When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

02 November 2005

Cheap DVD players - no extra charge for the totalitarianism

The next time you think about buying a cheap Chinese-made DVD player at WalMart, think about this story:
David Ji used a few good contacts in his homeland to build a billion-dollar business selling cheap DVD players in the U.S. Then he crossed a supplier--and disappeared.


This is the dark side of doing business in a booming China, where government often is your partner, the lines between state and enterprise are blurry and respect for defendant rights is spotty at best. In the U.S. a spat over bills owed to a supplier can get you sued; in China it can get you jailed for months before any charges are filed. David Ji is one of a dozen or so U.S. businessmen detained without due process in the past decade in China. An implicit racism is evident in these cases: Most of the jailed execs are Asian-Americans, and even U.S. citizens get held.

The Chinese attitude is "Hey, you are, at least ethnically speaking, Chinese. You should know how the system works," says John T. Kamm, founder of Dui Hua, a nonprofit group in San Francisco that helps people wrongfully imprisoned in China. "These cases are many, and the business world should be troubled by them," says Jerome Cohen, a New York University professor who specializes in China's legal system. He has advised Ji's defense. "Many of these cases never get reported," he adds, citing "interference from local police, prosecutors and corrupt judges occasionally cooperating with local powerholders."
A powerful and disturbing article, well worth reading.

Held Hostage In China - Forbes.com

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