How China will reach UN Climate Change commitments

pollution.jpgThe Shenzhen Daily notes that the "Nation to remove outdated industries" in a story stuck back on page 9 of the paper today.

Let me interpret a bit of formalistic langauge that you will see in the article that might get lost in translation.  Basically, China is making a nationwide commitment to poke the Western World in the eye with the ability to lower the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 40 to 45 precent by 2020.

First, how the hell can they lower it that much?  Well, it's pretty damn dirty here, in some of the darker corners of the country.  So only making it half as polluted as it is today within the next ten years means all they have to do is stop doing the most polluting things they are doing today.  You have to look at where they started, rather than the targeted percentage quoted anywhere. 

AIDS Day in China?

0013729ece6b0c7f15b221.jpgGiven that when we got here in the early 1990's, AIDS was not yet something that existed in public -- and given that the China Daily has not been a great supporter of the United States or the West in general, we are happy to see some human rights issues being recognized in a large photo essay yesterday and today.  Front page coverage of such a sensitive subject in a hard copy daily paper here is quite extraordinary.

Sure we can say that China is not playing by the same rules as the rest of the world if that is what we want to focus on.  But sometimes they do 'the right thing' and we should applaud them for doing so.

Emerging Civil Society in Shenzhen

Recently I experienced something that moved, astonished and excited me. I’m not sure whether Shenzhen’s Civil Society is fully here yet, but at least I think Civil Society in Shenzhen is becoming a part of our day to day reality.
I got a call late last Friday afternoon. “Are you Ms Pan, this call is from Shenzhen Public Security Bureau”. What? I’ve never got their call before. My first response is a little bit strange. ” Yes, I am. What’s up? I’m in trouble ?”

”No, no, sorry to interrupt you. Can I take you a few minutes to response to your queries and advice to the People's Government of Shenzhen Municipality hot line a few weeks ago. Your inquiries were forwarded it to our department for us to follow up on. Firstly, many thanks for your participation actively and good advice.”   “Oh, that’s ok”, I started to put my heart at rest

Occasionally the older planned economy mindset in China really gets in the way of reality

P1010138.JPGOccasionally, here in China, we run into a situation where the older planned economy mindset has not yet matured and aligned itself with the new reality -- and we end up running into all kinds of odd stumbling blocks that seem quite silly when compared to all the other positive or future oriented things that are happening here.

"We are Chinese and this is the way we think it is supposed to work -- and so you have to confirm to our standards -- or you can not import what you want?"

And of course, this time it's personal.  The photo here is a dugout sailing canoe from Bali.  The guy in the picture there is Nyoman, and old guru type guy that ends up winning a lot of the traditional sailing outrigger canoe races down in Bali.  He and some of his friends actually make these things right on the beach.  And so when I was down there recently, I said I wanted to buy one of these and figure out how to bring it back to China. 

The Chinese PIT Application System is Updating By Ella Xu

Like we always tell our clients, China is changing fast everywhere.  Now, it is time for the government to throw a loop around the Personal Income Tax ( “PIT” in short) application more strictly.  Starting in 2002, the government started to develop the new systems for collecting PIT and implemented them in some pilot cities in the past years.  It came to Shenzhen in 2008 and started be used to for officials and employees in big companies. The definition of big companies is the company whose amount of PIT submitted on behalf of employees is over RMB100, 000 per year. It will spread to smaller companies and then finally cover all the companies in Shenzhen.

Obama to add tariffs to some Chinese tire imports -- Umm, has everyone in the United States forgotten their history?

car tires.jpgCNN is reporting that  "the president decided to remedy the clear disruption to the U.S. tire industry based on the facts and the law in this case.  The tariffs will start at 35 percent in the first year, then would decline to 30 percent in the second year and 25 percent in the third."

And of course, the Chinese have already started to retaliate.  China's commerce ministry said on Sunday it had launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of U.S. chicken products and vehicles.

The last time somebody tried something like this, we ended up adding a word to our collective vobabulary to represent the fall out from that kind of short sighted thinking -- "Hooverville."

Mergers & Acquisitions are different in China, so lots of the questions you may want to ask are not going to apply here

Our office is in the middle of a handful of existing entity restructuring or merger.jpgcorporate acquisition matters and it is rather odd how many times we find ourselves saying, "Yes, we understand the question but no that concept does not apply here..."  In fact, sometimes the Chinese system will have no equivalent.  And when you do try to impose a Western style legal idea here, they may smile at you politely, but privatley they are likely to think you are being a bit silly.

Sometimes that is because the legal system here is at a certain state of development and those concepts have not yet become commonplace.  But that is not what I am talking about here.  They know that part.  It is their system and they know those faults much better than we do and steps are being taken to resolve things like food safety testing, financial transparency and the like.

South African pigeon is 'faster than broadband', where in China, we can use our cell phones in elevators, tunnels, etc...

winston.jpgA Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.

Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.

Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm's slow internet speeds.

The idea for the race came when a member of staff at Unlimited IT complained about the speed of data transmission on ADSL.  He said it would be faster by carrier pigeon.

"We renown ourselves on being innovative, so we decided to test that statement," Unlimited's Kevin Rolfe told the Beeld newspaper.  The full story is carried on the BBC if you want to read more about Winston the data transfer pigeon.

China cracks down on drunk driving and you might do jail time...even if you are a foreigner

China drunk driving.jpgThe foreign community should take a moment and learn a bit about the new drinking and driving enforcement policies here in Shenzhen and nationwide.

Recently the local authorities in Shenzhen have stepped up controls and if drivers are caught with a blood alcohol exceeding the 0.08% limit, they risk jail sentences and fines.

Under these new policies, which have been enforced strictly in the past weeks, driving under the influence of alcohol can result in a 15 day detention as well as a driver's education program and fines.  That means jail, folks.  Chinese jail.

Arbitration is better than a Chinese Court; China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (“CIETAC”)

cietac banner.jpg

When signing a contract with a Chinese supplier or a buyer or a seller – or virtually any kind of contract that you can think of where at least one side of it touches China – what happens if something goes wrong? Well, one way to ensure that you have a chance of knowing the answer to that question is to insert an arbitration clause about how to solve any dispute in the future should one arise.

For many years, we have recommended that our clients choose the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (“CIETAC”) instead of People’s Court. Arbitration has long been a favored means of resolving commercial disputes here, with CIETAC being here since 1956.   Compared with other methods of dispute resolution, arbitration has the following advantages:

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