Monday, 10 December 2007

Chinese paradise unmasked

Over at "The Life as a US Lawyer in a Chinese Law Firm" our resident hero Jeff decides to lift the lid on life in China.

Jeff pulls no punches and gives it to us straight. This is car-crash blogging at its very best. If this blog is not in your reader then you are missing real life drama where the boundaries between the good guys and the bad guys are becoming increasingly blurred.

He describes the "good" about living in China and then lists the "bad". I repost all seven "bads". There are economic implications to be gleaned from all 7 points. See if you can spot them. Comments most welcome.

Please don't shoot the messenger (figuratively or literally).

Only Mentally Ill People See Flaws In The Chinese Paradise
Now, the bad. Where to start?

1. Scientific progress. Though nearly everyone here in this country with 1/5 of the human population is pushed to study science, no Nobel Prize has ever been awarded to someone raised here, and they don’t create much that’s new or innovative.

2. Broken toilets. The flushing arm on the damn western toilet has been broken in my office bathroom for 8 months. Jesus. After someone uses the toilet each morning, the cleaning lady manually flushes it, but nobody demands that management fix it. Good thing the squat one next to it works.

3. New products. Every factory I visit makes rip-offs of foreign products, but never develops anything new of their own. The reason? Why pay a scientist to develop something that might not make money, when you can spend money paying people to produce more products that do make money, albeit rip-offs that are less profitable than innovative, new products.

4. Dangerous intersections. Every hundred yards in China is another extremely dangerous intersection, where I see people getting hit, daily, by passing cars. Simple functioning pedestrian walkways are needed everywhere, or lights, but nobody ever says anything, or demands a review of the planning.

5. Environmental disasters. Have you read today’s news about the three gorges dam? Seems like the Beijing thugocracy messed up the design, budget and everything else, because nobody was allowed to question the moronic first plan for this environmental disaster. The government told everyone about ten years ago that the design and budget were accurate, and nobody second guessed them–wrong again! Compare that with the law making process in the USA–political parties argue, senators and congressman argue, Capitol Hill argues with the President, and this is how we make laws by consensus.

6. Can’t walk freely. The Chinese put up gates, with guards, everywhere, that temporary block traffic at random street and neighborhoods, but people soon find ways to avoid these barriers, so again and again China has developed cities of gates that are everywhere, rusting, and serious eyesores that just add to life’s frustrations.

7. Social pressure. When my firm’s partner Wang Lihua told me that Zhong Lun didn’t owe me money when they did, she reinforced what I had known: you are supposed to shut up even when you are right. If you challenge that, Chinese are accustomed to being told they have mental problems.


1 comment:

Been there, done that said...

One of the good thing he pointed out about living in China is the perceived low crime rate. This could be because Chinese don't report crime as it is seen as a "complaint" about something. They don't even talk about it just to preserve "harmony". There could be punishment for reporting crime too.