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


Ten Days out of the Middle Kingdom

July 7, 2011

On April 18, The New Yorker published The Grand Tour, a long piece about ordinary Chinese pouring out of China and visiting the world as tourists a few days at a time and Europe is the most popular destination.

Evan Osnos, The New Yorker’s correspondent in China, where he has lived since 2005, wrote the piece.

To research it, Osnos joined a “Classic European” Chinese bus tour that would “traverse five countries in ten days”.  He was the only non-Chinese, and the 38 members of the tour ranged in age from six to seventy.

At 16 printed pages, it took me two sittings to read The Grand Tour, but I found it to be worth my time to learn how serious China is about joining the global community.

However, this transition did not come about easily.

An ancient Chinese proverb says, “You can be comfortable at home for a thousand days, or step out the door and run right into trouble.” Then Confucius threw guilt into the mix when he taught, “While your parents are alive, it is better not to travel far away.”

In fact, in the famous letter that Emperor Qianlong wrote to King George of Britain in 1793, he indicated there was no desire to have foreigners visit or live in China or for the Chinese to leave. “As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures.… The distinction between Chinese and barbarian is most strict, and your Ambassador’s request that barbarians shall be given full liberty to disseminate their religion is utterly unreasonable.”

In addition, Osnos said, Mao considered tourism anti-Socialist, so it wasn’t until 1978, a few years after his death, that Chinese started to gain approval to travel to other countries, and in 1997 the government allowed Chinese tourists to visit other counties in a “planned, organized and controlled manner”.

Thirteen years later in 2010, “Fifty-seven million Chinese traveled outside China,” Osnos wrote, “ranking China third worldwide in international tourism.”

During the tour, the first stop was in the modest German city of Trier, which the Chinese language guidebook described as the “Mecca of the Chinese people”.  Trier was the birthplace of Karl Marx, and there was an early morning photo opportunity in front of the house where Marx was born.

In one conversation with another member of the tour, Osnos learns what Chinese think of the Marxist revolutionary ideas that ruled the country under Mao from 1949 to 1978. “We spent thirty years on what we now know was a disaster,” one of the Chinese tourists said.

As for middle class Chinese wanting to leave China to live in other countries, think again. In another conversation in the Swiss town of Interlaken, Osnos heard, “Other than different buildings, the Seine didn’t look all that different from the Huangpu (river in Shanghai). Subway? We have a subway. You name it, we’ve got it.”

A Chinese sanitation engineer on the tour could not help but notice in Milan, Italy the abundant graffiti and overstuffed trash bins. His comment, “If it was like this in Shanghai, old folks would be calling us all afternoon to complain.”

If you want to discover more of how Chinese see the world and what they do as tourists outside China , I suggest spending time reading The Grand Tour.  As I said earlier, it was worth my time.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Why Asian-Americans and/or Chinese-Americans Cannot Eat Bitterness in America

July 6, 2011

On April 25, 2011, Nadra Kareem Nittle wrote, Are U.S. Universities Discriminating Against Asian Students? The answer to Nittle’s question is “YES”.

The reason I researched and wrote this post was because of John Putnam’s Chinese in the Gold Rush and my three part series on The Chinese in America.

After all, how many Caucasions, African Americans and Latino students would have to start at a two or four-year state college if Asians filled 40% of the seats at Ivy League universities? To understand what this means, discover the facts from Recognizing Good Parenting Parts 4 to 8 to learn who works harder (on average).

In The Chinese in America – Part 3, I wrote, “of the continued discrimination against Asian-Americans and Chinese in the US by other ethnic groups, which includes Caucasians, African Americans and Latinos.”

In the US, since the Civil Rights era preferential treatment favored African-Americans and Latinos since Asian-Americans tend to swallow their bitterness instead of protesting violently as the other minorities have.

For example, the NAACP says it fights for social justice for all Americans. However, facts demonstrate that the NAACP tends to favor legislation that focuses on benefits for African Americans. If this were not true, there would be no need for political organizations to serve Latinos and Asian-Americans.

In fact, Africana Online says, “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been instrumental in improving the legal, educational, and economic lives of African Americans.” There is no mention of the other minorities that suffer from racism in the US.

However, Latino Political Clout is growing in America to challenge the NAACP’s voice.

The recent US Census indicated Latinos continue to become a bigger chunk of the American population. With growing numbers come a series of political and social changes to the country. The numbers indicate a growth in Latino political influence will change American politics. Source: rt.com (click on “Latino Political Clout”)

We know that the number of votes a minority such as African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans deliver equals political influence.

African American political organizations demonstrate the power of this influence.

Congressional Black Caucus

California Legislative Black Caucus

Black Leadership Forum

Georgia Legislative Black Caucus

Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus

Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus

South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus

Latino American political organizations are challenging African-American influence.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

League of United Latin American Citizens

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the non-partisan leadership organization of the nation’s more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials, which has the NALEO Educational Fund — the nation’s leading 501 (c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

Mexican American Political Association

California Latino Legislative Caucus

Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP)

As demonstrated, Asian American political organizations have a long way to go to catch up to African-American and Latino political influence. You may notice two of the Asian-American organization focus on Chinese-Americans, which represents about 3.5 million Chinese US citizens dividing the potential influence of 14.5 million Asian-Americans.


What has the NAACP done to end global slavery? Find the answer at NAACP International Affairs Goal

 Asian-Americans and Chinese-Americans are crippled by their cultures when it comes to increasing political influence in the US since Chinese parents teach their children to eat bitterness.

In China, the tradition of “eat bitter” has been passed down from generation to generation. “Eat bitter” is a literal translation of Chinese "吃苦", which refers to endure hardship including discrimination.

Chinese American Political Association

Chinese American Democratic Club

Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

80-20 Initiative

Asian Pacific Americans for Progress

The 2010 census shows us minority influence is not equal since there are 40 million African-Americans, 26.7 million Hispanic or Latino Americans but only 14.5 million Asian Americans.  Numbers count since more people shout louder.

Elected officials from local, state and national levels would rather have Asian-Americans claiming racism than the larger ethnic populations that often act out their rage at not getting what they believe they are entitled through violence such as burning and looting businesses and wrecking vehicles during riots.

Discover the Timeline of Race Riots from 1980.

When has the US seen a race riot caused by a mob of Asian Americans? Instead, the few times any action has been taken, Asian-Americans resort to the legal system that may favor the larger, more vocal and violent minorities in America.

I suspect that “Eating Bitterness” was influenced by Taoism, Buddhism and Confucius while in the West the warlike and often-violent religions of Christianity and Islam do not follow the same path.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Chinese Opera and Mao Wei Tao, China’s Living Treasure

June 18, 2011

Mao Wei Tao is considered a living treasure in China. She imitates men in the opera roles she plays—a reversal from Imperial China when women were not allowed on stage so men played female roles.

“In 1923, the training of female actors for this art form was set up. Since 1928, the Shaoxing opera troupes, consisting of solely female actors, began their performances in Shanghai. In a few years, females impersonating males had become the most important feature of this opera form, and at the same time the Yue opera became well known all over China.”

East China’s Zhejiang province gave China Shaoxing Opera’s Mao Wei Tao.

In her thirty-year career on the stage, she’s best known as an outstanding male impersonator with a cult following of women.

I was introduced to Yue Opera in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province about a decade ago.

Mao Wei Tao and her husband have a theater company near the shores of the famous Westlake. My wife translated while I watched the live-opera performance in fascination.

The costumes were lavish and the acting and opera was dramatic while classical Chinese music played in the background.

The challenge today is to keep this form of Chinese opera alive. The audience for opera is shrinking dramatically in China while remaining popular with the older generation.

Television, movies and the Internet are claiming the shorter attention spans of younger Chinese

Mao Wei Tao, considered an innovative genius on stage, adapts and works to keep the art form alive. According to her husband, no two performances are exactly alike.

In November 2010, she performed in Taiwan as a cultural ambassador from the mainland.

This revised and edited post first appeared on March 14, 2010 as Mao Weitao and Yue Opera

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

 

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Renewing Pride One Win at a Time

June 10, 2011

Recently a Chinese friend was proud to announce that Li Na won the French Open in Tennis on June 6.

Li Na is the first Chinese woman ever to win an Open Tennis women’s final title and become a world champion.

My friend watched it on a Chinese language cable news station the morning Li Na won, and said, “I bet the American media will not report this, and we won’t see it on the evening sports news.”  The Chinese news anchor said that all of China would have been watching the game even if they had to give up sleep.

However, my Chinese friend was wrong. I Googled “Li Na wins the French Open” and discovered that ESPN, Yahoo Sports, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Fox Sports, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, etc. had reported Li Na’s win. The comment my friend made reflects an attitude among many in China.

In fact, there may be a little truth to what the said. After I searched the first two pages of Google hits, I still hadn’t seen the New York Times and I’m not surprised. Over time, I have discovered that the New York Times along with The Economist in the UK seems to be particularly antagonistic toward mainland China in the way the news is reported about The Middle Kingdom.

The morning before Li Na won the French Open, I heard from the same Chinese language news source that Chinese military and police snipers had won four out of five events at the 10th Military and Police Sniper World Cup in Budapest. The Chinese snipers placed first in four of the five events winning four gold medals. Source: The Firearm Blog

For those that watched the 2008 Beijing Olympics, you may remember that although America won the most medals at 110, the Chinese were a close second at 100 and China won 51 gold medals to America’s 36.

What Li Na accomplished at the French Open and what the Chinese military and police snipers won is a sign that the Chinese are regaining confidence and rebuilding the pride that was lost after Western imperial powers won two Opium Wars, destroyed the emperor’s Summer Palace in 1860, the failure of the Boxer Rebellion by Chinese peasant in 1900, the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the anarchy that followed, the invasion by Japan during World War II, the loss of Taiwan to an American supported dictator, and the fact that the Western media won’t stop criticizing China over Tibet or let the world forget 1989 and what happened in Tiananmen Square.

What angers most Chinese is the Western media criticizing China over Tibet and Tiananmen Square based on falsehoods (you know—half lies).  Most Chinese know the whole truth but many Westerners don’t and do not care to know.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Chinese in the Gold Rush – Part 1/2

June 5, 2011

Guest post by John Putnam

Of all the diverse peoples that poured into California after the discovery of gold, none stood out more than the Chinese. Radically different in dress, language and culture these new men were first welcomed because of their willingness to work hard for low wages at any task presented them.

John McDougall, the 2nd Governor of California, described them as “one of the most worthy of our newly adopted citizens.”

At the start of 1849 only 54 Chinese were in California. By1852 there were nearly 12,000 living here and only seven of them women. Because of turmoil in Canton another 20,000 would arrive that same year.

A community of Chinese Americans quickly grew in San Francisco. They marched in Fourth of July parades and rejoiced at California’s statehood, but celebrated their lunar new year in their traditional way.

In 1852 a Cantonese opera was performed at the American Theater and in 1854 a Chinese language newspaper began publishing.

The Kong Chow Association formed to help the new arrivals adapt to their new home. Then another, the Chew Yick, elected Norman As-sing, an English speaking owner of the Macao and Woosung Restaurant as their leader. Soon there were six associations called tongs that combined to form the Six Companies to better represent Chinese interest.

Continued on June 6, 2011 in Chinese in the Gold Rush – Part 2

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Reprinted by permission. First published May 23, 2011 in My gold rush tales. John Putnam is the author of Hangtown Creek, a thrilling saga of the early California gold rush.

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Translating “We Do Chicken Right”

September 9, 2010

中學老師把 KFC 肯德基店裏的廣告 A middle school English teacher in China asked her students to translate China’s Kentucky Fried Chicken advertisement “We do chicken right”, and she received twenty-eight different translated answers.

Please keep in mind that the word “chicken” also means “prostitute” in modern Chinese slang depending on context.

[ We do chicken right!](烹雞專家)     發給學生練習翻譯,結果有以下答案:

Here is what the students wrote:

1. 我們做雞是對的!                    It’s correct that we be prostitutes,

2. 我們就是做雞的!                    We are cut out to be prostitutes.

3. 我們有做雞的權利!               We have the right to be prostitutes.

4. 我們只做雞的右半邊!           We want only be the right side of a chicken.

5. 我們只作右邊的雞!               We want to be chickens on the right side

6. 我們可以做雞,對吧?           We can choose to be prostitutes, right?

7. 我們行使了雞的權利!           We perform a chicken’s right.

8. 我們主張雞權!                        We call for chicken’s rights.

9. 我們還是做雞好!                    It’s better that we be prostitutes.

10. 做雞有理!                               It makes sense to be prostitutes.

11. 我們讓雞向右看齊!             Let’s ask the chickens to look right.

12. 我們只做正確的雞!             We only want to be the correct chickens.

13. 我們肯定是雞!                      We are prostitutes–no doubt.

14. 只有我們可以做雞!             We are the only one who could be prostitutes.

15. 向右看!有雞!                      Look at your right, there are chickens.

16. 我們要對雞好!                      We must be kind to chickens.

17. 我們願意雞好!                      We wish chickens all our best.

18. 我們的材料是正宗的雞肉! We use real chickens.

19. 我們公正的做雞!                 We must feel justified to be prostitutes.

20. 我們做雞正點耶∼∼               Time is right to prostitute.

21. 我們只做正版的雞!             We only want to be original prostitutes.

22. 我們做雞做的很正確!        To be prostitutes is to be correct.

23. 我們正在做雞好不好?        We’re making chickens – will that be okay?

24. 我們一定要把雞打成右派!We must turn the chickens into rightists.

25. 我們做的是右派的雞!        We are right-winged prostitutes.

26. 我們只做右撇子雞!            We are right-handed prostitutes.

27. 我們做雞最專業!                We are professional prostitutes.

28. 我們叫雞有理!                    The chickens and prostitutes are always correct.

China is a tonal language. There are four tones for each Chinese written symbol.  Each tone has a different meaning. Say something in the wrong tone, and you could insult someone.

Sir Robert Hart, the main character in the “Concubine Saga”, knew the importance of translating English into Chinese properly. Translation mistakes turn into insults that end in bad feelings that may lead to war.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. 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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