Thursday, September 24, 2020

The American Infiltration of China's Xinjiang -- September 24, 2020


The American Infiltration of China's Xinjiang


 By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 24, 2020




I want to set the stage for this topic by telling you a story.



When I was a university student, I worked during one summer at a huge supermarket in my city. It was a great place to work, with good management and very high standards of customer service, so much so that our location was the exemplar of perfection in our city and the envy of our competitors. As one example, no customers were permitted to carry their groceries to their car; that was part of our job. The entire staff was a group of young kids. We worked hard, we got along well together, we partied together and we were genuinely happy.



Then one day a young man in his early 30s, an organiser for one of the country's prominent labor unions, began appearing in our supermarket and talking to the staff about forming a union. I wasn't interested and was in any case returning to school in the fall, so the matter didn't much concern me. But after repeated visits, some of the staff began attending meetings with this man in off-hours, and soon all of them were attending.



And we rapidly experienced an astonishing climate change, with our formerly happy workplace becoming infused with bitterness, resentment and anger, for no perceptible reason. The staff soon voted to form a union, and within a couple of weeks voted to begin a strike. I had never seen such a rapid transformation. The entire store had gone from an almost ideal labor environment to one filled with bitterness and hatred, and without discernible cause. It was so bad that one weekend some of the staff cut the power lines to the supermarket during the night so that all the frozen food and perishables would have to be discarded on Monday morning. Many of the huge two-story high front windows were smashed during the nights.



Threatening Mergers -- September 24, 2020




Threatening Mergers


 By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 24, 2020


In joining the WTO, China made substantial commitments to relax the restrictions on foreign investment, on ownership of assets and the transfer of technology. Coupled with increasingly open capital markets, these acquisitions created convenient conditions for the expansion of foreign control of many economic sectors, with takeovers increasing almost exponentially, led by US and European multinationals. It was originally hoped that the large influx of foreign corporations would inject vitality into the development of China's economy, and it may have done so, but at the same time, has also brought serious negative effects. In particular, foreign Joint Ventures evolved from initial cooperative efforts to a situation where an increasing number of industries and industry segments were dominated by a few foreign MNCs, forming virtual monopolies in some cases.


These foreign-funded enterprises now number about 450,000, and have grown at a double-digit rate, often controlling a market share of 30% or more, accounting for more than half of China's total exports and 20% of its tax revenue. In some developed regions, these foreign enterprises once accounted for more than 40% of all assets, 35% of all added value creation, and a large number of employees. The number of foreign takeovers and acquisitions in China has been growing at a rate of 50% or 60% in the recent few years. In 2010, China recorded 1,800 mergers and acquisitions with a value of $82 billion. Among other effects, these developments greatly increased the cost of commercial development land in smaller centers like Suzhou and Kunshan, and other red lights were flashing as well. And according to a World Bank study of some 12,500 foreign firms in more than 100 Chinese cities, their return on investment was well over 20% - much higher than that of domestic firms - but with a much lower average tax burden. In a real sense, these firms were being paid to take over the country's commerce.


Tarnished American Philanthropy in China – September 24, 2020


Tarnished American Philanthropy in China


By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 24, 2020



According to Chinese state authorities, Ron Brown of the AGAPE Foundation of Peachtree City, Georgia, traveled to Wuhan in late 2004 and signed a contract with several domestic charitable organisations in China to provide 2 million RMB each year of medical supplies and materials, in part to assist with cardiac surgery and treatments, but the overall purpose was stated as being "to improve the lives of orphans and the lonely elderly". So far, so good.



Some time after the signing of this agreement, AGAPE shipped its first 'donation' of medical devices to Shaoyang City in Hunan. I happened to be in Shanghai at the time and was watching a TV news program which included a segment on this first AGAPE donation of medical supplies, the container being opened in the presence of local medical officials and a TV news crew. The shipment included heart surgery kits, medical outfits, medical gloves, pledgets, adhesive tapes, waste bins, catheters, sutures, syringes, and other accessories. We watched while the Customs Officers and medical staff examined the contents of these containers. What we saw was appalling.



The donated “medical supplies” had been re-packed in old boxes bearing labels for foodstuffs, electronics, and even Coca Cola and KFC, many of which were soiled by mildew, oil, and dirt stains and emitted strong odors. All of the medicines, drugs, pharmaceuticals, were past (or long past) their safe-use dates. Carton after carton of syringes, bandages, sterile wrappings and similar items were all in packages that had been opened and were no longer sterile. It was easy, even on TV, to see that many of the syringes had been used, then replaced in their packages, and one could see the cockroaches crawling around inside the supposedly-sterile cartons. Catheters that were supposedly to be used for heart surgery, were clearly used, were in non-sterile packaging, and suitable only for discard. The disposable syringes contained a suspicious black fluid and had lost their sterility through exposure to the air, while reagents and disinfectants had leaked, contaminating other items.

Full text: Xi Jinping's speech at the General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly


Full text: Xi Jinping's speech at the General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly



Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday delivered a speech via video link at the annual General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Here is the full text:

Mr. President, 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory in the World Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations (UN). Yesterday, the high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN was held. The meeting was a significant one, as it reaffirmed our abiding commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter on the basis of reviewing the historical experience and lessons of the World Anti-Fascist War. 

Mr. President, 

We humans are battling COVID-19, a virus that has ravaged the world and has kept resurging. In this fight, we have witnessed the efforts of governments, dedication of medical workers, exploration of scientists, and perseverance of the public. People of different countries have come together. With courage, resolve and compassion which lit the dark hour, we have confronted the disaster head on. The virus will be defeated. Humanity will win this battle! 

 Facing the virus, we should put people and life first. We should mobilize all resources to make a science-based and targeted response. No case should be missed and no patient should be left untreated. The spread of the virus must be contained. 

 Facing the virus, we should enhance solidarity and get this through together. We should follow the guidance of science, give full play to the leading role of the World Health Organization, and launch a joint international response to beat this pandemic. Any attempt of politicizing the issue or stigmatization must be rejected. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

FR -- LARRY ROMANOFF -- L’Exceptionnalisme américain -- August 22, 2020


L’Exceptionnalisme américain

22 aout 2020


Bienvenue en Amérique, la Terre de la Liberté” indique le panneau à Washington, à l’aéroport International de DC, alors que vous faites la queue pour la prise d’empreintes digitales, et les palpations des services de sécurité pour inspecter les dispositifs nucléaires.

 J’aurais pu titrer cet article : « Piéger le chat parmi les pigeons ». Pour tenter de prévenir une avalanche de protestations attendues, je confirme être au courant des statistiques émises par toute une série d’individus et d’institutions qui varient toutes largement par leur intention et leur idéologie ; et qui peuvent « prouver » pratiquement n’importe quoi que l’on puisse prouver, les coefficients GINI en étant un exemple facile. Les statistiques qui sont basées sur cet article n’ont pas été sélectionnées sans précaution, et ne sont pas invalidées selon la désapprobation du lecteur.

Les États-Unis ne sont les Meilleurs que pour être les Pires 


Aujourd’hui, les Etats-Unis ont le plus grand niveau d’inégalité de revenus de toutes les nations occidentales (1) (2) surpassant la Chine, et plus que quelques nations sous-développées, également. A présent, Ils ont la mobilité sociale la plus basse de la plupart des nations (3) ce qui signifie qu’améliorer un niveau de vie dans la vie devient presque complètement impossible. Si vos parents n’ont pas fait d’études et ne sont pas riches, vous ne le serez pas non plus, et le rêve Américain est mort. Actuellement les Etats-Unis a la classe moyenne la plus petite et la plus grande classe ouvrière parmi toutes les grandes nations, la classe moyenne étant celle qui a été la plus éventrée en 2008, ce mécanisme s’est enfin achevé de lui-même aujourd’hui et ne pourra plus s’en remettre, jamais. Les Américains détiennent les plus grands montants de dettes personnelles parmi toutes les nations (4), y compris les cartes de crédit et les prêts étudiants les plus importants, lesquels ne sont pas remboursables, et maintenant les États-Unis détiennent la palme mondiale de toutes les faillites personnelles (5). Depuis 2008, selon les statistiques du propre gouvernement Américain, les Etats-Unis ont le pourcentage le plus bas de propriété privée soit 57 % (6se classant au 43ème rang mondial, loin derrière la Chine, à 90 % (7) et dorénavant l’Amérique a une épidémie virtuelle de sans-abris comparée à la plupart des autres nations, avec des millions de familles sans-abris avec enfants. (Non gonflés)


Monday, September 21, 2020

Substandard Foreign Goods in China -- September 21, 2020



Substandard Foreign Goods in China

By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 21, 2020




The Western media inform us on a regular basis about cheap products sent to the world from China, and about the substandard and even dangerous content of some of them. Lead in paint, melamine in dog food, chemicals in drywall, glycol in toothpaste. We can be forgiven for thinking this is a one-way street, but the story has another side which the Western media cover with a blanket of silence. China is the victim of far more defective and toxic products, or prohibited goods, from the West, particularly the US, than it sends outward. Westerners may find this difficult to believe because this news is almost always censored in the US.



Modern Chinese consumers had initially developed trust in foreign goods from sophisticated marketing that implied Western brands and products were well-made and of high quality, and were expensive for a reason. That trust proved itself startlingly unjustified. Sales in China of foreign products had been growing at high rates until the revelations that many foreign companies and brands had so many severe quality problems that foreign goods were normally substandard. So many foreign firms have been repeatedly caught and charged, and fined, for transgressions, but their profits had been high enough to continue their illegal practices. It was an astonishingly short-sighted policy since, for an increasing number of American firms, 50% or more of their operating profits were originating in China. In several recent years, 50% of the operating profits of US-based Yum Brands’ came from mainland China, as opposed to 32% from the US, and I've noted elsewhere that General Motors and a number of other US companies would be bankrupt if not for their China sales. Even many US educational institutions are surviving only because of new money from Chinese students. Yet they all approached China with what appeared to be a fatally-short time horizon and stupidly decided to milk Chinese consumers as hard and fast as possible, and in every way possible. It didn't seem to occur to any of them that their short-sightedness, coupled with an uninhibited greed, might one day be fatal.



Given the high profits originating in China, one would assume these firms would treat their Chinese customers with some consideration - if not respect - but the opposite is normally the case. Most foreign firms resident in China treat the country as a third-rate market, reserving their substandard goods for the China market and charging much higher prices in China than in the West for the same goods - which are mostly manufactured in China and should cost much less. Foreign firms had for years been treated leniently and even gently by the Chinese government, given substantial tax breaks and preferential treatment, yet they proceeded to break every manner of domestic law and generally treated China and their Chinese consumers with arrogance and open contempt. In China, many of these firms act with an almost complete lawlessness. Some firms that were forced to remove toxic or substandard consumer products from the US or Europe, would ship them to China for sale here. Sony, Toshiba, P & G, Volkswagen, and other multinationals have been accused of just such practices. The extent of substandard clothing imported by foreign multinationals has become an epidemic with at least 20%, and often 60%, of shipments failing to meet minimum standards. Chinese Customs now inspect every shipment and destroy all substandard goods.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Substandard Foreign Foods in China -- September 20, 2020



Substandard Foreign Foods in China


By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 20, 2020



Let's begin with a description of the practices of American food companies in the US, important to Chinese readers since these practices have already been exported to China and exist here. I'll focus here only on meat production, the chickens and hamburgers you buy at KFC and McDonald's. The Johns Hopkins Center and the Arizona State University in the US conducted a joint study a few years ago on drugs, chemicals and other contaminants in the US food chain, in this case dealing especially with poultry - the chicken you buy in the supermarket and at KFC. They found dozens of banned chemical substances in the chicken in supermarkets and fast-food outlets, in addition to bacteria that had become immune to antibiotics. Here is a brief explanation of American best practices in chicken production. This well-documented practice in the following paragraph was originally posted online by an unidentified commenter, but I have been unable to locate the author:





Forget About Saving Trees. Let's Kill all the MBAs -- September 20, 2020


Forget About Saving Trees. Let's Kill all the MBAs


By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 20, 2020



"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"

(William Shakespeare, Henry VI).



Confucius taught that wisdom must come before knowledge, the reason for which is not difficult to fathom. When we impart knowledge, we give people tools - and the power to use them, and we all know that many tools, improperly used, can cause harm. The tools of knowledge imparted in most of the prominent MBA programs have a surprising capacity for malevolence and which, in the hands and minds of immature recruits lacking the basic wisdom of tool safety, i.e., morality, have altered our corporate ethical landscape beyond hope of repair.



The world's large corporations have always contained a shrouded element of malevolence inherited from the characters of their owners, but there was a discernible point in time when this element became wholeheartedly embraced as part of the politically correct mainstream of corporate thought, a true watershed in the history of unbridled capitalism. As you no doubt already know, the US financial system, fueled by credit and cheap money alternating with deliberate monetary contractions, all controlled by the FED, has been responsible for most of the world's recession. It was thus in 1971 when the US was deeply immersed in its war in Vietnam, and it was this that would set the stage for the management changes that were to follow. When in 1971 the US government reneged on the Bretton Woods Agreement, it set in motion a worldwide inflationary spiral that ended with the savage FED-induced economic contraction in the early 1980s, initiating an abrupt and brutal recession. If we have to choose a time when everything changed, this was the time.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Killing Chinese Brands -- September 19, 2020



Killing Chinese Brands


By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 19, 2020



It is a matter of urban legend in the West that China has no international brands. With brand warfare being the current rage, so many articles in so many Western media take apparent pleasure in mocking and denigrating China for the apparent inability of Chinese companies to either produce a brand attractive to Westerners or to effectively market it in the West. One article in the Wall Street Journal claimed China could build ipads and high-speed trains, but can't even make its own fancy handbag. There is much truth in the claim that few Chinese brands have escaped their domestic environment to find comfortable residence in Western countries, though the insinuation that this has been due to Chinese shortcomings is not justified. The reasons lie elsewhere, as we will see.



One seldom-mentioned reason for the absence of Chinese brands on foreign shelves is that American, and especially Jewish-owned, multinational firms have made a science of pre-emptive registrations of brands and trademarks. As one Chinese media source reported,



"There are so many painful cases of time-honored [Chinese] brands being pre-emptively registered by foreign companies overseas and some enterprises have been unable to get their brand names back."



Sometimes these registrations are made by individuals hoping to profit by extorting large cash payments later but, far more often, are done by US multinationals to prevent the Chinese brands from ever becoming international competitors. In most cases, the Chinese firms have no idea their brand names and trademarks have been stolen and registered in all Western countries, and learn of the fact only when they begin to expand internationally. When they do learn of it, most are unfamiliar with the procedures of taking legal action against an American company, and most Chinese don't trust American courts to render fair judgment to a Chinese firm against an American company or citizen. Think of Nike and Onitsuka, or of Citibank and the Chinese citizens still trying to recover their gold. A few Japanese firms have done this as well, but the practice appears to be almost entirely American.



Changing Cultural Values -- September 19, 2020


Changing Cultural Values

 By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 19, 2020



Most domestic goods are a product of, and contain much of, a nation's cultural and value-based heritage. It may be difficult to find much culture in a ballpoint pen, but Chinese Moon Cakes are all culture. Brands and products that become famous, popular, and even beloved, in a nation earn that position because of the intrinsic cultural heritage embedded within them. They resonate with the culture, the traditions and values of the people. And in the buy and sell of international commerce, these myriad products cross the oceans and travel the world's continents carrying their cultural baggage with them, with that baggage unloaded in each other nation and assimilated in part or in whole by those societies from a conscious or unconscious adoption of their inherent cultural values.


Much of this cultural baggage is neutral in that it doesn't detract from indigenous cultural elements but may add to them, perhaps even in a positive sense. Westerners have embraced chopsticks, dim sum, and Dragon Boat races while the Chinese embraced Valentine's Day and the trappings of Christmas decorations, but these are superficial adaptations of charming and attractive foreign customs that do not replace local culture, and indeed the underlying cultural traditions are not even understood, much less adopted. Americans may enjoy watching Chinese lion dances and firecrackers during a Chinese New Year festival but these are appreciated only for their colorful visual appeal, the embedded values having been stripped out, with the underlying culture and philosophy holding no meaning. It is similar with Christmas in China, appreciated only for its colorful visual appeal and gift-giving to friends, the vast underlying cultural and religious traditions stripped out and irrelevant. The insertion of these items into a local culture is only superficial, and has been instinctively accomplished by local society in a non-intrusive way that does no harm and is not meant to replace local culture.


An Epidemic of Foreign Fraud in China -- September 19, 2020


             An Epidemic of Foreign Fraud in China


 By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 19, 2020



Commercial consumer fraud by foreign multinationals in China has become so widespread that normal trust factors like famous branding, high standards, or a successful reputation are no longer reliable indicators for Chinese consumers. The many hundreds of foreign consumer-goods companies in China have so consistently and repeatedly violated not only a myriad of China's laws, but all norms and standards of morality and ethics, of pride in product, and even of simple common decency, that a healthy functioning of markets could soon become impossible. Most of these violations are not minor; almost all are criminal and most would qualify as felonies in the West. They include fraudulent advertising and consumer price frauds of every nature, constant price-fixing and retail price manipulation, violations of contract law, fraudulent JV conduct, tax evasion, consumer fraud, bribery, espionage, visa violations, illegal transfer pricing, refusals of warranty service, selling used or reconditioned products as new, serious environmental pollution, physical abuse of staff, wages below legal levels, unpaid overtime, knowingly selling diseased meat and contaminated food products, knowingly shipping substandard foods and consumer goods to China, flagrant violations of health regulations. The list is almost endless.



American multi-nationals like Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nike, Apple, P&G exhibit not only an appalling lack of social responsibility, but demonstrate a mocking open contempt for both the consumers they defraud, and for the governments. They specialise in exploiting cheap labor in developing countries, combined with a wide range of illegal and criminal business strategies, then employ powerful PR tactics, lobbying and bribery, to avoid accountability for their products or actions. And in each instance, when another fraud is exposed or another violation discovered, these firms respond with an arrogance that appears almost surreal, a kind of crazy-making consisting of lies and denials, claims about 'core values' and 'high standards', inevitably followed by the standard Saatchi Brothers PR tactic of a list of charitable donations. When Coca-Cola was discovered selling products containing dangerous levels of pesticides and free chlorine, the company simply denied the irrefutable evidence, airily claiming its products were safe to consume, and refused a recall. When finally forced to destroy all the contaminated product, the company issued an infuriatingly arrogant babble of nonsense about high standards and core values, reminding the Chinese that Coke had made contributions to local charities. I believe most Chinese would happily forego Coca-Cola's charity, preferring that the company instead remove the pesticides from its drinks and its dealers refrain from beating employees unconscious when they ask to be paid.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Harvard University's Fraudulent Chinese DNA Exploitation -- September 17


Harvard University's Fraudulent Chinese DNA Exploitation



By LARRY ROMANOFF – September 17, 2020


In April of 2005, Margaret Sleeboom from the University of Amsterdam published a paper on concerning a Chinese research project by Harvard University which drew international condemnation for Harvard's appalling lack of ethics in the theft of Chinese DNA(1) (2)



Years after completion of this research, when the details were leaked to the media, Chinese authorities were furious to learn that Americans had engaged in an underhanded and secret project to collect Chinese DNA. Even though the Chinese government had previously prohibited the collection or export of any such data, Harvard eluded the prohibitions and slipped the DNA out of China.



One of the leaders of this project was a Chinese Harvard researcher Xu Xiping who, with financing from the US government (most likely the military's DNA database project) and Millennium Pharmaceuticals (3) (4) of the US, conducted this study in Anhui with Frank Speizer and Scott Weis, the latter a Harvard epidemiologist who apparently had access from an unknown source to information on about 60 million people in Anhui. Xu, who came from Anhui and still maintained contacts there, conspired with Weis and the financiers to recruit thousands of volunteers to collect the DNA and blood samples, all unknown to China's central government. Millennium was closely related to the US Defense Department and was paying millions of dollars for the study and its data.



•The Harvard University Experiment