Are you in China at the pleasure of the Emperor? Michael Sylvester

Le Petit Journal ran an engraving in 1898 about the West carving up China, which at the time wasking.jpg deemed to be the West protecting the world agaisnt the 'yellow peril.'  The term is often credited to Kaiser Willhelm in the same year that this cartoon first appeared. 

The governance that followed was known as the Treaty Port days here in China, which followed the Opium War days in the mid 1800's.   You know, that whole thing about Britian selling opium to the Chinese for silver.  After the Brits hooked the Chinese on opium, they then used the silver collected from drug dealers in China to buy tea with it in China to send back to England.  Often, here in the South, the drug lords and tea sellers were the same government actors.

Given the cultural norm of having of a very long memory here, this is seen as not so very long ago to many Chinese.  And...one can always win an argument by deciding when the argument begins and ends... 

Our problem is that many seem to be ignoring that those days are over and that China is a country of laws today -- and being here at the pleasure of the Emperor is no longer a toothless, unenforceable threat, as it was deemed to be in centuries past.  (Sure, the law is messy but so too was the law in the US when moving from an agrarain to an industrial society -- so if you want to fight with me about that part, call the office.) 

We have folks come in and speak to us about restructuring their companies here in China to bring them into line with modern Chinese regulation.  But, when the breadth of the changes, sometimes not even based on the cost of compliance, are fully evaulated, we are often confronted with a client not wishing to do anything.

"That all sounds too confusing and we have been doing it like this for 20 years and we see no need to change now."

But, getting away with something does not equal being given permission to do it.  

Even if the State here knows what you are doing, them not shutting you down will never equal support for your actions.  Rather, the perceived benefits they get from you being here are permitted -- at least until such time that what they get from you is something they can not get anywhere else.

When they can replace who you are, what you do, etc... you should expect to be shown the door. It does not have to end that way.  But, if you still think it is like 1898, there is not much anybody will be able to do to help you...