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Monday, October 23, 2006

Appeal to Chinese Men Never to Marry Any Chinese Woman Who Has Ever Dated a White Guy

Uh-oh. I can see another Blogostorm coming, reminisncent of late August's China Bounder controversy. We bloggers are like gossipy old ladies in Mayberry. Anything about sex or race, and the mud starts flying. The latest delicious provocation, translated from Chinese over at The 88s , reads as follows (note that “F1” refers to the visa status of Chinese university students in the United States):

Appeal to Male F1s to Absolutely Never Marry Chinese Girls Who Have Dated White Guys

“You can date, you can also make love, but definitely not want to get married for a very simple reason. Although we are all people of high ability, we can’t settle the status issue: we can’t provide green cards. In other respects we are definitely better than average white people, but because of the system we are forced to compete from a position of weakness.

But our superiority lies in this: Language and culture, after all it is easier to communicate with us than white guys. Usually we are quite traditional, on the whole all can rely on our support. But the ultimate reason is that we allow female F1s to take advantage of us. Their selfish calculation is this: first they date white guys, and if they get married to them, then they have achieved what they wanted; if they couldn’t marry a white guy, they still have us Chinese guys as backups.

Therefore in order to put an end to them treating us as backups, I appeal to you: Let all male F1s join forces to boycott any female F1 who has dated white guys. It’s like trashy schools and top-tier schools competing to enroll new students: Although I am a very trashy university, I will give you an offer right away. I want you to decide right away. If you are waiting for a top-tier university, I will immediately reject you. Why? Because only in this way are you able to maximize your interest. Otherwise all you can get are those who were rejected by top-tier schools.

—From today begins the upward progress of a sunny, wretched, handsome male F1.”Posted by: TwentyFourCM (24cm)

I can’t help but respond:

To Mr. 24 cm:

1. Why would you want to be someone's second choice anyway?

2. I am a white male who married a Chinese woman who only wanted me for a green card. And I can assure you that I am not any better off than you are. If she had dissed you before going out with me all those years ago, you would have been the lucky one, not me. Your whining smacks of the old Nice Guys vs. Jerks debate back in high school.

But despite my bad experience, I have not become cynical and I do not believe that all Chinese women who date white guys are looking for a green card. I found many of such women to be honest, decent people. And lots of Japanese women date white guys in affluent Tokyo (where I lived for 5 years); most of them are not interested in green cards. I have puzzled over this phenomenon myself in a previous post, “Why Western Men are Alpha Males in China”.

3. In view of the notorious ‘Jacques Cousteau Syndrome’ (American women falling for guys with French accents), I hereby propose that we American men boycott any American woman who has ever dated a French guy. In fact, we should make a little list for them to read: "Permissible Skin Colors, Religions, and Nationalities of Men You are Allowed to Date: The Official Regulations of the American Patriotic Union of Bitter, Jilted Men".

Ryan over at The Humanaught has a cooler head than I do: “I only hope that some level-minded, liberalized Chinese guy stands up and deflates this dingbat before he gives Chinese girls a real reason to stick with ‘top tier universities’”

Any takers?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

California Industrial City: Planned Theme Community in Zhengzhou

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China Solved, reporting on the national culture themed communities being planned for various locations in China (Thames Town, “Tokyo on the Yangtze”, as well as French, Italian and Nordic themed villages) laments: “What about Americaville? Well, I’m sure that there is some kind of project up on the drawing boards of the appropriate Shanghai ministry…”. The article goes on to posit several tongue-in-cheek suggestions such as “Trailer Town/Redeneck Row” (see the story here).

Evidently news hasn’t gotten around about California Industrial City , a planned 46 square kilometer development that will be about three-fourths the size of Manhattan when completed (horizontally, not vertically).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Update: US Exporting Lawyers to China

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Douglas Berman is a Ph.D. now studying law at the University of Indiana. He spent his last two summers at China-based law firms in Hong Kong and Beijing, and comments as follows:


I would venture the following observations:


  1. There has been growing hype over the last two or three years among big law firms, which has helped someone like me who attends a first tier school but has middling grades. I have received interviews from firms that would never have considered me based on my grades alone. More interestingly, I have just been told that some big firms are sending out newly-minted grads directly to Asia. That seems to be a first.

  2. The hype is clouding the minds of young law students (and I don’t include myself in the “young” category) who may not recognize the fact that (a) there are more Chinese JD grads, and (b) a growing number of Chinese-speaking foreigners eager to cash in.

  3. Law may increasingly global, but large law firms are still very hierarchical. Having just seen a very smart lawyer with no prior US experience trying to return from a big US firm in Hong Kong and how difficult it was for him (he did ultimately pull it off), I realize how the options are more limited once you leave the lock-step path.

US Population Surpasses China's

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The media's Official Statistic of the Week: U.S. Population Passes the 300 million mark.

Less well documented is the statistic recorded by the obscure weekly Chicken Little, which reported that on October 15, 2006 the U.S. surpassed China as the largest population in the world in terms of Aggregate Body Weight. Chicken Little also reported that if current trends continue, within 20 years the United States will pull an Atlantis and sink to the bottom of the ocean under the weight of its population, leaving the world to China.

The 'Charisma Man Syndrome': Why Western Men are Alpha Males in China

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The following is a guest opinion from Ms. Bess Womyn, China Breeze’s Official Gender Consultant. Ms. Womyn holds a Ph.D. in Gender Studies from some anonymous jerkwater college, and is currently serving as Acting President-in-Exile of the Saudi Arabian Feminist Alliance. She is currently trying to start a China Feminist Alliance with scant success so far. I am personally convinced that she’d slit my throat with a carving knife if I didn’t let her use this space to stand on her little soapbox and wag her knobby, bony, incredibly long index finger at my readers. So here goes...


It's one of the world's better-kept secrets. I can personally confirm that the phenomenon I am about to describe is almost unknown among North Americans. So, if you are reading this in China, don't tell anybody back home.


Guys, if you go anywhere in Asia except for Hong Kong, you might as well have a leather jacket issued to you as soon as you step off the plane, because you are the Fonz. Welcome to Alpha Male status. The first thing you will notice are dweeby-looking western men with calculators in their pockets walking arm-in-arm with Chinese supermodels. I call it "the Charisma Man Syndrome".


After a couple of weeks your friends back home are going to start asking why you cancelled your return flight. A couple of decades later they'll still be asking you the same question. There are several theories on why this is the case; let’s explore them one by one.

Complex historical, sociological and anthropological reasons


Gimme a break. Actually this was the topic of my Ph.D. thesis but hey, we're not in the ivory tower anymore.

They want your money

It stands to reason doesn't it? China is a third world country, and most western countries aren't. What blows this theory out of the water is the fact that if anything this disgrace is even worse in Japan, where (relatively) poverty-stricken English teachers date models that make five times as much as they do.

They want a western passport

Well, marriage to a westerner is indeed the quickest, surest route to a western passport. And more than one westerner has been left weeping bitterly in the Arrival Lounge when his new Asian wife climbed out the window of the airport Ladies' Room to freedom. But again there's the counterexample of affluent Japan, where not all that many local women are seeking western passports but still flock to western men.

They want free English lessons

Yeah, but why do they wanna learn English in the first place? So they can talk to western guys? Plus, my extensive research has shown that accomplished western Language Nerds who refuse to speak any language but Chinese do just as well as (if not better than) starry-eyed China Greenies fresh out of the airport.

It's a status symbol in China to have a western boyfriend

Yeah, and it's a status symbol in Spain to have a matador boyfriend. What a lame theory. It begs the question of why having a western boyfriend became a status symbol in the first place. After all, it's no status symbol in Australia to have, say, a Mexican boyfriend.

Anatomy

I'm not even gonna touch that issue. Suffice it to say that I don't buy it.

The grass is always greener…

So why aren't women in the United States clawing each other's eyes out for a Chinese boyfriend?

Asian men are somehow inadequate

This theory is too hot to handle so I'm gonna have to keep my mouth shut, although I do have some very spicy opinions on the issue.

By the way, I HATE the Charisma Man Syndrome with a passion that would terrify you. As a matter of fact, if I ever get the chance I'll...

Thank you, Ms. Womyn. We hope to have you back soon with your diatribe on "Why All Western Men in China Should Watch "Madam Butterfly".

Go East, Young Man - The New China Syndrome: US Lawyers Exporting Themselves to China

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Why the US is exporting lawyers to China and why you should think twice before joining them

Recently a plethora of articles have appeared in China-related blogs – How Do I Get to China? by Mark Agrasut in Asia Business Intelligence, The Allure of Working in China by Travis Hodgkins in the Transnational Law Blog, and So You Want to Practice China Law? by Dan Harris in the China Law Blog. So as a California attorney with several years’ working experience in China, I naturally felt the urge to put in my two cent’s worth (by the way it’s a penny for your thoughts, so now you know how this site makes money…).



Fifty years ago there was no such thing as international law, only domestic law advising clients with funny-sounding names. Although that situation has changed over the last few decades, the world is not yet as borderless as some sectors of the media would like us to believe. So You Want to Practice China Law? contains the quote, "Ten years ago if you went immediately to China you would be ending your career before it began." Likewise, The Allure of Working in China quotes a Hastings career counselor as advising, "If you start your career internationally without gaining foundational experience here in the US, your chances of coming home and practicing are limited if not impossible."



I beg to differ. I recall a young man who graduated from law school in 1996 with a 3.56 GPA and proficiency in Mandarin, hot on the heels of a Summer Associate position in Beijing with a major international law firm. He loved it so much he was already "back East" by the time they handed out diplomas. After a few years he decided to return to the US to test the theory that "you can't go home again". In only a few short months he was able to land a plum position as a driver for Pizza Hut at a full dollar an hour over minimum wage (plus tips!).



The Mirror Technique: In all seriousness, before you decide to start a career across the Pacific, look into the mirror and ask yourself a question: “Am I an ‘international Lawyer’ or an ‘International lawyer’?” (note the differences in capitalization). In other words, what is your second choice behind practicing law in China? Practicing law in your home jurisdiction, or teaching English in China? Is your primary focus on law, or on China? Because when it’s all said and done, the inside of an office is the inside of an office whether that office is in Beijing, Caracas or New York. And like it or not, the inside of an office is where you’re going to be spending most of your waking hours as a lawyer. Likewise, legal work is essentially legal work whether you’re drafting documents and consulting with clients in English, Chinese, or classical Arabic.

“Our China Office”: It’s all the rage these days for large and even medium-sized law firms to be able to talk about “our China Office” - and it makes for one impressive-looking bilingual business card. It’s such a status symbol that a number of firms (I suspect) are propping up money-losing operations in China just to be able to keep Beijing on the list of cities where their firm maintains offices. Especially for medium-sized law firms, a China office tends to prove one’s status as a Major International Player, kind of like a teenager who refuses to shave his peach fuzz because it “proves I’m a man”.

Forget the status of practicing “cutting-edge international law”. Having a high-status job is like dating a fashion model – it’s cool at first, but after a couple of months the newness wears off and all you have left is everyday life, for better or for worse.



“Our China Office” Revisited: “Our China Representative Office” is more like it. And in China, representative offices are not allowed to engage in profit-making activities. So how are Western law firms getting away with it? Well, some firms are primarily engaged in the Western legal side of truly international transactions (and not necessarily licensed by China to practice even the law of their home jurisdictions), but the rest are simply practicing Chinese law in blatant violation of Chinese law. They are able to get away with this in Beijing and Hong Kong (not so much in Shanghai) because the Chinese authorities are willing to turn their heads the other way, ignoring the wounded howls of jilted (and well-qualified) Chinese lawyers. After all, many Western investors still feel more comfortable retaining fellow Westerners to provide legal services, even though their Chinese counterparts are far more likely to understand linguistic and legal nuances that American lawyers miss.



American lawyers are tolerated in China because they help seduce Western investment into China. As the English language level of Chinese lawyers improves, numbers increase, and foreign investors develop greater confidence in the local legal system, American lawyers will become increasingly unnecessary. Since their presence in China is already illegal, it won’t even take a new law to throw them out – only enforcement of existing law. Repent! The end is coming soon - I can already envision a stream of former “cutting-edge” China lawyers returning to L.A., tattered briefcases in hand, all wearing sandwich boards reading “Will Litigate for Food”. Don’t get caught in mid-career all dressed up with no place to go.


Lawyers without Borders: Don’t be silly, there is no such organization (I don’t think so, anyway…). “Doctors without Borders” exists because human physiology is essentially the same no matter where you are in the world. Not so with human legal systems. Even with the increasing standardization of international transactions, there will always be significant differences and pesky little barriers like local bar associations that will impede your movements from West to East (or from East to West should you ever get sick of China). Law is not the best career to choose if you want to internationalize. Face it - you should have gotten an MBA.


Alternatives: Chinese law allows “legal advisors” (legal practitioners not admitted to the local bar association) to practice in many positions that would require bar association membership in the United States. Among these positions is corporate counsel – that’s right, nine to five positions that pay six figures. These sorts of positions are also famous for providing opportunities for real wealth as the company grows – stock options, etc. Chinese law firms are also hiring Chinese-speaking (and reading) foreign lawyers in increasing numbers and at higher salaries.



So in summary, my sage advice reads as follows: “Forget the prestigious law firms doing the big sexy deals. Get a few years of business law experience in your home jurisdiction, and then seek a position as corporate counsel with a Western company in China.”




By the way, in reference to my snide little remark about getting an MBA - if you do have an MBA along with your law degree, then don’t even bother reading this article because it would be a complete waste of your time. (-:

Submit Your URL to Chinese Search Engines

It is certainly true that the Internet is dominated by the English language – it has been estimated that 75% of all Internet pages worldwide are written in English. But surprise, surprise – the world’s No. 1 language in terms of number of native speakers is also the most difficult to read – Chinese, with about three times as many native speakers (and readers) as English. China has the second greatest number of Internet users in the world (behind only the United States), and its Internet market is one of the world’s fastest-growing. Furthermore, its buoyant economy is impossible to ignore – every year millions are added to its relatively affluent middle class.

You’d be surprised at how many Chinese can read English – small in proportion to total population, but large in number. You might also be surprised at how many Chinese yuppies (“Chuppies”) carry a Visa (the credit card, not the kind of visa that is stamped on a passport!).
Do you have a product that might sell well in China? That’s a hard question to answer, but as a one-sentence primer, affluent Chinese gravitate towards any product with name-brand appeal or snob appeal, and any product that is closely associated with the United States (sarcastically dubbed the “Mickey Mouse Syndrome” by certain envious economic rivals). If you are going global, you cannot afford to ignore China - and if your business has a website, it should be searchable in China.

Following are the URLs for site submission to ten Chinese search engines. The sites are all written in Chinese, but if you can get past the language barrier, anything is possible…Top 10 Chinese Search Engines

1. Baidu: http://baidu.com/search/url_submit.htm

2. Sina: http://iask.com/guest/add_url.php

3. Sohu: http://db.sohu.com/regurl/regform.asp?Step=REGFORM&class=

4. Yahoo China: http://cn.yahoo.com/docs/info/suggest.html

5. Google China: http://www.google.com/intl/zh-CN/add_url.html

6. Sobao: http://search.sobao.com/Computers_and_Internet/Personal/

7. Tianwang: http://home.tianwang.com/denglu.htm

8. China-Holiday: http://china-holiday.com/newterms/hall/it/sort.asp?sortid=259

9. Wangluobing: http://www.net7b.com/net7b_/denglu/index.asp

10. Sunwukong: http://www.sunwukong.cn/add.php

The first six of the foregoing are major players, but the rest are marginal and may well be out of business by the time you read this (then again, you never know…).

Happy hunting!