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Avoiding the Dirty Business of Justice and Politics is Not a Good Solution

February 5th, 2014 1 comment

Politics and Law is the business of Justice.  And the Business of Justice, law and politics, is a very dirty business.

Periodically, whenever I feel safe and secure in the knowledge of my place in the world and in my profession as a lawyer practicing somewhat boring law fields, I go visit a court or a jail for a field trip.  If you have never done it, in whatever country you live in, you should.  Because the experience will remind you of the complexity of morality and fairness.

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Categories: Analysis, culture, General Tags: , ,

My Humanitarian Intervention, A Morality Tale in US

January 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Those who read my writings would probably get the impression that I’m very strictly non-interventionist and somewhat cold-hearted.

But those who know me in person would see a more complex side of me. I actually do help people a lot, beyond my work. I tutor students of poor background. I donate blood. I even volunteer at a local food bank to prepare meals for the homeless.

So perhaps I believe on interventions on a personal level or for some specific goals. I don’t know if that’s true.

Perhaps 1 of my recent experiences of morality tale in US would better illustrate the lessons of interventions more clearly.

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A History of US Strategies in South China Sea

January 19th, 2014 3 comments

We often hear of the accusations of China’s ambitions and designs in the South China Sea.

Some of it is undoubtedly true and expected, China has claims in the area for a long time now.  It’s not new claims.  So, certainly China would have ambitions to meet its claims.

However, rarely discussed is the US ambitions in the SCS.  When it has no claims in the area, it trumps up its “interests in freedom of navigation”.  That’s akin to a tourist getting into a local land dispute.  So, there must be more to it.

There is.  And the history of SCS demonstrates US’s strategy and ambitions, when analyzed in clarity and details.

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Errors of Soft Power, a Year-end Review

December 29th, 2013 6 comments

As 2013 comes to an end, we draw upon some lessons of this past year, particularly in regards to the concept of “soft power”, which is discussed often on this forum and in the Western media.

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Another Suspicious Chinese Espionage Case

December 17th, 2013 5 comments

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/china-military/#article/part3

http://m.ice.gov/news/releases/1309/130906denver.htm?f=m

A Chinese national, who was residing in Oakland, Calif., pleaded guilty Sept. 3 to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act and to Smuggle Goods from the United States.

This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney John Walsh, District of Colorado, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Kumar C. Kibble.

Philip Chaohui He, aka Philip Hope, is scheduled to be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel Dec. 18. He is currently in federal custody.

According to court documents, including the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, He attempted to illegally export to China radiation-hardened computer memory circuits used in satellite communications with a value of almost $550,000. He, the only employee of Oakland, California-based Sierra Electronic Instruments (SEI), purchased 312 radiation-hardened circuits from a Colorado manufacturer. The circuits purchased by He are categorized as defense articles within the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Lawfully exporting defense articles requires licensing from the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.

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A Sobering View of Asia, Why Pivot Will Fail

December 16th, 2013 7 comments

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/john-glaser-intelligence-foreign-policy-world/2013/dec/13/americans-can-do-without-bogus-narratives-china-po/

This is a rare big picture sobering look of Asia, boiling down the Asian Pivot as nothing more than “bogus” and “propaganda”.

But more practically, unstatedly, the facts are ripe for the reasons why the Pivot will fail.

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Full Time Nationalistic Journalism In Review

December 15th, 2013 6 comments

There comes to a level of nationalism in journalism that trends a full time full-tilt kind of bias, to the point that “bias” seems almost inadequate.  This is now in the Western media.

Take couple of stories, (really non-stories made into stories).

(1) “USS Cowpens: Why China forced a confrontation at sea with US Navy“.

uss cowpens location

(2) “China Rejects More US Corn Amid Trade Tensions“.

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China “Withholding” Visas From Foreign Journalists. Plenty of Self-Censorship At Home.

December 10th, 2013 16 comments

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-withholds-visas-nyt-bloomberg-reporters-21144608

This is apparently a continuation of an old story of how China is “expelling” foreign journalists en masse.  However, there are some conflicting details in the story itself.

“Withholding” visas means they accepted the applications, but won’t issue the the visas.  However the article later explained, “Chinese authorities had initially accepted resident journalist visa renewal applications from The Times’ reporters. But they stopped doing so — and in some cases returned applications to reporters — after the newspaper ran a report last month detailing ties between JPMorgan Chase and a consultancy in China run by Wen’s daughter.”

If they won’t accept the applications, or return the applications, that’s not “withholding” the visas.  The Applications were just REJECTED for some reason, usually technical.  As previous story on this noted, the Chinese government had explained that the applications were rejected for technical /formality reasons.

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A Different Memorial Riles Japanese Nationalists, By Merely Talking About It.

November 21st, 2013 3 comments

Japan recently reacted negatively with much fanfare, over the news that the South Korean and Chinese governments indicated “progress” on “cooperation” to build a Memorial Hall for Ahn Jung-Geun, who shot and killed Hirobumi Ito, then Japan’s top official in Korea, at the railway station in Harbin in northeast China in 1909.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/china-praises-korean-assassin-whom-japan-calls-a-criminal

Many Chinese and Koreans consider Ahn to be a “resistance fighter” and a hero.  Ahn also had/has many Japanese admirers.  Japan considers him a “criminal”.

But there is 1 note, though, the Memorial Hall hasn’t even been built yet.  It’s all just talk right now.

And all China said was, “China will in accordance with relevant regulations on memorial facilities involving foreigners make a study to push forward relevant work.”

“Make a study to push forward….”  China hasn’t even agreed to allow it yet.  They just said they were going to look INTO the South Korean request.

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Another Housing Bubble in US? (Under the Cover of China’s Housing Bubble)

November 21st, 2013 3 comments

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/housing-sales-drop-worrisome-signs-west-2D11624125

Apparently, the lure of money makes people forget lessons of the past.

So when recently the housing prices started to rise again in the Western regions of US, People are starting to dump houses, hoping to cash in on the higher prices.  (either that, or just trying to get themselves out of the market with little loss as possible).

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Categories: Analysis, economy, General, human rights, politics Tags:

Open Public Not-So-Specter of Racism and Xenophobia

November 20th, 2013 8 comments

I have long complained about the overt racist tone in the US government’s crusade against “China IP theft”, and others have reflected similar sentiments.

My main complaint is that “IP theft” actually occurs ALL the time in US, between US companies and individuals, but we rarely ever see any kind of accusations of criminal wrong-doing.  Companies often settle out of court, privately.  “IP infringement” is just the cost of doing business.  Some days you infringe others’, some days others infringe yours.  No sane company wants to start a flaming war in the courts and media, because others won’t want to work with you in the future.

UNLESS, of course, it’s convenient for you to reach for racism as the good old fashion tool to squeeze out the “foreigners” from your turf.

http://www.law360.com/ip/articles/489923?nl_pk=042fa8e6-a2b9-492a-a8a0-84e5098bdd58&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ip

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“Capitalism Has Gone Nuts!”

November 18th, 2013 13 comments

That’s what I said to my parents-in-law who asked me to explain the “market” behavior that turns on every bit of news.

To the ordinary people, American or Chinese or anyone else, the “market” is hard to explain/understand.  That’s because it really is nuts/bonkers/crazy/insane/irrational.  This is NOT some “rational market”, because this “market” of today responds to opinions of those who claim to know.  But do they really know?  Or are they merely seeking to influence the outcome with their opinion?

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New Internet Economy Puts Dent In “Boycott China”

November 11th, 2013 3 comments

I have long maintained that boycotts rarely work well as a tool of political protest.  Even when mobilized as a collective national action like a trade embargo, history has not shown much effectiveness in causing political change, other than merely increasing bitterness (like the Embargo against Cuba).

Against a much larger target, with even broader scope, such as “boycott China”, the sheer size of lunacy of such a proposition is immediately apparent.  Chinese economy is not pinned down in a few special economic sectors, it’s large and diverse, and most importantly international.  It produces final products and components and material.  It’s not merely economical for businesses, it’s necessity of businesses to buy Chinese products.

But even more interestingly, the increase in the internet economy has shown that it’s not just companies like Walmart that dictates the improbability of “boycott China”, it’s increasingly the end user purchasers who are making it impossible to “boycott China”.

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A Bizarre Length of Japanese Judicial Logic Stretched For/By Nationalism

November 1st, 2013 17 comments

I came across this bit of legal news:

Japan enshrined, in the infamous ” Yasukuni war shrine” for the War Dead, the names of Koreans who were forced to serve in the Japanese military.  AND, it included the name of at least 1 Korean who is still ALIVE!  AND, the Japanese High Court just dismissed an appeal from the relatives and the 1 living Korean to have their names removed from the Shrine, saying “South Koreans needed to respect Japan’s religious beliefs.”

http://japandailypress.com/south-korea-slams-japan-for-court-ruling-on-yasukuni-shrine-names-2438469/

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When the Gimmick Could be Worse Than the Rumor, Imagine the Worst For the Truth.

October 31st, 2013 3 comments

The disclosures from Snowden just won’t stop, and they get worse and worse as new ones come out.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-infiltrates-links-to-yahoo-google-data-centers-worldwide-snowden-documents-say/2013/10/30/e51d661e-4166-11e3-8b74-d89d714ca4dd_story.html

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/the-nsa-is-hacking-private-networks/542/

Complete with snarky smiley face drawn by US government hackers who supposedly proudly presented to the NSA masters how they broke into Google and Yahoo’s user data.

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Speaking of Nationalistic Mouthpiece Media, What Are They Teaching Kids in US?

October 30th, 2013 32 comments

I’m generally pretty tolerant of gaffes from all groups of people.  Most people tend to have moments when they didn’t think about what they were saying.

But I do take notice of gaffes, because it usually lets loose people’s deep biases that they don’t normally display.

So the latest media gaffe in US that caught my attention, was when a kid made a suggestion to “kill everyone in China” to settle U.S. debt, on Jimmy Kimmel’s show.

For one, I’m not the only one who was offended.

http://www.today.com/entertainment/jimmy-kimmel-skit-sparks-protest-after-child-suggests-kill-everyone-8C11487721

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Suspected Terrorist Attack At Tiananmen Square, They Hate China For (Insert Your Own Bias).

October 29th, 2013 13 comments

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/29/world/asia/beijing-restricts-coverage-after-car-explodes-at-forbidden-city.html?_r=0

As for purpose, terrorism, like politics, is all about symbolism.

As symbolism goes, I can be shocked by the attacks of planes used as flying bombs ramming into skyscrapers, but I can also understand the logic of its symbolism.  If you are a desperate terrorist waging war on US, you might attack the biggest symbols of US, the landmarks of Capitalism and Democracy.

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A Typical Rumor/Lie From An Usual Expat Suspect Blog

October 28th, 2013 7 comments

Recently, wading knee deep into the piles of Expat China Blog articles with typical anti-China titles, I came across this rather ridiculous one:

http://foarp.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-insanity-at-heart-of-chinese.html, regarding a “insane plan for conquering most of Asia published as an editorial in the Chinese Communist Party’s Hong Kong-based media outlet Wen Wei Po”.

It is worth noting the kind of typical behavior of shallow smear journalism and base intellectual dishonesty in many typical Expat Blogs.

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Rethink the US Government “Shutdown” Like George Orwell, And the Normality of Propaganda

October 21st, 2013 37 comments

Orwell warned the World that when propaganda is truly successfully ingrained into society, people would not even realize propaganda for what it is.  They would think it is normal and ordinary.  When people read Orwell’s “1984”, it was clear from our own perspectives what propaganda was, in the “Newspeak” of the story.  But we do not necessarily understand how such propaganda could be perceived as normal.  It felt like even the people in the story should know that the propagandas were lies, and that they should object and resist.

But that is not the case.  And we have a perfect illustration of it for today’s example:  The US government “shutdown”.  Ask the hypothetical:  What would Orwell think of it?

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Explaining the Gini Index Number, To Understand the Real China

September 20th, 2013 4 comments

Sometimes, numbers lie, because so often, a few numbers are summarized to generalize about a vastly complex landscape.

“42”!!  That’s the answer for every thing.

Well, don’t complain to me if you don’t understand the answer.  It’s the question you need to really understand, which is, what does that number REALLY supposed to mean.

Take for another example, China’s Gini Index, supposedly designed to measure the economic disparity in Chinese population, which is now at around 0.474.  (US is at around 0.469).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Gini_coefficient

Not much difference.  Yet numbers lie in different ways to different people.  Thus, we take to explain the reality here.

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Order vs. Uncertainty, Why History Repeats Human Struggles

September 20th, 2013 1 comment

 

Untitled

This morning I heard a commonly repeated slogan among many Western politicians and academics, “Job creators hate uncertainties.”

It is as generalized as it is misleading and confusing.

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Chinese Advocate Post #2: Hazards of Immigrating to the West

August 23rd, 2013 2 comments

Chinese AdvocateAs more Chinese people are free to leave China and choose immigrate to the West, many are unaware of the many hazards of such immigration, and falling victim to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chinese Advocate Post #1: Some General Law advice for Fellow Chinese

August 2nd, 2013 4 comments

Chinese Advocate  Unlike some blogs that pretend to talk about “China Law”, when they are really talking about how to get around Chinese laws, I decided to talk about how Chinese people need to protect themselves in international businesses.

This is Post #1.

First, I’m an ethnic Chinese (7/8 Han, 1/8 unknown).  I’m trained and qualified as a US attorney, but I’m not qualified in Chinese law.  So most of what I will talk about is on US laws.  My discussions are for general legal education purposes, not for specific legal advice on specific individual cases.  If you need specific legal advice for your situations, please consult qualified attorneys in the relevant jurisdictions.  If you need to find a qualified attorney, feel free to post your request in the comment, and someone may be able to refer a good lawyer to you.  I’m not soliciting any clients here.

The reason I wanted to start this post as a continuing series, is that recently I am very dismayed to find many cases where I believe Chinese companies and individuals have been thoroughly abused and taken advantage of, because they simply did not prepare themselves adequately in the legal issues.

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Short-Sale AMSC: DOJ’s Stealth Probe of AMSC

August 1st, 2013 2 comments

************UPDATES:

Incidentally, http://blogs.orrick.com/trade-secrets-watch/2013/07/10/money-money-money-top-10-trade-secret-verdicts/,

Out of top 10 Trade Secret IP theft verdicts, NOT 1 involved pure software based trade secret.  And ONLY 2 had verdicts exceeding $800 million.

 

More bad news for AMSC just keep coming:  AUGUST 2013

(1) AMSC, this month of August 2013, “dismissed” its public auditing firm of PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC), over unspecified “disagreements”.

Hmm…. I think PwC smells an investigation coming.

(2) AMSC’s VP of Communication Jason Fredette left AMSC, in 2013, to become “independent communication consultant”. His Linkedin profile indicates “Independent Communications Consultant  Client: AMSC (American Superconductor Corp.)”


 

 

 

 

 

Yes, this was the same Jason Fredette quoted by numerous articles about the Sinovel dispute.

Hmm…. Why would a VP of Communication leave to become an independent communication consultant for the same company??

Can someone say, “laid off”, kick off to the curb, on furlough, resume place holder?

(3) AMSC’s General Counsel, John W. Powell, left AMSC to join as an “of counsel” for a small Boston IP law firm of Occhiuti Rohlicek & Tsao LLP. (The move is only indicated on his linkedin, as AMSC still list him as general counsel, and the law firm has not added him on their website yet).


 

 

 

 

 

When I say “small law firm”, I mean tiny tiny. The firm has less than 10 lawyers.

Mr. Powell, previously worked for noted companies like Motorola and Raytheon, and even testified before the US Sentencing Commission regarding the Sinovel case.

Pretty giant fall from in-house Fortune 500 to “of counsel” of a D-list law firm.

Perhaps Mr. Powell is laid off? Or he knows legal troubles coming when he smells them.

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How Food Adulteration in US is Downplayed by Media

August 1st, 2013 2 comments

An actual story:  Customers of a bar complains that high end scotch served tasted bad.  Complaints were ignored until officials got a sample of the drink and tested it.  It turned out to be rubbing alcohol (ethanol, which is somewhat toxic) mixed with caramel food coloring.  At a different bar, bottles with dirty water was presented as liquor.

Where did this happen?  Some might guess in China.  But it actually happened in New Jersey, detected only after a 1 year long sting operation (Operation Swill).

Well, Western media did report “Operation Swill”, which netted raids on 29 restaurants and bars, 13 of which were TGI Friday Restaurants owned by 1 owner.  Just in New Jersey.

Unfortunately, most of the media did NOT report any of the really gory details from above, rubbing alcohol, dirty water.  See for yourselves:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/nyregion/many-bars-misled-drinkers-new-jersey-says.html.  (Lesser known media reported more accurately:  http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/rubbing_alcohol_as_scotch_nj_o.html)

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Virtue-Shame Based Culture and Morality Needed

July 26th, 2013 9 comments

Recent discussion of “National Humiliation” motif in Chinese history lessons got me thinking of the wider implications of some noted cultural differences, particularly involving the concept of “shame” in Asian societies.

So the wider philosophical discussion here:  First, I must qualify that I believe that the Asian societies are mischaracterized as “shame-based”.  I believe it is not all “shame”.  Indeed, the larger part of motivation in Asian societies is “virtue-based”.

“Virtue” is the positive flip-side of “shame” in Asian culture.  If one feels “shame” for doing wrong, then one is honored as “virtuous” for doing right in Asian societies.  And “Virtue”, far more than mere “shame”, is a primarily motivator for people in Asia to better themselves.

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Orville Schell Does Not Understand “Negative Feedback” Or Tiger Mom’s Lessons.

July 23rd, 2013 14 comments
Malcolm Greensmith Collection/The Image Works

The capture of a Chinese Imperial Dragon Standard at the Battle of Chusan during the First Opium War. Painting by Malcolm Greensmith.

A recent article in WSJ by Orville Schell, “A Rising China Needs a New National Story,” suggests to China to “move on” from a traditional national narrative of “Century of Humiliation” to some thing more positive, like July 4th fireworks.

The article surprised me a bit, because I would have thought a student of Chinese culture like Orville Schell would have understood the rather Asian culture theme of motivation by “negative feedback”, a lesson that the Tiger Mom have practiced consistently with her own children.

The Tiger Mom, like my own Chinese mother, does not overly praise her children, but rather tend to emphasize her children’s mistakes and urge them to do better.

Some Westerners perhaps do not understand/ agree with this method, and just wish that the Chinese would just be more positive in self-motivations, but surely Mr. Schell (and any one who claim to know China) should have understood that Chinese do not talk about “humiliation” as some kind of insult to the West (despite the obvious connections), but rather as a lesson to remind themselves to be better.

It is simply a different cultural approach to self-identity.  The Asian cultures emphasize on self-reflection and self-examination of one’s own weaknesses.  Despite Mr. Schell (and others’) suggestion that the Chinese government act more Western in this regard, the “negative feedback” motivation resonates with Chinese people, (indeed as Mr. Schell admits, with overseas Chinese as well).  Perhaps Mr. Schell should examine the “WHY” more in detail.

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Rampant “Legalized” Corruptions Unmentioned

July 11th, 2013 11 comments

While the recent sensationalized story in the media painted a bleak picture of state of corruption, there is a much undiscussed topic of “legalized” corruptions in many forms.

Undoubtedly, because such corruptions have somehow become “legalized” in some nations, the amount of them are rampant and costly.

I like to start a discussion of them here.  I will take a stab at making an initial list.  Commentors are welcome to add their own.

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Thriving on Bad News of Others, Or Just Plain Reality Check.

July 11th, 2013 3 comments

http://www.humanities.uci.edu/history/faculty_profile_wasserstrom.php, co-founder of the now inactive China Beat blog, wrote a piece recently:

http://world.time.com/2013/07/11/why-bad-news-elsewhere-is-good-news-for-china/

Needless to say, the premise of his piece is the usual kinds of China-bashing.

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Corruptions of Different Kinds, and the Effects

July 10th, 2013 10 comments

A recent poll conducted by Global Transparency found that Corruption is on the rise globally, particularly among many of the “Democracies”.  China was not in this survey, but China was in a previous survey where outsiders were asked to rate China’s corruption by outside perception.

1 interesting point about the recent poll is that almost 1/2 of 107 nations surveyed perceived their own political parties as corrupt.

Another:  Indian people not only perceived corruption in some abstract manner, but more than 50% of Indians surveyed reported paying bribes themselves http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2013/07/09/surprise-indians-still-find-india-very-corrupt/.  Globally, the average is about 25% of people paid bribes.

It got me thinking.  How many Chinese people actually paid bribes?

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