December 13, 2008

Con man executed for $416 million ant-breeding scam

From the International Herald-Tribune:
China has executed a businessman convicted of bilking thousands of investors out of $416 million in a bogus ant-breeding scheme, state media reported Thursday. The official Xinhua news agency said Wang Zhendong, who had been found guilty of fraud and sentenced to death in February 2007, was executed in Liaoning Province on Wednesday.

Wang, chairman of Yingkou Donghua Trading Group, had promised returns of up to 60 percent for investors who purchased ant-breeding kits from two companies he ran.

Ants are used in some traditional Chinese medicinal remedies, which can fetch a high price. Wang sold the kits, which cost $25, for $1,300, the local news media reported earlier.

Wang attracted more than 10,000 investors from 2002 to June 2005, when investigators shut down his companies. The closure of his business set off a panic among small-time players who saw their life's savings disappear overnight.

Xinhua had reported that one investor committed suicide after realizing he had been duped. Investigators put the size of the fraud at $416 million. Only $1.28 million was recovered.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

No wonder the Libertarians love China. It is the model libertarian state, err, non-state. And someday, what little if left of “our enemy” the state in China will wither away. Just you wait and see, any day now.

John said...

Maybe China ought to consider taking similar measures against the 10,000+ idiots who, in expectation of returns of 60%, decided to purchase $25 ant farms for $1300.

Wait, what?

You can't regulate stupidity out of the market place, people.

Bill said...

If he'd bribed the provincial government sufficiently, and they in turn had bribed their superiors, he'd be a made man.

Ripping off 10,000 people is no big deal in a country where thousands of peasants who have no choice in the matter can have their land expropriated and be compensated only a few percent of its value at the whim of local government officials. Happens all the time. This is why you see those crazy Chinese farmers' riots even on our news every now and then.

Chinese used to try to scam me frequently because they thought I was a rich, dumb foreigner, so I got to be pretty good at sniffing out these schemes. However, more than a few times I saw my Chinese friends fall victim to what, from my perspective, were obvious swindles.

Here in the states we tend to think of Chinese as crafty businessmen, but that's only really true of the southern Chinese who come from areas with a long tradition of trade, such as Fujian, Zhejiang, and Canton. The people in the Northeast (Manchuria), and even northern China proper (Beijing, Shanxi, Shandong, Hebei, etc) are generally pretty lousy at business. This scheme was in Liaoning, which is in Manchuria, so it doesn't really surprise me. Northerners frequently grasp clumsily for a quick buck, whereas the southern traders will patiently build a market and gradually come to dominate local commerce.

The Chinese that Americans are familiar with tend to be southerners, and that's slanted our perception. Northerners will readily admit that southerners are smarter and better at business, but they still look down on them as effeminate and "you" (oily).

Anonymous said...

but they still look down on them as effeminate and "you" (oily).

Fascinating. "Oily" in the sense of "greaser" as we sometimes have lumped Latin Americans (and if you read the Flashman novels , how the Brits used to disparage Italians and Greeks), or "oily" in the sense of crafty and mendacious? Or both?

Anonymous said...

I'm all for a homogenous society where crafty merchants who attempt to dupe the peasants are executed. Remember during Y2K, when people were predicting planes would drop from the sky? The Chinaman made any private owner of a commercial airline who was going to be operating a flight at the crucial midnight hour be on the plane with his customers.

SFG said...

According to a friend of mine who taught English in China, apparently the people of Shanghai take pride in being sneaky clever businessmen...and I'm sure you've all guessed what they call themselves...

That's right, the Jews of China.

Anonymous said...

Can i digress for a moment?

One severe negative consequence of the depression the USA is entering right now is that some of the donors to ISteve are likely to stop donating.

I think that the Isteve community needs to come up with a method of increasing the donations coming in to Steve

I would suggest a "gold circle" where those of us that donate a certain ammt per year get a secret passcode that lets all of our postings have a gold circle around our posts - or perhaps allows all of our postings to be in a different color

This makes sense - many of the readers here will give added weight and respect to people that actually choose to support Isteve

People that don't want to weight the opinions of donors more than non donors are free to ignore this designation

egos being what they are i bet that such a system will increase the donation rate and thus help Steve increase his activities

neil craig said...

$416 million among 10,000 people is over $40,000 per person - a goodly sum in China & I suspect the tale has grown in the newspaper telling.

Nonetheless the amount of human misery produced will well exceed that of most murderers & I have no problem with China's action.

Better that than a massive bail out.

Anonymous said...

Never mind Libertarians and China.

Where are all the libertarians singing the praises of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Somalia. No functioning state in those places. They should either be telling us the benefits of that and/or booking their one-way tickets.

David Davenport said...

People that don't want to weight the opinions of donors more than non donors are free to ignore this designation ...

Oh, Steve censors nondonors' posts more often than donors'. :0) !

Anonymous said...

"Here in the states we tend to think of Chinese as crafty businessmen, but that's only really true of the southern Chinese..."

That's interesting because it's similar to one aspect of the Western stereotype about the southern/northern divide in Europe. Northerners being literal-minded, altruistic, earnest, hard-working and (to southerners at least) no fun. Southerners being more sly, not as hard-working (less alcoholism though) and, at least according to themselves, more fun-loving. Finland is the obvious northern maximum on all of those traits. The southern end of the spectrum stretches all the way to the Middle East. I'm not sure what its maximum would be.

Anyway, it's interesting to hear that apparently northern Chinese are more earnest and that southern Chinese are more "crafty". And Derbishire has written that Manchurians (northern Chinese) are more prone to alcoholism than the southerners. Check number two.

Are northern Chinese more appreciative of absurd humor than southerners? Are they more egalitarian by nature? How far do these correspondences go? They can't possibly be due to relatedness. Northern Chinese are vastly more related to southern Chinese than to northern Europeans. If there is a pattern, we should suspect climate adaptations. You know, populations being more sparse up north in ancient times, people having less need for being crafty with their neighbors because there were fewer neighbors.

Anonymous said...

"I'm all for a homogenous society where crafty merchants who attempt to dupe the peasants are executed."

Let me second that. I think it's the natural human condition to agree with this sentiment. Its incongruousness with the modern Western mindset is the result of brainwashing.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of donating, the 'Amazon Honor System' has been discontinued.

Anonymous said...

The United States is more humane.

We let thieves of billions of dollars get away with a $5 million slap on the wrist (if that).

Perhaps these Chinese need a little dertsiung in human rights.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest a "gold circle" where those of us that donate a certain ammt per year get a secret passcode that lets all of our postings have a gold circle around our posts

Anyway, alas, many of us work in hyper-PC environments and are reluctant do anything that might link us to Steve's forbidden thoughts. If there's a way to do an anonymous cash donation, I'd be happy to participate.

Bill said...

"Oily" in the sense of "greaser" as we sometimes have lumped Latin Americans (and if you read the Flashman novels , how the Brits used to disparage Italians and Greeks), or "oily" in the sense of crafty and mendacious? Or both?

-Anon


I'd say both. If you watch Chinese gangster flicks (which are VERY popular in southern China) you can get a good idea of the stereotype.

Fascinating.

Yes, when you learn another language it is often surprising how concepts are expressed so similarly, despite a clearly independent origin of word or phrase.

testing99 said...

China's problem is a failure of civil society.

It's stupid for the scams to exist in the first place, and then executing the guy who perpetrated it.

Better to prevent the scam in the first place with a vigorous anti-fraud enforcement, and fewer people looking for returns in a place rampant with insider trading (even worse than the US, believe me).

Bill said...

Anyway, alas, many of us work in hyper-PC environments and are reluctant do anything that might link us to Steve's forbidden thoughts. If there's a way to do an anonymous cash donation, I'd be happy to participate.

-anon


As long as it's legal and you aren't running for office, why should it matter at work what you do on your own time? Homosexuals have been arguing that for decades, and I tend to agree with them.

I think fear of PC is overblown, and I live in Seattle!

It seems a bit grandiose to assume that others even care about your political views if you have an ordinary job.

I'd suggest that someone with a well-paid office job -- say mid-level manager at telecom company -- should do an experiment and start a blog propounding sound immigration policies. Go ahead and put a real name on it, and keep posting for a year. My bet is that, assuming the blogger never mentioned it at work, nobody at work will even know it exists at the end of the year. And even if they did know, most would be so bored by the subject that they'd never get past the first paragraph.

The truth is that it's far, far more likely that people don't care. This is the real problem for bloggers, publishers, etc. It isn't PC oppression -- it's lack of interest!

Anonymous said...

More study needs to be devoted to China's IQ structure. I'm aware that Chinese populations have performed at the Western mean on different IQ tests, but those populations have been mainly from the urban areas (Beijing, Shanghai) or overseas Chinese from the southeast (Fujian, Canton, Zhejiang). Given China's immense genetic internal variation, I'd hesistate to extrapolate the given data to the entire Chinese population,

In Central Asia, longtime migrants from Western China have settled communities. There are also established communities of Buryats, of Mongolian origin, in the Russian far east. The economic outcomes of these communities have been quite different than those of southern Chinese in SE Asia, Taiwan, HK, U.S, Canada, etc.

Other southern Asian populations with strong genetic affinity to the southern Chinese (Malays, Indonesians, Hmong) have also achieved outcomes quite different from the southern Fujianese and Cantonese.

Within China, the children from the urban areas go on to higher education at a enormously higher rate than the rural inland majority. Even with quotas for the rural masses and student aid, elite Chinese universities (Tsighua for example) are overwhelmingly urban dominated.

I wouldn't neccessarily attribute different outcomes to different levels of g, but China is worthy of much more study than it has been given. It's simplistic to look at the southern overseas communities and gentrified mainland metropolises and make sweeping conclusions of the rest of the nation.

Anonymous said...

If he had just pulled the same thing with derivitives, and was in the USA, we'd be giving him billions.

Antoine Zhang said...

Bill's understanding of China is quite limited, if not altogether erroneous and misguided. His opinions do not warrent serious consideration.

Yes, the North and South divide within China is quite pronounced, and acknowledged emphatically by any Chinese whom you might ask. But Southerners are by no means considered "oily" or "greasy", in the sense of pejorative stereotypes of Mediterranean Europes. They are more likely to look down upon Northerners as coarse and unwashed.

While the Northern Chinese lack the business aptitude of their southern brethren, they are by no means "lousy at business" - they have taken over large segments of the economy in the Russian Far East without problem(ask any native of Vladivostok).

Certain parts of the north are also NOTORIOUS for gangsterism and criminal activity. In particular, the Manchurian Chinese of the north-east.

Individuals such as Bill demonstrate the tremendous and insurmountable difficulties that Westerners experience when attempting to comprehend a foreign culture.

As regards the "Jews of China" - this complimentary sobriquet has been applied to various dialect groups throughout China. For a long time, the Hakka seemed to best warrent the title. In the recent past, however, the one dialect group most commonly referred to in this way are the Wen Zhounese, from southern Zhe Jiang Province. They are the principal dialect group of the European diaspora, and their city of origin was one of the first to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the economic reforms.

I have never heard the Shanghaignese referred to as the "Jews of China" - they will inform you themselves that the most successful business men in the city are not Shanghaignese themselves, but diligent migrants hailing from humble backgrounds - usually from Zhejiang and Fujian.

Once again - the perils of relying upon ESL teachers - or foreigners in general - for information about the Middle Kingdom.

rightsaidfred said...

>>>>Anonymous said...

Never mind Libertarians and China.

Where are all the libertarians singing the praises of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Somalia. No functioning state in those places. They should either be telling us the benefits of that and/or booking their one-way tickets.


Here you go:

http://www.mises.org/story/2066

Derek said...

Bill wrote:
that's only really true of the southern Chinese who come from areas with a long tradition of trade, such as Fujian, Zhejiang, and Canton. The people in the Northeast (Manchuria), and even northern China proper (Beijing, Shanxi, Shandong, Hebei, etc) are generally pretty lousy at business.

I can attest to this. My father's side of the family is 100 percent Hakka. Every aunt and uncle is entrepreneurial and relatively well-off. The cousins who are born to two Hakka parents are either CEOs or somewhere in the upper echelons of a major company.

My mother's side comes from Hebei - hard workers yet stuck in middle class. Not a single member on my mother's side runs his own business or even wants to. My uncle, who is the smartest in the family, is a devout Catholic with a PhD in chemistry.

There are other salient dissimilarities as well. Perhaps another time.

Derek said...

Testing wrote
China's problem is a failure of civil society.

China as a "great civilization" stopped after unification.

When I look at a map of China today all I see is a large unwieldly landmass whereby different pressures have selected for very different traits across the regions. If its fair to say that the Japanese or Koreans are distinct peoples, then it is equally fair to say that China is a large country forced to be shared among different peoples - the first failed diversity experiment if you will.

If unification never happened, China would have likely broken by provinces or some other cultural lineation - each about the size of Japan or Taiwan, which would have been easier to manage for a people who function best under hierarchical systems.

The best accomplishments of the Chinese people happened under warring individual enclaves. The Qin Dynasty alone is responsible for most of what people consider the "history of China" today. Modern China will never see success like that again.

Most Chinese are willing to go to war over Taiwan and here I am advocating complete deunification of the whole country. If I'm ever arrested for treason among my own people I only have Steve Sailer to blame.

Antoine Zhang said...

"I can attest to this. My father's side of the family is 100 percent Hakka. Every aunt and uncle is entrepreneurial and relatively well-off. The cousins who are born to two Hakka parents are either CEOs or somewhere in the upper echelons of a major company."

The Hakka originally hail from Henan province. Their pedigree is not genuinely southern. If anything, they are proof that northerners possess commercial instincts at least commensurate with those of southerners.

Derek's remarks also prove that diasporic Chinese are not immune from profound ignorance of the history of their ancestral country. Nothing could be more contrary to the truth than the description of China a "failed diversity experiment" - as political entity, it has retained unity with unrivalled success throughout the course of its history, and has absorbed or effaced the disparate identities of all ethnic groups that it encountered.

"The best accomplishments of the Chinese people happened under warring individual enclaves."

Rubbish. Try reading a history book Derek, instead of making assertions with no substantive factual basis.

Antoine Zhang. said...

Back on topic however, I think the execution of egregious frauds or corrupt officials in China demonstrates the advantange of a firm, authoritarian government for a transitional nation-state with only a semi-choate market company.

Corruption is a serious problem in China, but most commentators seem to naively assume that this is the result of a one-party system, and that representative democracy would diminish its incidence. This is definitely not the case - you need only glance at other developing countries with elected governments to realize that endemic corruption in such places as much the product of economic circumstnace as political environment.

At least in China, you have a strong and consistent deterrent against wrong-doing motivated by venality. If you steal or defraud on a significant scale, the punishment is not a mere fine or spell of incarceration, but prompt execution.

Richard H said...

"At least in China, you have a strong and consistent deterrent against wrong-doing motivated by venality. If you steal or defraud on a significant scale, the punishment is not a mere fine or spell of incarceration, but prompt execution"

I agree, I'm liking Iran's justice system right now too

"An Iranian woman, blinded by a jilted stalker who threw acid in her face, has persuaded a court to sentence him to be blinded with acid himself under Islamic law demanding an eye for an eye.

Ameneh Bahrami refused to accept "blood money." She insisted instead that her attacker suffer a fate similar to her own "so people like him would realize they do not have the right to throw acid in girls' faces," she told the Tehran Provincial Court."

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/14/iran.acid.justice/index.html

Anonymous said...

The Chinese businessmen in the Russian far east were primarily shuttle traders from the northern provinces. According to the Russian migration services, the traders were peasants hired by Chinese wholesalers to sell Chinese consumer goods and food abroad. As the Russian far east is an economically depressed region with low agricultural productivity and a declining manufacturing base, the Chinese traders supplied a local demand that Russian markets had been unable to meet.

However, with the recent tightening of laws to alleviate fears of a Chinese takeover, the cashiering now has to be done by the Russians. So many of the Chinese have returned home. Most of the shuttle traders are now ethnic Russians. They bring over the manufactured products, vegetables, and clothing from China.

The Chinese takeover of the Russian far east isn't really through migration though. It's mainly through trade. No matter who shuttles goods between northern China and Russia, it's undeniable that China is doing good business.

JJ said...

The Hakka's origins are disputed, but some studies show them to be similar to Hmong. Whatever their origins, I think living in the southeast exposed them to the same selective pressures as the Cantonese and Fujianese. Through similar selective pressure and intermarriage, I think you may have had an equalization amongst the different southern ethnicities.

Within China, it's said that the southerners dominate much of the private sector in the north and the urban areas. Even the northerners that live in the Russian far east are mainly peddlers of cheap goods and laborers. They haven't been able to turn around the far east's dismal economic situation or create much in the way of new jobs or industry. Contrast the northerners to the Fujianese and Cantonese in SE Asia, who have driven those economies into industrial powers.

Bill said...

Antoine Zhang said...
Bill's understanding of China is quite limited, if not altogether erroneous and misguided. His opinions do not warrent serious consideration.


:)

OK, now it's your turn to explain why yours do.

Yes, the North and South divide within China is quite pronounced, and acknowledged emphatically by any Chinese whom you might ask. But Southerners are by no means considered "oily" or "greasy", in the sense of pejorative stereotypes of Mediterranean Europes.

Yes they are. But maybe your understanding of European culture is "limited," and possibly even erroneous and misguided. To paraphrase you yourself (ni zizhi), this demonstrates the perils of relying on a Chinaman for information on Western societies.

They are more likely to look down upon Northerners as coarse and unwashed.

I won't argue with them on that score.

While the Northern Chinese lack the business aptitude of their southern brethren, they are by no means "lousy at business" - they have taken over large segments of the economy in the Russian Far East without problem(ask any native of Vladivostok).

As "anonymous" pointed out, the Chinese in Siberia are simply dumping cheap goods produced by southerners, and have been hired by southerners to do so. Essentially, it is a Siberian WalMart (with environmentally commensurate customer service, I am sure -- think Yabaolu in the taiga).

Another thing to keep in mind is that out-competing Siberian peasants hardly proves one's business acumen.

Certain parts of the north are also NOTORIOUS for gangsterism and criminal activity. In particular, the Manchurian Chinese of the north-east.

Sigh... Knocking people over the head with bricks and subsequently rifling through their pockets hardly qualifies one for the level of sophistication required to smuggle freighterloads of containers into southern ports and offload the goods within a matter of weeks.

Individuals such as Bill demonstrate the tremendous and insurmountable difficulties that Westerners experience when attempting to comprehend a foreign culture.

You got me... You Chinese are just too inscrutable for us barbarian clods. But of course, we should listen to you, and others of your divine wisdom, because understanding Western culture comes naturally to Chinese. In fact, simply by watching Hollywood movies you can fully comprehend the workings of Western society.

As regards the "Jews of China" - this complimentary sobriquet has been applied to various dialect groups throughout China. For a long time, the Hakka seemed to best warrent the title.

I thought the Kejia ("Hakka") were best known for starting China's worst ever civil war under the leadership of Jesus Christ's little brother, AKA Hong Xiuquan.


In the recent past, however, the one dialect group most commonly referred to in this way are the Wen Zhounese, from southern Zhe Jiang Province. They are the principal dialect group of the European diaspora [...]

What the hell are you talking about? Are you saying that Zhejiang Wenzhou ren are Ashkenazi Jews? Please elaborate on this revolutionary discovery.

I have never heard the Shanghaignese referred to as the "Jews of China" - they will inform you themselves that the most successful business men in the city are not Shanghaignese themselves, but diligent migrants hailing from humble backgrounds - usually from Zhejiang and Fujian.

Yes, true, Shanghai was known for little more than fish paste (i.e. catsup) before Europeans and Iraqi Jews (the Sassoons) built the place up after teaching stubborn Qing officials a well-deserved lesson. Of course, the Japanese contributed greatly to Shanghai's industrial base. I think the Japanese are owed a big "thank you" for that (they did the same in Manchukuo, much to the benefit of chairman Mao).


Once again - the perils of relying upon ESL teachers - or foreigners in general - for information about the Middle Kingdom.

Yes, we should all shut up and read the People's Daily. That's the true spirit of Chinese intellectual inquiry.

anti-Bill said...

This "Bill", lonely white guy, probably went to China for a few weeks, took classes in the language previously, read some history of the land, then decided to call himself an expert, or least sound enough like one to impress the uninitiated.

Find yourself a new hobby, Bill.

Antoine Zhang said...

Bill,

I've obviously struck a raw nerve. Believe me, my intention was not to demean or insult you gratuitously, but to point out certain demonstrable shortcomings in your understanding of China - shortcomings which are typical of and endemic to the expatriate community in China.

"You got me... You Chinese are just too inscrutable for us barbarian clods."

I do not for a second subscribe to the insipid notion that the Chinese are possessed of some mystic inscrutability, or are altogether beyond the comprehension of Westerners. This is why the failure of individuals such as yourself to understand a society in which they have been immersed is even more egregious.

" In fact, simply by watching Hollywood movies you can fully comprehend the workings of Western society. "

I can assure you Bill, my knowledge and understanding of civilization west of the Bosphorus strait far exceeds your own.

"Sigh... Knocking people over the head with bricks and subsequently rifling through their pockets hardly qualifies one for the level of sophistication required to smuggle freighterloads of containers into southern ports and offload the goods within a matter of weeks. "

I think the level of sophistication of organized crime in the North-East far exceeds this. It has been well-documented that when organized gangs from the former Manchuria entered the Russian Far East, they out-competed the unruly and disorganized local mafias. Why? They were more prudent and cautious, they didn't engage in pointless turf wars, and they were better managed.

"I thought the Kejia ("Hakka") were best known for starting China's worst ever civil war under the leadership of Jesus Christ's little brother, AKA Hong Xiuquan. "

The Hakka are renowned even amongst the South East Asian Chinese diaspora for their frugality, commercial instincts and political acumen. Consider the fact that so many of the most prominent and influential Chinese political leaders in the 20th century were Hakka Chinese - Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Teng-hui for example.

"What the hell are you talking about? Are you saying that Zhejiang Wenzhou ren are Ashkenazi Jews? Please elaborate on this revolutionary discovery. "

No, if you read what I wrote with even a minimum level of attention you would realize that my remark addressed the fact that the Wenzhounese are commonly referred to as "Zhong Guo de you tai ren", in contrast to the previous claim that the Shanghaignese had acquired this complimentary moniker. This does not mean that they are literal, practising Jews, this refers to fact that their entrepreneurial drive and economic success makes them similar, in the eyes of many Chinese - to Ashkenazi Jews. Everyone in China knows this. Try asking a taxi driver in Shanghai about the Wen Zhounese.

How's your level of Chinese proficiency. Are you capable of engaging in a proper, topical conversation, or reading a newspaper? Your want of basic knowledge about a country you lived in for a considerable period of time would seem to indicate otherwise.

Bill, I'm neither a chauvinist or jingoist. I just call B.S. when I read or smell it.

Antoine Zhang said...

"Yes, we should all shut up and read the People's Daily. That's the true spirit of Chinese intellectual inquiry."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I wouldn't advise that either.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Never mind Libertarians and China.

Where are all the libertarians singing the praises of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Somalia. No functioning state in those places. They should either be telling us the benefits of that and/or booking their one-way tickets."

Bravo. Well said. The libertarians would seem to have there an excellent laboratory for their ideas.

And that Mises article provided by another poster was amusing. Yeah, Somalia is just peachy right now.

Caledonian said...

The Somalians are currently bringing world trade to its knees, have fatally crippled traffic moving through the Suez Canal, and have succeeded in getting people talking about fixing their country.

I'd say they're a prime example of what can happen once corrupt governments begin to implode - in a very positive sense.

Bill said...

Bill,

I've obviously struck a raw nerve. Believe me, my intention was not to demean or insult you gratuitously, but to point out certain demonstrable shortcomings in your understanding of China - shortcomings which are typical of and endemic to the expatriate community in China.


Of course you meant to demean. This is typical of Chinese engagement with foreigners. Raised on hatred of the West, opening with insults is a rather common MO for non-American Chinese.

I can assure you Bill, my knowledge and understanding of civilization west of the Bosphorus strait far exceeds your own.

Pure arrogance, and frankly I doubt it. I lived in France as a child and speak the language. In fact, my love of French culture and an interest in classical Europe (I am a Catholic who was trained in Latin as a boy) is what led to my interest in another, somewhat similar civilization -- namely China.

I do not for a second subscribe to the insipid notion that the Chinese are possessed of some mystic inscrutability, or are altogether beyond the comprehension of Westerners. This is why the failure of individuals such as yourself to understand a society in which they have been immersed is even more egregious.

Here are your words:

Once again - the perils of relying upon ESL teachers - or foreigners in general - for information about the Middle Kingdom.

You exemplify the Chinese cultural tendency to see everyone outside the Chinese sphere of influence as a barbarian.

No, if you read what I wrote with even a minimum level of attention you would realize that my remark addressed the fact that the Wenzhounese are commonly referred to as "Zhong Guo de you tai ren", in contrast to the previous claim that the Shanghaignese had acquired this complimentary moniker.

I did read it with attention -- perhaps too much:

[Wenzhounese] are the principal dialect group of the European diaspora [...]

Either you didn't mean what you actually wrote, or you are suggesting that Wenzhounese are are "of the European diaspora." You might want to check the definition of diaspora.

How's your level of Chinese proficiency. Are you capable of engaging in a proper, topical conversation, or reading a newspaper?

Used to have pretty good spoken Chinese, and enough characters to read simple news stories, but have sadly let it slide over the years. "Use it or lose it" they say. I'd need to go back for a month or so to get back up to speed. Unfortunately, I have very small children I am taking care of by myself and am pretty much stuck here.

By the time I left China, my Chinese friends said I had an accent, but they couldn't place it. Some said it reminded them of a Xinjiang accent, whatever that means. People who called me on the phone and didn't know me might take a minute or so to realize that I was a foreigner. That was about the level of my spoken Chinese. My written Chinese never got too far, because I always relied on a computer and I was embarrassed by how bad my handwriting was (it's quite bad in English, too).

Your want of basic knowledge about a country you lived in for a considerable period of time would seem to indicate otherwise.

You know, I never seriously studied China until after I had lived there for a couple years. Sure, I studied the language before going, but most of my knowledge comes from subsequently studying at the Jackson School of International Studies.

I met and befriended a few visiting professors from China at the Jackson School, and they were a breath of fresh air -- true gentlemen who restored my faith in the decency of Chinese culture after dealing with a couple years of racism and chauvinism on the mainland.

Unfortunately, every now and then someone comes along who reminds me of what it's like to be harassed by authorities and called "laowai" everywhere I go. Sometimes I wonder whether Chinese here have the ability to appreciate how fundamentally decent Westerns are toward them. I certainly never hear them admit how poor their own countrymen's behavior can be on the mainland.

If you're curious about my opinions on China, feel free to read my blog and check the "China" category. I actually have a great affection for the place, despite some conflicting feelings about the politics.

c23 said...

China Hell yeah! If there were any justice, people like Madoff would get the same treatment.

Anonymous said...

RightsaidFred, Mr Anon

In the Mises link, author:

Yumi Kim studied law in London, where she now works in financial services.

Really, she hasnt booked her ticket to Mogadishu yet then?

Anonymous said...

The 2008 China International Petroleum Equipment and Technology Exhibition concluded last Friday in the eastern city of Dongying. 3000 guests from over 40 countries attended and everything appeared to run smoothly. Yet the majority of the foreign delegates were hired just to make the event look "international".
http://thepekingorder.blogspot.com/2008/11/china-petroleum-equipment-and.html