CCTV gone wild
Western firms have never been as comfortable in China as in, say, the Cayman Islands or BVI. Beyond the obvious reasons to prefer Caribbean jurisdictions (Indo-Trinidadian cuisine, syntactic diversity of Virgin Islands Creole dialects), some say they are also “business friendly” – never to be taken for granted in China. Take Microsoft’s China boss, who this week gave a full review of his company’s experience in China. On the plus side was stronger IP enforcement; but Beijing’s ban on X-boxes didn’t help. “They also consistently overcook my eggs, even though that’s like, you know, usually a pretty safe choice,” he added, apparently throwing in a review of the Lanzhou la mian joint two blocks from the firm’s Beijing campus. Foreign firms also gripe about the ritual whippings assigned by lottery on March 15. For the thaumatologically ignorant, this date is known as “Consumer Rights Day,” when China’s state media solemnly fulfill their priestly obligations to sacrifice foreign firms and appease the devilishly inscrutable gods of Zhongnanhai. This week it was the turn of McDonald’s and Carrefour, exposed for McNugget malfeasance and chicken mislabeling, respectively. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth at Carrefour, which no doubt remembered when the vicars in Chongqing turned their anger on Wal-Mart. McDonald’s also said sorry, but let’s face it: getting worked up about a couple of cool nuggets at Mickey D’s is like accusing the BVI of lacking corporate social responsibility laws – you need to seriously think about why you’re there.
Of back rubs and Communist sing-alongs
The training wheels are off and that young whippersnapper-in-waiting Xi Jinping has shown he can bandy about rhetorical doublespeak with the best of them. We at CER were just starting to get over the traumatic sacking of our favorite headline-grabbing Communist crooner Bo Xilai, when Xi had to go and rub MSG in the wound. In what is viewed as a critique of Bo, Xi called in an essay published Friday for party purity, consensus-driven policy making and weekly Politburo back-rub circles (Bo always was anti-back rub). China’s representative to the UN Security Council heard Xi’s message of togetherness and brought his own version of it to world stage. After weeks of holding up the Security Council by blaring Drowning Pool’s “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor,” the Chinese delegate turned off the boom box and joined with other member states to pass a resolution condemning violence in Syria – though a key back-rub-circle provision failed after the sourpuss UK delegate refused to touch his French counterpart. (Russia’s point of information: “Why we needs back-rub circle? In (post-) Communist Russia, back rubs you!”) The UN agreement called for “a democratic, plural political system” – Is this a sign China has strayed too far from its Communist roots? Perhaps Bo should be released from his padded cell to lead us all in some Cultural Revolution-era anthems. But it may be too late for that: An inside source that tells us that Bo’s reeducation has been quite successful, to the point that he is cooking up some new revolutionary songs for his red campaigns. Readers, let us break you off a lil’ preview of this remix:
“The east is red, the sun rises! China has produced Xi Jinping. He is the people’s happiness! Hurrah! He is the people’s great savior!”