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Thread: Observations in China

  1. #31

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    Cultural learnings of China for make benefit shitty country of US and A.



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  3. #32

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    Thank you ChristianAnarchist. I really appreciate your perspective. Interesting and informative. plus rep.

  4. #33

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    Today we are packing for our trip from Wuhan back to Beijing. We will be riding the "overnight" train. They now have "bullet" trains running all over the country but I've never ridden one. They can make the 12 hour trip in about 5 hours. The reason I like the overnight train better is you get on late in the evening and get into your bed to sleep. When you wake up, you are almost at your destination so you really don't waste much time traveling this way.

    I have ridden the Mag-Lev in Shanghai 5 times. It's only a 20 mile track but this sucker goes 440 kph!! First time I rode it I had no idea how fast it was going to go. As it silently started to speed up, I noted the traffic in the highway next to us and when we started going faster than them, I thought, "hey, this thing is pretty fast". I had no idea we were only going about 1/3 the top speed at that point. The train kept going faster and I kept wondering when it would reach top speed. The digital speed indicator kept going up and after 300 kph I was stunned at how much faster than the highway traffic we were going. After about 3 minutes, we reached 440 kph and I was actually a bit apprehensive about how fast I was going. At this speed you could not see the highway traffic clearly as we were flying past them at airplane speeds (about 280 mph) but we were on an elevated track about 40 feet off the ground so you really get a sense of speed. This train can only maintain top speed for about 30 seconds because it's then time to start slowing down or it will run out of track. After about 3 minutes slowing down, you are pulling into the station. 20 miles in about 8 minutes!! I had to go back and ride it two more times that trip and then on another trip to Shanghai, I rode it two more times. It's a must see in Shanghai. The only other place you can ride one is in Germany where the train was designed. The Germans could not build the first commercial one in Germany because of government regulation, but they came to Shanghai and the Chinese built this one in a few short years so it was the first commercial Mag-Lev in existence.

    http://www.smtdc.com/en/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Maglev_Train
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMyffFFedrM
    Last edited by ChristianAnarchist; 01-09-2013 at 11:38 PM.

  5. #34

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    I have a couple of questions.

    Would you say that they have a free market on the micro level. That means if you want to start a small business like a hot dog stand or sell something out of a building you can do it with very little government regulation.

    If you had to walk across the city (no specific city, just in general) would you feel unsafe because of criminals and gangs? Is it like the US where there are good parts and bad parts?
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  6. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2young2vote View Post
    I have a couple of questions.

    Would you say that they have a free market on the micro level. That means if you want to start a small business like a hot dog stand or sell something out of a building you can do it with very little government regulation.

    If you had to walk across the city (no specific city, just in general) would you feel unsafe because of criminals and gangs? Is it like the US where there are good parts and bad parts?
    Running a small stand on the street can be done with or without a permit. I'm not sure how much the permit is, but I'm reasonably sure it's not terrible. Even so, many of the street vendors work without the permit and sometimes the goons hassle them, but mostly not. Until a year ago you would see many small vendors with their wares spread out on a blanket on the sidewalk. There are still a few of these, but the will roll up their stuff and move if they see the police coming. The police never chase them that I have seen, they are just happy to see them pack up and go. Small business with a store front will usually need some kind of permit, but again, enforcement is spotty and some go without until they get fined. It's pretty easy to start some small shop here but when you start to get big, they come around and expect you to pay "fees" for whatever they can dream up (fire protection, etc).

    There are definitely good and bad neighborhoods as far as monetary value, but I've walked through some very poor areas and never felt I was in danger (perhaps I was just ignorant). The largest type of crime I know of here is petty theft and pick-pocketing. I did hear today about a guy who was shot. There were 3 businessmen who developed the area I'm currently staying in (my wife's parents Beijing apartment) and one of these guys got strung out on drugs and deep in debt. He kept hitting up his partners for money and one day one of them had enough and cut him off. The guy went out to his car, got his gun and came back and shot him dead. Of course they caught him and put him on trial. The friend who told us about this story did not know if they had executed the guy, but they pretty much execute everyone for serious crime.

  7. #36

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    Great, informative thread! +rep

    From your perspective, are there more 'foreigners' like yourself in China now? Also, what are the current thoughts about the 'one child only' law (if it still exists), and are there orphanages/orphans prevalent?
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  8. #37

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    Great read thank you. Plus Rep+
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  9. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgiaboy View Post
    Great, informative thread! +rep

    From your perspective, are there more 'foreigners' like yourself in China now? Also, what are the current thoughts about the 'one child only' law (if it still exists), and are there orphanages/orphans prevalent?
    Many foreigners are in China now because this is the fastest growing economy (although it's slowing some). Yesterday we met with some people from the Beijing-Shanghai classic car rally (we might be in it next October) and the girl we had been talking to on the phone spoke pretty good English and her Chinese was so good that my wife thought she WAS Chinese. When we met her we found out that she is actually an Italian woman who has been in China working for about 4 years as a translator. She speaks 4 languages.

    As far as the one-child policy it's always been fairly lax. In my wife's family she has two uncles who have 4 kids each. They are all 20+ now but back when they were having them, they could only "fine" them for their violations. Since they were peasant farmers they didn't have much and at one point they just took their couch as their "fine". Anyone who works for the government though, would lose their job if they had more than one child. Right now the policy has changed so that if both the mother and father were from one-child homes, they can have two children without penalty. Many of the poorer members of society will abandon their children especially if they have some form of deformity and most of those kids wind up in orphanages. In China life is not held in as high regard by the masses, yet families are still the strongest bond. Modern life is causing changes though and the young do not have as great a regard for the elderly as in the past.

  10. #39

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    Sounds like the Chinese citizens need to get their asses together and have a revolution.

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    Its a damned shame they let their weapons get confiscated, huh?
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  11. #40

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    Went auto shopping today with our friend and her husband who are looking to buy their second car. Here in Beijing the only way you can get a license plate for your car is to put your name in for their "lottery". If you are lucky and your name comes up, you have "permission" to get a plate for one car. Her name came up about 3 months ago and her "permit" expires in 3 months, so they are shopping for a car. Today we visited the Mercedes and BMW dealerships. They are similar to dealerships here but smaller. They have more than enough buyers as cars are in great demand and everyone seems to want one. We took a BMW 521i (I think) for a test drive. I was in the back with the wife and the husband drove while the saleswoman rode shotgun. The car is every bit as nice as any other new car I've ridden in. I think the quality of Chinese built cars has risen to the point it's probably only a notch below the home-built cars. The price, however, is not so great. These cars are selling for about the same as a German version in the US. Seems like someone is making a hell of a profit off the Chinese consumer in most all consumer items. Electronics are very overpriced compared to what we are used to. A DVD player can be had at your local Wally World for about $30 (made in China) but here you will pay close to $100 for the bargain player. Most items are similarly overpriced and yet the average Chinese who has to work twice as hard as we do for about one quarter of the pay somehow manage to buy some of these items. Cars, as I mentioned already, have no problem selling in fact most of the time they can't keep up with demand...

  12. #41
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    Maybe I should do a thread like this for India. I just spent about a month there. It is indeed intriguing and thrilling to experience a place so different than what you are used to.

    Thanks for the descriptions and thoughts, ChristianAnarchist. I hope to go to China this year. It should be awesome.
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  13. #42

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    One thing that is a byproduct of rapid industrial development and economic growth is pollution. I don't think it's possible to get a rapid development without great amounts of pollution and it's very apparent here. Right now and for most of the last three weeks that I've been here I cannot see even one-half mile. The air is so thick with smog that most Americans cannot even imagine it. The closest I've seen in the US is when I lived in Reno and we would have nearby forest fires and the smoke would blow into the city. I would estimate that the air in Beijing is horrible at least 3/4 of all days. Last summer when we were here was actually the clearest I've ever seen Beijing. Visibility then was at least 20 miles and I saw for the first time the mountains that surround Beijing. There are huge buildings all around and that was the first time I could see the skyline of Beijing. Many will say that this is "terrible" and I have to agree to a point. When you see that pretty much everyone has benefited financially with the development, you have to consider this as well. There are steps that could be taken to reduce the pollution levels, but of course they come with a cost and that cost would reduce the financial advantages to everyone. There are efforts to reduce the pollution levels and of course they will (now that they have more money to do so). As we progress technologically, we all will find that cleaner power will become economical and we will naturally chose those sources.

    I do not really think that we are "killing" the planet (nor do I think that we are capable of doing so) but of course living in pollution is not healthy and it's natural for us to try to keep our living area clean and I know that we will naturally progress in that regard.

  14. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacelli View Post
    Sounds like the Chinese citizens need to get their asses together and have a revolution.
    Chinese history is full of that. They're a nation of perpetual war. Maybe the next one will come after the collapse of their bubble.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianAnarchist View Post
    The price, however, is not so great. These cars are selling for about the same as a German version in the US. Seems like someone is making a hell of a profit off the Chinese consumer in most all consumer items.
    The price is x2-3 more than the US. The reason the price is so high is due to tariffs, so the one making a hell of a profit off of (imported) Chinese consumer products is the Chinese government. Ever noticed that imported products in China is crazy expensive?

    Try to import a Mercedes to China. The duties will be about two to three times the price of the car. No one really knows the actual cost of the duty is because they make it up on the spot.

  16. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenBulldog View Post
    The price is x2-3 more than the US. The reason the price is so high is due to tariffs, so the one making a hell of a profit off of (imported) Chinese consumer products is the Chinese government. Ever noticed that imported products in China is crazy expensive?

    Try to import a Mercedes to China. The duties will be about two to three times the price of the car. No one really knows the actual cost of the duty is because they make it up on the spot.
    and that is what's conveniently defined by our politicians as 'free trade' agreements.
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    Quote Originally Posted by supermario21 View Post
    Raul Labrador just threw the hammer down..."said we need to stop acting like moderates and talking like conservatives" and start "talking like moderates and acting like conservatives".
    looking for a second major political party

  17. #46

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    It's true that the import duties are crazy here, but the cars I was referring to are "joint-venture" cars manufactured in China. There are no import duties on those and yet they still cost more in China than they would in the USA. I know that there are many very well connected Chinese billionaires raking in huge profits at the expense of the working Chinese...

    We did drive around today and went by the American embassy and it's surrounded by a high fence and armed Chinese soldiers. It was that way 6 months ago as well and I believe they started this policy after the Chinese dissident sought refuge in our embassy last year. I looks pretty awful to see our (and other) embassies surrounded by a huge green fence with guards every hundred feet or so to prevent anyone from entering who is not "allowed". Kinda defeats the purpose of an embassy, I think. This kind of "police state" mentality is the biggest fear I have in China. I can only hope that they can never muster enough men to watch everyone in the country (so far, they can't).

    Tomorrow I jump on the plane home. If I think of anything to add to this thread after returning home I will do so or if anyone posts a question I will try to answer. All things considered, I don't want to live in a country that restricts gun ownership, but really, we have restrictions already (no one "convicted" of a felony no matter how minor the "felony" and others). We shall see what becomes of the latest round of restrictions proposed...

  18. #47

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    It's true that the import duties are crazy here, but the cars I was referring to are "joint-venture" cars manufactured in China. There are no import duties on those and yet they still cost more in China than they would in the USA. I know that there are many very well connected Chinese billionaires raking in huge profits at the expense of the working Chinese...

    We did drive around today and went by the American embassy and it's surrounded by a high fence and armed Chinese soldiers. It was that way 6 months ago as well and I believe they started this policy after the Chinese dissident sought refuge in our embassy last year. I looks pretty awful to see our (and other) embassies surrounded by a huge green fence with guards every hundred feet or so to prevent anyone from entering who is not "allowed". Kinda defeats the purpose of an embassy, I think. This kind of "police state" mentality is the biggest fear I have in China. I can only hope that they can never muster enough men to watch everyone in the country (so far, they can't).

    Tomorrow I jump on the plane home. If I think of anything to add to this thread after returning home I will do so or if anyone posts a question I will try to answer. All things considered, I don't want to live in a country that restricts gun ownership, but really, we have restrictions already (no one "convicted" of a felony no matter how minor the "felony" and others). We shall see what becomes of the latest round of restrictions proposed...

  19. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianAnarchist View Post
    It's true that the import duties are crazy here, but the cars I was referring to are "joint-venture" cars manufactured in China. There are no import duties on those and yet they still cost more in China than they would in the USA. I know that there are many very well connected Chinese billionaires raking in huge profits at the expense of the working Chinese...
    Are you talking about foreign cars but made in China? Those cars that look exactly like the original, but with the Chinese car company name (in the Chinese language) on the back of the car?

    An Audi A6 of that type cost about double what they would cost in the US. I don't know why if not duties. Maybe a special sales tax on products with a foreign name on it?

  20. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianAnarchist View Post
    Many foreigners are in China now because this is the fastest growing economy (although it's slowing some). Yesterday we met with some people from the Beijing-Shanghai classic car rally (we might be in it next October) and the girl we had been talking to on the phone spoke pretty good English and her Chinese was so good that my wife thought she WAS Chinese. When we met her we found out that she is actually an Italian woman who has been in China working for about 4 years as a translator. She speaks 4 languages.

    As far as the one-child policy it's always been fairly lax. In my wife's family she has two uncles who have 4 kids each. They are all 20+ now but back when they were having them, they could only "fine" them for their violations. Since they were peasant farmers they didn't have much and at one point they just took their couch as their "fine". Anyone who works for the government though, would lose their job if they had more than one child. Right now the policy has changed so that if both the mother and father were from one-child homes, they can have two children without penalty. Many of the poorer members of society will abandon their children especially if they have some form of deformity and most of those kids wind up in orphanages. In China life is not held in as high regard by the masses, yet families are still the strongest bond. Modern life is causing changes though and the young do not have as great a regard for the elderly as in the past.
    This is so interesting to me because I have adopted from China. I feel my daughters birth parents perhaps were left with no options but abandon her. They kept her for almost a year. She has a single ventricle heart and multiple defects caused by a condition called Heterotaxy. I would think by then she became very symptomatic and affording medical care was likely not an option. After being placed in orphanage an NGO provides the surgery. She went to live in a Beijing foster home. She received an education and health care all provided by NGO. When I adopted her they gave me 6 months of medicine! I think the adoption world is changing much though. No kids are bring adopted unless they have a special need. There is just not as much a need for adoption of healthy infants... That honestly is a good thing in my opinion!

  21. #50

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    This thread is super interesting and makes me feel like I get to travel far away while I am actually just sitting on my ass.

  22. #51

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    I agree, thanks a lot ChristianAnarchist for the insight. My extent of Asian travel ends at Japan, but I have friends who live in China and it has always been a place of interest.
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  23. #52

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    On our way out of China I ran into my first "asshole" cop. My son was given a "cultural knife" from the northern regions from a friend of the family who was working up there and when we put our check-in luggage through the scanner the alarm went off (these scanners are too damn smart). They had me open the bag and I produced the knife and explained that it was a gift for our son (through my wife as translator). This knife is not a relic but rather a reproduction. They had to take it up the line to supervisors and they called in the Beijing police. We got a "tough-guy" cop who insisted that we give up the knife. He said it was a violation for us to even have the knife because it was longer than a certain dimension. I naturally said "what about kitchen knives and swords which you can buy at many locations and of course they did not respond to the question. I was angry as hell and even wanted them to arrest me and make an incident of it because I'm pretty certain that even in China this would only be an "offense" if you were carrying it concealed and I'm sure that his supervisors would have just let us go if I made a stink. My wife of course does not want me making too many waves and so I did not (consider this before getting married guys...). I figured this guy just wanted the knife for himself. He had an "inferior officer" there with him and my wife explained to me how he was even being an ass to his sub-ordinate. The airline people and the airport security lady there seemed to be very unhappy with the way this cop was acting about this (my wife informed me).

    I noted that this cop was one of the few I'd ever seen with a holster on his belt (no gun in it). He must be one of the very few allowed to carry a gun in China but even so, I guess they can't carry it at the airport.

    Since our flight was leaving soon and we needed to get back, this guy got himself a great free knife...
    Last edited by ChristianAnarchist; 01-15-2013 at 06:20 AM.

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