The Return of Innovation to China – Part 2/2

May 15, 2012

Before counting how many Nobel Prizes in science have gone to Western/American scientists, it should be mentioned that “Ashkenazi Jews (European/white Jews: i.e most Jews) make up just 3% of the United States population, yet were responsible for 27% of the US science Nobel Prizes and 25% of the Turing Awards in the 20th century.”

Jeff Weintraub says, “It’s well known that overseas Chinese have often been compared to the Jews (by themselves and by others).

“Chinese and Jewish cultures are the two oldest civilizations in the world and share a lot in common. Both highly emphasize the family tie function and educational value, and although both have absorbed various exotic cultures, their central core has never changed since birth.” Source: Jews in China: Legends, History and New Peresepectives

“Moreover,” Weintraub says, “it seems like my friends were more or less correct that their Chinese diaspora constitutes the ‘Jews of Asia.’ From Hanoi to Bangkok to Jakarta and beyond, the merchant classes are overwhelmingly peopled with well-educated ethnic Chinese whose connections to the homeland and each other — the ‘Bamboo Network’ — constitute a huge business advantage. They are also, like the Jews, periodically expelled (from Vietnam), repressed (under Indonesia’s Suharto) and rioted against (in Malaysia, Thailand and really everywhere else). Like Jews, they are fiercely proud of their heritage, assimilating somewhat while maintaining temples that assert identity.”

In addition, China’s government has thrown billions in recent years into building a top-notch research establishment, hoping to keep its best scientists working here and lure back those who are abroad. Moreover, there are more foreign students from China attending US universities than from any other country—more than 150,000 annually spending over $4 billion for their US educations, and those students first went to school in China and then came to the US as a college student. In fact, China’s next president has a daughter attending Harvard. When these students return to China with their university degrees, they will be bringing the innovative, critical thinking, problems solving skills home with them.

One example of the results of this investment in “top-notch research” may be seen in a recent breakthrough in carbon nanotube-based cables technology at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Source: Science Daily

To the hardcore skeptic demanding more evidence, in early 2012, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the world’s most prestigious research foundations, announced Tuesday that it was honoring 28 biomedical researchers who studied in the United States and then returned to their home nations. Each will receive a five-year research grant of $650,000.

Seven — more than any other nation — were from China.

“They’re incredibly energetic, extremely smart, highly productive and accomplished,” Robert Tjian, president of the institute, said of the Chinese winners in a telephone interview.” Source: New York Times

Return to The Return of Innovation to China – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China’s Translation Sensation

March 19, 2012

On March 14, I published a post about Premier Wen Jiabao’s farewell speech to China’s National People’s Congress before he steps down later this year and retires from political office.

China is a land of many spoken languages and one written language. In fact, Chinese movies often have subtitles flowing across the bottom of the screen in Mandarin for the hundreds of millions of Chinese that do not speak Mandarin but only read it. To understand how complex this mix of languages is, Mandarin by itself has more than 50 dialects and there are 56 different minority languages.

I suggest you see Wikipedia’s list of Chinese dialects and languages for a better understanding of how complex China is and how amazing it is that this nation has been a unified country for more than two millennia.

After Wen Jiaboa’s speech, I read the media translations in English from several sources and had no idea that in his speech he quoted original poetry dating back to one of ancient China’s greatest and earliest recognized poets, Ch’u Yu (343 – 289 BC). Since Wen’s speech, the micro-Blog debate and criticism in China have been intense, which demonstrates that in China, expressing an opinion is not forbidden.

How would Americans react if an American President gave his State of the Union address laced with quotes from Latin or Old English?

In Latin, The Lord’s Prayer starts, “PATER noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum.” In Old English, it starts with, “Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum…”

In China, the response to Wen Jiabao’s use of an ancient and dead Chinese language mostly focused on the translator, Miss Zhang Lu (in Chinese the last name comes first, which emphasized the importance of the family over the individual and demonstrates a major difference between the West and Asia).  Zhang majored in international law and graduated from China’s Institute of Diplomacy. She then became a translator for top ranking Chinese Communist Party officials.

Zhang was praised by many for translating Wen Jiabao’s “I’d not regret dying nine times,” to “For the ideal that I hold dear to my heart, I’d not regret dying a thousand times.”

I printed 14 pages of comments from a Chinese language micro Blog that was part of the national debate, which started with comments by Chinese professors from different universities in China including Fudan University, Tsinghua University and Shanghai’s Foreign Language Institute correcting and offering suggestions for Miss Zhang’s translation.


Sexy Beijing: Lost in Translation

I’m going to focus on one example of one of the ancient Chinese poems Wen Jiabao quoted when he said, “知我罪我,其惟春秋”, which in proper English translates into “History will judge what I have done.”

Miss Zhang’s translation said, “There are people who will appreciate what I have done but there are also people who will criticize me. Ultimately, history will have the final say.”

One professor’s suggested translation said, “What I have done may be appreciated and criticized by the people, yet ultimately history will give me a fair assessment (or judgment).”

In addition, here are several typical comments from the same micro Blog:

Comment A

What’s wrong with Premier Wen acting like he was competing in a poetry contest? He ought to earn credit for doing a good job managing the country, not to impress with his skill of reciting ancient Chinese poetry.

Comment B

It goes to show how difficult it is to be a leader of Chinese today. Wen should not be criticized for incorporating in his speech a couple of lines from ancient poems. Americans didn’t criticize their President W. Bush for saying things that didn’t make sense or made the wrong sense. Instead, they thought him cool and a “man of his-true-self”.

Comment C

For Heaven’s sake Wen represents the face of China. Americans don’t have trouble with Obama’s talent in speaking beautifully. Instead of ridiculing, they appreciated him.

Comment D

Oh, come on, don’t be so naive. Every question at Wen’s last press conference was pre-selected. Premier Wen must have communicated with his translator prior to show-time. He would never risk the young translator’s misunderstanding or misinterpreting his use of ancient poems.

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In conclusion, the alleged reason Premier Wen Jiabao used passages from ancient Chinese poems may have been to not only demonstrate the beauty of the Chinese language and his knowledge of it, but to infer that China does not need to bend to the rest of the world and do things as a foreign leader might do but as a Chinese leader.

In fact, it is Chinese tradition for scholars and government officials in China to quote ancient poetry and literature in speeches. In addition, the beauty of language is valued highly in China. The use of spoken and written language to many Chinese is not just getting a meaning or emotion across, it is also considered a form of art.

Meanwhile, in the West/America, we read an English translation of his speech, which is a translation of a translation and walk away thinking we know what one of China’s leaders meant, which brings me to a final question.

What happens when there is a mistake in translation during sensitive political negotiations between countries such as China and America?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Americans doing Business in China – Part 8/16

February 28, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Matt Egan of Fox Business.com reported, “Muhtar Kent, the CEO of All-American corporate giant Coca-Cola… knocked Washington over its handling of taxes and the level of political rancor and said he prefers investing in faster-growing countries like China, Russia and Brazil… In many respects, Kent told the paper, it is easier to do business with China, which he compared with a well-managed company.”

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This guest post was Originally published by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption.

The original is a long piece with many photos. If you want to see more of Hangzhou and the Westlake, I recommend that after you read the few paragraphs here, you click on the link above. My wife and I have visited this city and lake several times over the years, and I enjoyed Bob’s piece about his visit and had a few good laughs.

Bog Grant wrote, Below is something that I sent to my family and they all said they liked it. However, they are family and what else could they say? I have a manager/partner in China whose name is David – we have associates named Eric and Uncle Wong. I live in Missouri and my relatives live in Wyoming. This sets the stage for the following recap of My Big Day Off – In China:

We found ourselves on a Saturday in a city I have visited before named Hangzhou (Han-Joe) with no appointments and time on our hands before our plane departed for Shenzhen (Sin-Gin). There is a lake in Hangzhou named West Lake. Not a very original name for the Chinese, but using Chinese logic, I am certain – somewhere – there is a North Lake, South Lake, Southeast Lake, Southwest Lake, South South Lake – you get the picture. The possibilities are endless.

David said, “Let’s take a boat ride.” Great – sounded like a good idea. Sitting quietly in a boat watching the countryside and relaxing – NOT. Think Progressive Dinner.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued February 29, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 9 (a guest post) or return to Part 7

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This guest post first appeared on February 25, 2010.


Americans doing Business in China – Part 3/16

February 23, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: According to Slate,, “The first Chinese eateries in America, known as ‘chow chows’, arrived in California in the mid-19th century to serve Cantonese laborers.”  In addition, NPR.org says, “There are about 40,000 Chinese restaurants in the US (today) — more than the number of McDonald’s and Taco Bells combined.”

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Guest Post by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine.

How can you embrace an enemy of the USA?  More important–why would you?  If these questions have not been outright asked of me–they have been implied.  Why I chose to speak highly of China, and its people, is something that I do willingly and with pride.

I am not the Manchurian Candidate. I was never brainwashed during my visits there. I was not tortured or forced into my feelings in any way. Subliminal messages were not piped into my hotel room at night. I did not have bamboo shoots shoved under my fingernails. I was not drugged or impaired in any way unless it was done willingly by drinking too much of that fine Chinese beer.

Within my small circle of business contacts, experiences, and associations I would say it is Western business people who are trying to brain wash the Chinese. As I developed my business relationships, I have read of those that experienced failures mainly because Western companies tried to “Westernize” their Chinese business partners rather than adapting to their Chinese partners way of doing business.

Maybe it has been different for others who have done business within China but for me, personally, my successes came from letting the Chinese conduct business in “their way”, and I tried to educate my customers in their methods and ways. I won’t say it was not frustrating at times—in fact, it was frustrating most of the time.

However, in the end, it was what worked best for me while others failed. Honor and “saving face” are very important to the Chinese—I tried not to put any of my associates in a position that threatened either.

Again, just from my experience, I have to say that people from any part of the world can work together to achieve a common goal if all parties can be flexible and understanding. From my perspective, this is the true receipt for success among the world’s population.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued February 24, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 4 (a guest post) or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This guest post first appeared on February 14, 2010


Chinese Women in Science & Business

February 14, 2012

Business Week.com says, “Women now hold 34 percent of senior management roles in China, excluding Hong Kong, up from 31 percent in 2009, according to a 2011 Grant Thornton International Business Report, a survey of global companies.”


Tianjin Women’s Business Incubator (China)

The Harvard Business Review says, “In the decades since Deng Xiaoping instituted market reform, millions of women have profitably followed Deng’s dictate that “to get rich is glorious.” Half of the 14 billionaires on Forbes magazine’s 2010 list of the world’s richest self-made women are from mainland China… Backing them up are legions of qualified and ambitious women who, increasingly, are the engines powering China’s economic juggernaut.”

However, in the Western media, I often read or hear about sex slaves and prostitution in China, which is an example of Yellow Journalism at its worst. Seldom do we hear about China’s women in business and the sciences.


Professor Vivian Wing-Way Yam from China – 2011 Laureate for Asia and Pacific

What we should hear about from the Western media but often do not are stories about women like Dr. Zhang Yanxuan, an innovative scientist, who started a successful business in China to destroy mites that eat food crops. With twenty-seven years of scientific knowledge and government support, she raises predatory mites, a biologically safe method to kill the mites that eat crops. Her products are also being exported to other countries.


RSC Council member Professor Helen Fielding introduces leading Indian and Chinese scientists who talk about their inspiration and give advice to women starting out in science

China is currently the world’s leading pesticide user allowing chemical companies to make hefty profits while poisoning the environment and the people. However, Dr. Yanxuan’s predatory mites may replace pesticides as China’s government is becoming greener in their thinking.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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