer chaos
“china is really advancing!” really means- you’ve been open since ’78 and you still shit in the sink of a Mickey D’s?
“China is still developing ” really means- I really know you have people shitting in the sink at Mickey D’s cuz I just witnessed it
“Chinese people are humble”really means- I could not understand a word that guy just said.
“Yes i love Chinese food” really means- yeah i really love chinese food, it’s almost worth sloughing through the toxic soup you call oxygen here to go and grab a bite
“I love China!” really means- China is cool and it’s like a soap opera so I am enjoying my stay.

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Chaotic Chinese Street

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


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Chinese Restaurant Photo

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


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Hard at Work in China- Chinaman Snoozes on the Job

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


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Exploring China- Pursuing China’s Great Mysteries; the Elusive Real DVD

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


Having survived my Saturday sojourn into the mean streets of Beijing, I decided to punish my lungs and sinuses once more and sally forth, to lay my finger on the throbbing pulse of the rising dragon that is China.
My journey, however was not merely taken for the sake of engulfing my mucous filled cilia with smatterings of Beijing particulates, but rather my task for the day was to find and procure a DVD.
A DVD? Youre mad!” you exclaim. “DVD’s are about as common as dried phlegm on the Beijing sidewalks. Why if you’d like to purchase a DVD, it should be an easy task.”
I would wait patiently as you utter these words and wonder when you would inhale, thus giving me time to clarify.
Once you’d expelled the final words of your impudent missive, I would then rejoin with a hearty, “Ah yes this is true my fiend. But my mission, albeit paling in comparison to the likes of Mssrs. Shakleton, Scott and Magellan, are no less herculean. My goal for the day is to find and procure a REAL DVD.” I would then focus on your rheumy eyes as the enormity of the task before me sunk in.
“Good luck” you’d then mutter.
Bounding down my my hallway like Theodore Cleaver, I was as joyful as a chicom with a fistful of hong baos. Although I knew I’d set a high bar for myself, i figured that armed with the appropriate tools for the task – a paper, pencil, keen intellect and modicum of cynicism, I’d tackle the problem post haste.
Eschewing the low hanging fruit, ie traveling to the local Walmart, I set out to prove that china was growing up, that they indeed had decided to abide by the oaths they’d taken when joining the WTO vz enforcing property right infringement.
First stop, the decaying lobby of my current abode. Shoving past the single children, each with a doddering septuagenarian hawking their every movement, I swagged over to Wang Wang, the local DVD pimp. Eying my approach, he stubbed out the cancer stick perched upon his liver lips and smirked. Shoving a fistful of the latest from Hollywood my way he proclaimed “Leo Kuai” or six RMB- one dollar.
Smiling at the man, I shook my head no. “Yao zhende” quoth I. (I want the real thing)
considering my words, he glanced down at his number two man/runner/bottom and shrugged his shoulders. Feigning ignorance, he lit up another smoke then perched himself to the side of mini me. “That’s all I got” he spat in Chinese.
With dogged determination your current best friend/teller of no tales moved down the street. Much to my dismay, at each stop I was met with the same look of amazement. “You mean you want to pay ten times as much for the real movie?” they said in horror.
nodding and muttering something about this being an issue of morality, I pad off to the local 7-11.
Sipping from a dollar pint of milk I then had an epiphany. Maybe the elusive legitimate DVD could not be gotten from elderly men perched atop trikes and their slack jawed minions with their knock off Kappa jackets. “Maybe I need to go to a “Proper Chinese” DVD store, I thunketh.
Pointing my pimpled nose to the west, I then discarded the empty milk carton in the rightful place and moved off. Not fifteen meters to my right stood a large edifice proclaiming to have DVD’s. As it was part of a large building and not perched atop three dry rotted wheels, your noble adventurer felt sure that he’d happen upon a few of the legal foreign movies.
But alas, as I shuffled my worn sneakers along the cracked tiling of the cramped ‘DVD Store’ , I spied nothing that seemed ‘legit’. Asking the owner/noodle slurper/disinterested man watching a pirated movie, if he had “Official movies”, he thought for a moment.
“Their all official” he said while pointing chopsticks greedily embedded in his burnt orange hands.
“I mean real ones.” I said.
“The movies they are all real.” he smiled then patted his PC, “I burn them myself.” After this ejaculation he guffawed and smacked his ample thigh and jerked a thumb at the ancient DVD burner at his side.
Dodging the moo shi rou he’d emitted during the outburst I asked if he could point me to a proper DVD store.
Shaking his head he then wiped the mifan grit from his crooked mouth and shaking his head like a sage, he said, “This is China.”
And so it is. This is China.

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China’s Evolving Law

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 10, 2011


More Law less courts
From R. Peerenboom

China is well-known for its pragmatic approach to reforms that relies heavily on local experimentation to test various approaches before adopting national policies. It has also experimented with contracting out of government services, including such core government functions as policing, in part because as a lower-middle income country the state simply lacks the resources and capacity to do everything.7 And the law-making and rule-making process, at least at the national level, involve repeated rounds of solicitation of, and input from, a wide variety of actors, including academics, representatives of affected industries and companies, relevant ministries and increasingly private citizens, and thus is consistent with current global trends toward transparency, civil society participation and reg-neg approaches involving the various stakeholders.

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