In case any of you forgot…..

This spectacle of Trump has led to much chest thumping in the Chinese Media.   All of it of course reminding the Chinese People, at least those stuck in China anyway, of the superiority of their system.  
China simply does not have a thing for uncertainty.    They prefer predictability.  It’s neater.  Requires less sweat, and certainly less bandwidth.  

Still, the opportune bashing of democracy in China’s Media and how it works does not ring hollow with the masses.   In a sad sort of way, it simply makes those stuck in China with no way out feel better about themselves.

Yet one must remember Chinese do not come here, or to Australia, or Canada, or New Zealand, or Europe for “democracy”.   They come here for the clean air, the ability to separate themselves from the “race to the bottom” competitiveness of Chinese society.   To better lead a life free of China’s rules and regulations.   But not for democracy.   They want a better life for their children, yes.   But never mistake the Chinese neighbors down the street as “Fans of the West”. 

None of your Chinese neighbors have heard of Thomas Paine, and all of them know of Angelababy. 
Rather, they simply want a better life.   By their standards.  And methinks it has very little to do with something as boring as say, the right to vote.    Take my wife for instance.   She never votes.  I finally had to force her to go to the polling station with me in 2012.   And I showed her how to choose her candidates.    (She voted for Romney.)  Most Chinese, meanwhile, will probably never exercise their rights.    That’s not why they’re here.  Many of them just want the freedom to spend all the money they stole.

Still, despite the cultural ignorance of the place they live within and have decided to call home, most will simply earn nothing but the disdain and jealousy of those themselves not able to leave.

Free Trade, thanks to Bernie Sanders, has become a hot topic in America’s upcoming election.   And I’m sure it’s a hot damn topic in every Western country that sees its Middle Class dying within the shadow of all those tall bags filled with cash.   Cash that belongs to every CEO with a Chinese Factory.    Cash that American workers(or choose your country)  used to have for themselves, to buy a house with, or perhaps to use as college tuition for their children.   Except today that same tall bag of cash goes to the CEO that layed them off, in the form of a bonus. 

True the West has transferred a lot of jobs to China on its own initiative.    And I myself have been guilty as pushing for such.   I remember going to a trade show in 1996 and asking a company if there was anyway my factory in Shenzhen could make their product?  I recall a polite shrug in response.  It was obvious the idea had never occurred to him before.    I remember an Australian manufacturer of handsets telling me to go to hell when I broached the same topic. 

 “We will never build in China”, he told me.   

Now 100% of his production is there.

 In short us business folk have quickly fulfilled Marx’ prediction the West will hang itself with its own rope.

How does one compute all that transfer of wealth?   The transfer of the Wealth from the West to China surely must measure in the trillions.  (Let someone else calculate that number)
But let’s not forget the fantastic transfer of Wealth the Chinese themselves have fled with.  (true most of it stolen)

Many a private high school in America can now avoid bankruptcy thanks to the willingness of a Chinese kid to pay $40,000 a year in tuition.    True, California can thank all those Chinese Coal Barons for spending $1, 500,000 in cash for a cozy 1800 sq foot house.   But so can nearly every other state in America.  (Ok, I’m not dumb enough to live in California….my house is a wee bit larger than 1800 sq feet) 

We in the West are looking at the wrong metric.  Do any of us really care how many “jobs” (that will go to Chinese anyway) Chinese companies create overseas?   Instead look at what they spend here!!
We lost jobs….but these guys helped stave off a housing collapse where I live.   And thanks to them, my socks are still cheap! 

My not so subtle point is we benefit from the Chinese transfer of wealth as well.  Every country with a half decent standard of leaving does.   We just don’t want to take the time to compute it, because we have lives, and children and jobs ourselves to look after.  

But a transfer of Wealth is really not the proper metric to look at…..what of the transfer of Engineering and even Technology?

The West has built not only thousands of factories but probably given hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of technology as well, to China.   In short, thanks to us, China has an industrial base in size second to no one.   

That’s why one cannot go to war with China.   Too many factories spread out over too large an area.  China isn’t Japan, nice and compact.   That’s a lot of cruise missiles, friend.   And I wouldn’t be surprised if half the parts used come from China, either.
Can we say this Doomsday Party is a bust now?
Everybody was on the edge of their seat, watching China’s reserves come crumbling down like the Walls of Jericho.

Nope.  Didn’t happen.  Yeah, maybe someday it will.  But once again The Press, in its infinite wisdom,  thought China was going to act like a normal country and just bury its head in its hands as the country fell off a cliff.

Slow down.

While all the analysts’ warning make sense, and China may indeed someday(this year?) come undone,  once again, all the doomsayers simply lacked the bandwidth to understand what some foreign governments in desperate situations are capable of doing. 

Didn’t Egypt actually shut the internet down, once?

Did people actually think China was just gonna sit on the curb and do nothing?  (that’s probably what a lot of you wanted isn’t it?)

Zhang Yimou once said only North Korea can orchestrate an event better than China and he was right.   China may be the country of your hot girlfriend who just happens to like her miniskirts black and her music Lady Gaga, but it is still a country led by old men that shamelessly dye their hair black.

If a continuously reeling place like Egypt, forever unstable but sadly still a glittering example of certainty in the Middle East, can revert life back to the 80’s whenever it wants to than can we be surprised when China cracks down on its own people by possibly outright banning the carrying of foreign dollars out of the country?   Or even the accumulation of such?

China has no qualms of doing just this outright if that is what it takes.   Be under no illusions as to what China is capable of, if it believes it must do “what it must do” to survive.
Banning of all new foreign currency accounts?  Done

Immediate transfer of all current individual foreign currency accounts into rmb accounts……done
The Chinese People are used to living “for the benefit of the Nation”, ie the Face of the Party Leaders.    After all, what would the world think?   One minute you want to have an Asian Silk Road the next you cannot even pay your bills…..

Xi Jinping wants to reclaim the grandeur of China long gone.   But if you think about it, isn’t China kind of  a  nice place to be now?  Because the “China” Xi thinks of is more nostalgia and romanticism than a place that was easy to live in.   I look at China the same way I do Apple.   I remember oh so fondly(not) how cheap Apple stock was in1997 when I lived in Hong Kong.  It was around $6 a share.  Now look at it.  Hasn’t China taken the same trajectory?

I dunno about you, but I’d much prefer to be around an Apple that exists now than an Apple that was.   And as regards China I’m sure you would, too.

I’m not in the mood for “stone age tourism”, but methinks that is what XJP at times looks back fondly upon.     And in a way I cannot blame him.    Because life in China in the 50’s and 60’s was so much simpler, and less…..complex, than it is now.

Everyone was poor.   And ignorant of the world around them.   And a small group of people controlled the message.  And there was no challenge to that message.   There was no feminism, much less any such thing as a foreign currency account.   80% of the people lived in the countryside, and well, the peasants are never a threat.  No pollution.   No pervasive cheating.   No mass scheming to get ahead, amongst the people.

In short, he wants a China that his father Xi Zhongxun helped build and mold.   From the 50’s and 60’s.   But Thank God those days are gone.   Just like Apple in the 90’s, no one wants to go back to that time.   We prefer China and Apple like they are today. 

But wasn’t good old dad purged?  And wasn’t he a big supporter of liberalization?
Xi Jinping does what he does partially (in my view!) to regain lost glory for his father.   As did Bush the Bewildered.  I think some of his strongarm tactics (The Media Serves the Party) is driven partially by the need to post mortem receive approval from Dad.  Because he knows it is something his father would approve of. 

(But let’s not forget Bush the Wiser stopped short of Baghdad for a damn good reason.  Lampooned by everyone, including me, turns out Junior could’ve, should’ve learned a thing or two from Dad.)

An enduring mystery to me is why the “Sons of the Revolution”, having seen their fathers endure so much hardship for trying to do the right thing, are themselves at times more like the persecutors than the victim?    Maybe it’s because once you simply get to a certain level within the all knowing Party Hierarchy, you lose empathy for those below you.  Regardless of what shared goals and desires you may all have for a Better China.

China is still very much in “my country wrong or right” mode.   Very much like America in the 70’s and 80’s.    I’m sure a lot of folks even think that way now.

And just like us(or choose your own country, I believe when it comes to patriotism we are all the same), there is a segment of the non questioning populace that with neither hesitation nor a hint of doubt fully supports whatever The Nation is doing.  Or decided upon. 

In short, the People of China have given its leaders a Blank Check.  

I bring you the 9 Dash Line.   Or whatever island you wish to talk about at the moment. 

“All the oceans far from our shores up to the doorstep of Indonesia and the Philippines belong to us.  Or rather, they did 500 years ago; therefore they do today as well. Or should.”

Such bravado without question surely has an impact on how other nations respect and fear China, no?

Argentina sinks a Chinese boat violating its 200 mile exclusionary zone.    Nevermind the fact the trawler thought it could outrun the Argentine Navy.   (I tried to calculate on Google Maps the distance and I failed.)

What was amazing, yes, was that the Chinese fishing boat was so very, very far from home…..but even more incredible was that no one died because most of the fishermen were rescued… other Chinese fishing boats!

And then we have the Chinese trawler caught within Indonesia’s zone.    With the omnipresent Chinese coast guard trying to break the tow!

China’s disdain for international law is impressive.  (Yeah, I know, other countries are bad boys, too.)
And the Chinese people will probably just shrug.   After all, “we gotta do what we gotta do”.     When it comes to foreign policy, the Chinese are all united.   One of my assistants once told me that Chinese people are forever arguing with each other, until their country faces a foreigner.  Than China is united as one.   

Of course there is no Free Press to question the insanity of anything either.   

“My country right or wrong” is a hell of a lot more powerful of a slogan when you have a billion people backing you up.     But how far down the rabbit hole will the people be willing to follow Their Leaders?  How much Face will the Chinese People be willing to lose?    We have never faced a country like this before, with its size and penchant for regaining its lost glory.   The unspoken but widely agreed upon goal of the Chinese is to return their country to the pinnacle of power within Asia……”just like it used to be”.  

But I ask, is that really doable in the Modern World?

Once again, an example of China’s lack of introspection, and how this cultural defect hurts us all.
I’m quite positive the Chinese People don’t know how the whole “Blank Check” thing the USA gave its leaders in the 60’s as regards to Vietnam turned out.   But that is what the Party expects of its people today.  A blank check.

Japan in the 30’s used European Colonialism as a shield to hide its true intentions, ie dominance of Asia. But it never once mentioned anything about “returning to its proper place among nations”.    
It’s not about aggression to the Chinese.   It’s simply about regaining what it has lost.  And no one within a position of power in China is discouraging this. 

Make no mistake, this is the real “China Dream”.   From your friendly Chinese  neighbor down the street to the grimy peasant in the fields.   Don’t let that nirvana smile fool you.  That Chinese colleague in the cubicle next to you thinks just like everyone else.  It is the thread that holds the Chinese Nation together.

Extra Credit.....if you are one of the dozen to get through this....
The "hold pen under breast" craze is pretty cool.  I told my wife about it and she admitted pretty quickly, "I should do that".


  1. "One of my assistants once told me that Chinese people are forever arguing with each other, until their country faces a foreigner. Than China is united as one."

    Interesting,I always heard it the other way around. That Chinese stand together to get rid of the foreigners, so they can go back to what they enjoy the most; fighting with each other.

  2. The Chinese fight incessantly with each other. China, everywhere.
    I find them at times to be quite petty. Watching them in meetings that last an hour, I think to myself the West would be able to handle the same problem in a 5 minute conference call, or wouldn't even bother. Of course, we have our own idiosyncrasies as well.


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