Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Posts Tagged ‘Chinese government’

Thems Fighting Words- Lack of Transparency in Chinese Procurment Policy?

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 16, 2009

From, you guessed it, the China daily- Here is an article about regulations on selling computers to the Chinese government ( an U$87 billion ) market. Basically the Chinese calling for fair and equal treatment to all who wish to sell pc’s to the government.

Fair and equal, hmm- well lets just see…

-The products must have ‘Chinese indigenous innovation’

comment- part of this ‘made in china’ kick, presumably.(see here)

-“There is particular concern regarding the lack of transparency in the drafting process of this accreditation system,

comment-When one enters China they can make this statement, is this a shocker, also it may be due to famous fake national brands- (see rant here)

-as well as the impossibly short application period,” the letter said. The deadline for filing an application for accreditation was Dec 10 – less than a month after the rule was posted on the science and technology ministry’s website.

comment- quit yer bitching, they only have 30 days to  develop some home-grown technology solution,  and then register it in an impossibly arcane and confusing regulatory system rife with corruption and they can’t do this in only 30 days- get with it you pansies!

The next headline by the China Daily will be “China leader in information Technology”- a farce extolling the wonderful ‘made in china’ label all due to protectionist measures- things are heating up.

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Just like Gilligan’s Island

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 14, 2009

To get a feel for what it is like to live here you merely have to access http://www.chinadaily.com.cn basically this site is to China what Fox was to GWB. Yeah, all is hunky dory, and everything is coming up roses. Earthquake-hey no problem, the government is there to help, polluted water- hey due to massive amounts of investment in greening the planet, it will all be fixed, blah blah blah…

The site here, is one of my least favorites, but will serve as a guide as to the face that China wants to present to the world. Funny thing is that it really reminds  me of that one Gilligan’s Island episode where the exiled dictator goes to Gilligans’ Island ( it can be found here). The reason for the similarity is that in this episode, the dictator comes to the island and wishes to make Gilligan the puppet dictator (unbeknownst to Gilligan) of his country.  Gilligan has a dream where this all is played out before his eyes, and in the end he wakes up and realizes the dictator’s evil plot.

The point, however is that China is like that, but specifically one scene. Remember the scene where Gilligan is in the presidential palace and someone opens the window and shows him the angry masses, looting and rioting. And then the dictator shoos that person away only to bring Gilligan to another window where all one can see is peace, harmony and happiness.

When I open the China Daily, I am reminded of this, makes you think, when I first saw this episode I was probably 7, but thought it odd, I now relive it daily.

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Falcon and Snow Man- Blogging on the DL

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 8, 2009

Wow, did you ever see that movie “The Falcon and the Snow Man”? Great flick, with Timothy Hutton, and Sean Penn (overview here). Basically the guys were selling useless secrets in the cold war. The parallel is that Timothy Hutton is basically easy-going does falconry etc. He doesnt have any gripes, just wants to live and let live. He and Penn are then pursued for selling this fake secrets. It is this part that I am reminded of, but in the reverse. It is as if, I by putting my thoughts  into digital 1’s and 0’s, am exposing some secrets of the PRC for which I may be punished.

Obviously I am joking, kind of. I had a friend from England who had been here for over 7 years, this guy had every whacked out conspiracy theory story imaginable. When he first spoke to me I was like, wow, this guy is on the edge. After living her for a bit, I now am surprised by little. Would this keep me from blogging, nah, it’s just part of my nature. But just an FYI, if the next post you read is titled “Understanding Brazil, one Blog at a Time” then you will know.

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Central planning…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 2, 2009

Today in Beijing, it is not snowing but hot as hell. Hot you say, as in hot outside? No, and it is not due to global warming. It is a remnant of that curious cultural phenomenon- centrally planned economy (aka communism).

The reason that I am frying, is that the heat in my building is going on at full blast, so much so that I actually feel faint. Sounds simple, just adjust the thermostat…. well, I could do that, but many of the buildings here in China still operate on the old communist philosophy of centralized control.  What this means is that you have no control of the heat that is pumped into your home.

Let me back up. Many cities may have apartments with a main boiler which supplies heat to the building, effectively simulating this phenomenon to a certain extent. But, actually, here, the government decides when it will turn on the heat! And I dont mean the heat to a province or town, basically the central government decided that on November 11 or so, all heat would be turned on in all buildings and apartments in the Beijing area, they had been turned on earlier in the northeast and northwest.

This decision effectively takes away your control over the heating your apartment or office.The only remedy left for you, is to open your windows. So, for example, lets say that you are in an apartment complex and like the heat, then, the heat supplied may not be sufficient, (each house is allocated and charged a certain amount per square foot of the apartment.) If it is insufficient, you can buy space heaters. If it is too hot, you must open the windows. Irrespective of your choice, you will be billed the same amount as everyone else whose apartment is the same size as yours.  Just consider that. Talk about freedom of choice or lack thereof.

This event is to me, an ever-present reminder of big brother or governmental control. The central government has the power to turn on and turn off the heating for 1.3 billion people at its discretion. maybe its a good thing, maybe not, but it is just one of those cultural things that has got to make you think.

-boiling in Beijing

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And it was written, and so it snowed.

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 18, 2009

Blogging from my email, practicing for when I cannot access this blog via conventional means… Ha! take that Great firewall! (will probably rue the day I wrote these words).
Back to the now, as they say. Last Saturday the 1st I woke up, walked to the kitchen, grabbed a carton of milk, no glass, and began to chug. All ruminations on my sanitary habits aside, I then looked out the window and lo and behold, Beijing was covered with a fine ‘sprinkling’ of white powder, it had snowed!
I dont remember what I then did exactly, but it probably revolved around eating chocolate, drinking more milk straight from the carton, and running around the house, happy as a child. To me, the first snow of the year is special, kind of like the feeling during Christmas, pure, wholesome, happy.  The first snow fills me with an inner warmth and peace, feels so natural.
I also dont remember what I did for the rest of the day, but I am sure there was a smattering of chocolate consumption, reading of books, and snoozing. Suffice it to say that my weekend was perfect.
Filled with this glee, I rushed to work fire in my soul. My glee, however was short-lived. As i entered the work place I beamed about the good fortune and how we are lucky to have such a beautiful snow and so early in the season.
“Government did it, they seeded the clouds.” A colleague stated, straight-faced, walked off. It was a gut shot, I rushed to the ‘net for verification.

“…Beijing Weather Modification Office said they had used artificial means to increase the snow to ease the lingering drought.

“We wont miss any opportunity of artificial precipitation since Beijing is suffering from the lingering drought,” said Zhang Qiang, who is in charge of the office”



There it was, straight from the horse’s mouth. The government admitted to manipulating the weather. I had heard about this occurring during the olympics, but was skeptical, but if the national government admitted it to this, then it must be true. Of course there  is not Santa, no Easter Bunny, when you learn these lessons, you are sad, but understand the rationale, . But manipulating the weather…I then remembered that I am in a country which is centrally planned and controlled, I looked at the snow, wondered if I would ever think of it the same again…



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