The PBS Frontline narrator mentions how entrepreneurs that have been away from China must get used to doing business in China, which may include bribes.
In fact, to Chinese there is no clear definition of what is bribery — what the West calls corruption is deeply rooted in China’s culture (and has nothing to do with Communism) and is not seen the same way.
Lu Dong, going into the business of Internet tailoring, says, “If we use Western values to judge a Chinese company’s behavior, I think it is very hard to do business with them.”
Ben Wu, the Internet Cafe owner, says they (Chinese businessmen) have no interest in helping or not helping him, and he cannot figure out how to influence them.
To get help in China, one must make friends and since China is an eating culture that takes money. To learn more, discover the meaning of Guanxi in China.
Ben Wu, who was born in China but educated in the US, says he will not bribe anyone. However, he doesn’t think he can stop his Chinese partner.
One wise quote explains the choices. “There is nothing you can do. A fish has to live in water and if the water isn’t clean you must get used to it.”
Now, for a corruption reality check. Here is a comparison with the US. We know an engineer who stopped working in construction because of the difficulty in finding contractors that are honest.
We also had a bad experience with a contractor we signed on to build an addition to our house. Twenty-eight thousand dollars later without any construction starting, he was still asking for money.
An investigation on my part revealed he hadn’t taken out the construction permit even though he had collected the money months earlier to do so. We cancelled the contract and he filed a lien on our property for about $200,000 US.
Months later, we managed to get about half the 28 thousand back and California forced him to cancel the lien. However, we had to see and pay for a lawyer, file a complaint with a state agency in California and the process was stressful and frustrating.
The fact is that there is corruption in every culture and country. It just wears different clothing.
If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.