Letters to the Editor

A Sunday night wide-open thread. Talk about whatever you’d like, no holds barrred.

The Discussion: 101 Comments

Let me start by saying you are as much a fascist as the Chinese could ever be, trying to censor your comments and control everyone’s minds. And you say Chinese practice mind control. F*cking hypocrite.

June 26, 2005 @ 6:12 pm | Comment

Well, I can see we’re off to a productive start. Next.

June 26, 2005 @ 6:23 pm | Comment

okay…. sheesh!

richard, you seen biele wengehua? i’m re-watching it now. i like it – all with beijing accent and the story pretty good, for a tv drama.


June 26, 2005 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

I remembered you mention biele wengehua last night. Tell me more! How can I see it?

June 26, 2005 @ 7:01 pm | Comment

I think you have been MORE than fair.Keep it up!

June 26, 2005 @ 7:06 pm | Comment

“Meiyou Mingzi” and “Pogai” (who savaged Americans as hypcrites on one of your recent Chen Yonglin posts) = one and the same? Both have a fascination with the phrase “f*cking hypocrites”.

June 26, 2005 @ 7:12 pm | Comment

Will, you have a damned good eye. Yes indeedy, same IP address! Oh, the wonders of technology.

Meanwhile, I’d like to diurect reader’s attention to a very funny post on the overhaul of public Hutong toilets. You’ll enjoy it. Ah, memories…

June 26, 2005 @ 7:17 pm | Comment

right so it’s basically about some Chinese 20-30 somethings that end up in Vancouver (wengehua) and what transpires there. I like it so much partly for this one actor that I like – the guy who played the slightly retarded younger brother in “showers” – I don’t know his name but I like his acting.

The dialogue is all in beijing putonghua, so there’s a lot of “r” sounds and sometimes they skip words like “shang” and make it an “r” sound.

it’s been pretty good at getting me to practise listening when I’m not around other Chinese speakers.

I’d recommend it to anyone who wants more practice (KLS?)


June 26, 2005 @ 7:24 pm | Comment

How are you watching it – TV? DVD? Internets?

June 26, 2005 @ 7:28 pm | Comment

Yeah, Laowai, where’d you get it? That sounds like one I’d enjoy. Did any of you see a film called “Quitting”? That’s a good one for Beijing accents as well.

Lisa,Is Mao’s Cafe still open in Venice?It was across from the youth hostel I think.Have a brew for me at the SIDEWALK Cafe!

Indeed it is. Mao’s Kitchen isn’t what I’d call great Chinese food but the owner (Chinese) brought with him a bunch of CR posters and has the whole place decorated with them, long rustic tables, etc.

AM, I had a beer at my favorite place today, it’s down on Main Street, the Library Alehouse….mmmm….microbrews!!!

June 26, 2005 @ 7:32 pm | Comment

oi. I need to go to bed.

I got it in beijing but I imagine you can get it on ebay, or have someone mail it to you.

off to bed… zZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZ

June 26, 2005 @ 7:43 pm | Comment

Dear Filthy Stinking No.9,

I have responded to your last comments on the “China more popular among our allies” thread, which I know is some way back, which is why I’m alerting you to it here. I look forward to your response.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

June 26, 2005 @ 8:12 pm | Comment

We are all “fucking hypocrites” it’s one of our most endearing human qualities.

June 26, 2005 @ 8:59 pm | Comment

Hear, hear!!

June 26, 2005 @ 9:00 pm | Comment

Myself being the exception!

June 26, 2005 @ 9:07 pm | Comment

These open threads have sure brought a welcome injection of humor to Peking Duck. Thanks, AM et. al.

And with that, I’m going to retire early with a good book. ‘Nite all.

June 26, 2005 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Has anyone seen “Withnail and I”?Just got Seinfeld Season 4.Really funny stuff. Wheelchair Salesman:”this is our best model,the cougar 9000. It’s the Rolls Royce of wheelchairs………This is like…..your GLAD to be handicapped.I put Stephen hawking in one of these babies two months ago.He’s LOVIN’ IT!!!” Sorry if I offended anyone.

June 26, 2005 @ 9:18 pm | Comment

Other Lisa,I have been there many,many times.Yeah,Da brews are liquid gold.I lived in Portland,Or for 12 years.It’s the micro-brew headquarters of the U.S.If you ever have a chance, go to Portland. Beautiful city. Cool people.I lived in Culver City for a (short)spell.Good Irish pub on Washington and Sepulvida Joxer Daly’s.Ah, Hell-A

June 26, 2005 @ 9:26 pm | Comment

FYI, My friend’s second cousin was in a wheelchair.We were ALWAYS real nice to him. So you see,I like all kinds of people.I am VERY openminded.Sorry if this has offended anyone.

June 26, 2005 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

Sorry Mark, I’ll read your other posts, but I’m not going to waste my time with your anti-american tirades. Sorry to be so dismissive … but I haven’t yet heard a horse sing.

June 26, 2005 @ 10:43 pm | Comment

am, I can’t tell if that’s so tongue in cheek you’ve got a second mouth or if I need more coffee.

June 26, 2005 @ 11:17 pm | Comment

Echo, That’s one of the drawback’s of the Net.I ‘m really soft and cuddly. Mission Statement: “Have a good time, ALL the time” Some people are very uptight.

June 26, 2005 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

Dear Filthy Stinking No.9.,

My response to your last comments on that thread has nothing to do with any criticisms about America – it is a response to your criticisms about me.

And I do not accept this ridiculous anti-American charge!

Mark Anthony Jones

June 27, 2005 @ 12:11 am | Comment

Today I drank a fine Stone Pale Ale…and now I am having a glass of Spanish wine. Yee-haw.

BTW, I reiterate my recommendation for “Foreign Babes in Beijing” (that’s a BOOK, AM, don’t get any funny ideas, now…) – it’s hilarious and very insightful as well.

June 27, 2005 @ 12:24 am | Comment

Dunno about the modifier “f*cking”, but a some Victorian writer (I forget who) said
“Hypocrisy is the tribute which vice pays to virtue.” So, by the measure, sure there is a lot of hypocrisy in America – but it’s usually the side effect of America’s especially high ideals.
It’s easier to avoid hypocrisy if you’re cynical to begin with. Hitler was not a hypocrite – because he denied any ethics at all. Same goes for Mao and his legacy.

June 27, 2005 @ 12:30 am | Comment

Mark, I decline to engage. If you like to regard it as victory, and that will make you feel happy, then go right ahead.

I’ve decided what the topic of my first posting will be, when marking is over and I get around to writing it: Yellow Fever. I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this issue, and I can’t imagine Richard writing a post about it. 😉

June 27, 2005 @ 1:48 am | Comment

FS9, I’m looking forward to it. And I hope you’re feeling better.

I posted kind of a long thing about Mao’s interest in Shang Yang. I wrote it a number of years ago and it has some problems, but I’d be interested in feedback, if anyone has the patience to wade through it.

June 27, 2005 @ 2:19 am | Comment

I’m kind of surprised on one has had a word to say about the CNOOC / Unocal takeover.

June 27, 2005 @ 3:32 am | Comment

Ditto what Other Lisa said, I also look forward to your words on Yellow Fever.
It’s a pet peeve of mine. Been in China for a few years, and one of the most revolting things I’ve seen, again and again, is the phenomenon of Western teachers in China shagging their own students.
I mean, it’s one thing to run through lovers like water – that’s not my style, but at least it’s within the rules of some kind of decency. At least if the lady is NOT your own student, then there is something approximating freedom and equality.
But why the hell do so many Western (mostly Anglophone, US and UK and Australian and Canadian) teachers in China, feel like they have to shag their own students? And why aren’t more of them deported?
I knew one, a recent arrival – a middle aged man by the way – whom I advised to avoid shagging his own students. And he replied:
“But where ELSE am I going to meet women?” And this was in a MAJOR city in China, and I thought,
“If you have a hard time finding willing women in (this city in China) OTHER than your own students, then you’re extremely f—ed up.”
I mean, I’ve taught at various universities in the West, and shagging your own students is grounds for dismissal and ruin, in Western universities. And it should be! Any man who does that, should have his balls cut off!
I admire Chinese women – mostly I just like looking at them and being around them. They’re lovely. But in my several years in China I’ve never found any need to exploit any of my own lady students – I mean, WHY would anyone need to be so desperate? Female company – and I mean GOOD, honorable, intelligent female company – is easy to find in China – and that includes the many lovely expat ladies in China. And the Western ladies in China usually speak better English than the Chinese girls do, so I actually prefer the company of Western girls here – although I do like enjoying the scenery of Chinese women, they’re lovely to look at, and often brilliant and kind, so I want to vomit when I see one of them exploited by her own teacher.
So, who here agrees with me, that any Foreign teacher in China who shags one of his own students, should have his balls cut off?
Among other things, that kind of scummy behavior just give a bad name to all of the decent Foreign teachers in China. It reinforces the common Chinese impression of Westerners as sexual predators and exploiters – and the truth is that MOST of us are not like that.
Who is with me? Who wants to join me, to castrate all Foreign teachers who shag their own students? 🙂

June 27, 2005 @ 3:40 am | Comment

Ivan,I think for alot of these guys its a paid sex tour.It’s pathetic. I am seeing more and more of these creepy guys around town.The Chinese government will put up with ANYTHING for “development”.Of course Chinese teachers are banging their students too. My friend is a Chinese teacher.He tells me the stories.Students really will do anything for a good grade.I guess they will do anything to get out of China too.In my town it’s like the Arkansas Trailer Trash Association gave out free one way tickets to China.Not pretty.

June 27, 2005 @ 4:13 am | Comment

Lisa, thanks, but I’m still feeling grotty. But here I am, addicted to the Duck.

Ivan, let’s start by saying where I agree with you. Teachers should avoid shagging their students. They should also be fired if caught. I’m sure there are also some males who are in China just for the sex, and will take it anyway or anyhow they can, regardless of whether it is appropriate or not. You’re also right that in China there are many ways to meet girls who are not your students.

Now, the other side. There are plenty of girls who try pretty hard to seduce their teachers. The teacher should control himself, and not encourage it, but that’s easier said than done. When you have an attractive, intelligent girl who seems to be swooning over you, and gives you every encouragement that a girl knows how to give … well, it’s not an easy thing for your average male to resist. It is an occupational hazard of the teacher, and it takes time to develop techniques of avoiding this kind of thing escalating, even when you don’t intend for it to happen. You feel flattered, and it’s easy to like someone who likes you. In my first couple of years of high school teaching in Hong Kong, I had all sorts of problems with this kind of thing, because I was a young male teacher in a local girls’ school, and the girls didn’t have many other targets they could fixate on. I’m not saying that I did anything wrong, but no matter what you do, you’re going to get girls with crushes on you. Call it the alpha male complex. As a teacher, you’re artificially placed in the “boss man / head chimp” position, and there are some women who are attracted to men in high places. At first, I found it flattering, and I guess I indulged in a little harmless chit-chat, that in another context might be called flirting. All quite innocent. But I learned that doing this would encourage the crush to bloom into something more serious, and then it would take a lot more trouble to shut it down. Frankly, I came to dread it when I would see the signs of another girl with a crush. It moved from flattering, to embarrassing, to just downright annoying. I would say that it took me two years full time experience to develop suitable techniques for discouraging these school girl fantasies, and after that, I had less trouble with it. It also helped to look around at the other male teachers. Some were OK guys, but there were some seriously subnormal individuals in the staff room. It didn’t matter how ugly, stupid or unpleasant a teacher was, he would ALWAYS have at least one girl with a massive crush on him. That helped me keep a sense of perspective on things, since it shows very clearly that many of these girls think they have fallen in love with you, but what they’re really attracted to is the alpha male, and it could be anyone really, as long as they’re placed in a position of power over them. Now, a lot of the teachers who go to China are not professional educators. They’re just people who have a degree of some sort, who thought they’d like an exotic overseas experience. They don’t possess any of the avoidance techniques. Worse, their students are high school kids (usually), they are young adults, which makes it even harder to resist temptation. Worse still, some of them are hot for you, and worst of all, as you said, there is almost an expectation that you will sleep with your students, and minimal punishment for getting caught. Well, I don’t know about you, but placed in that situation, it’s not easy to resist.

I guess I am playing devil’s advocate here, because I have never actually indulged in this activity. I guess I just find it easier to understand than you do Ivan, and I’m not so quick to condemn people for doing it. Remember, in usual circumstances, we’re not talking about rape. We’re talking about consensual sex, with adults who are more than willing. It’s inappropriate yes, and I agree that they shouldn’t do it. But cut their balls off? Steady on.

June 27, 2005 @ 4:20 am | Comment

Oopss … major mistake in the above passage. I meant to say that in most cases their students are NOT high school students. Oops.

June 27, 2005 @ 4:24 am | Comment

With regards to the opening comment in this thread … I’m curious about what it takes to get censored at the Duck. I’ve said some pretty inflammatory and occasionally abusive things, and as far as I know, none of them have every been removed. Richard and I disagree pretty sharply about US politics, and all my posts on that topic have been allowed to remain. So … what does it take?

June 27, 2005 @ 4:31 am | Comment

Certainly not poor grammer.Dunno what some people are complaining about.

June 27, 2005 @ 4:35 am | Comment

Or Spelling!

June 27, 2005 @ 4:40 am | Comment

AM – it’s “grammar” not “grammer”. 😉

June 27, 2005 @ 4:44 am | Comment

I can’t imagine why anyone would choose to teach English in China other than to shag his students. . . .

June 27, 2005 @ 4:45 am | Comment

Now,THAT was offensive! Bravo!

June 27, 2005 @ 4:48 am | Comment

AM – you should have seen Conrad’s blog Gweilo Diaries … now there was something really offensive. You would have loved it. I sorely miss hearing about Conrad’s latest sexual escapades, and especially the insane text messages he’d receive.

June 27, 2005 @ 4:54 am | Comment

Let the censorship begin!

June 27, 2005 @ 5:05 am | Comment

I’m a reformed man nowadays.

June 27, 2005 @ 5:06 am | Comment

abstractly I understand what you are saying as you play Devil’s Advocate – but I am a male and a very straight one, and so I know that in the end, there is never any excuse for having sex with someone who just happens to be pretty in your classroom. I mean, yes “a stiff d— has no conscience” but on the other hand, it is NOT hard for any teacher to just leave his students in his classroom.
The only temptation which is almost impossible for a male to resist, is when we’re alone with a woman in a situation where we can have sex – and even there it’s easy enough to resist until the clothes come off. So I say, whenever a Foreign teacher puts himself in an inappropriate situation where he COULD have sex with a student, then he has already broken the rules, and should have his balls cut off.
Simple solution: Don’t meet with any of your students outside of class.
Male or female, you should not be socialising with your students while you have power over them.

June 27, 2005 @ 5:11 am | Comment

All this talk of castration is making me hungry.Dinner time.

June 27, 2005 @ 5:16 am | Comment

Ivan, behaviourally, I’m in the same camp as you. Particularly in my high school teaching days, I would never be in a room alone with a girl, for my own protection. At uni, I always make sure the door of the office is open, and don’t socialise with my students here in Australia. Well, I did accept an invitation from this guy I was teaching, when he offered to take me for a spin in his speedboat. It was a really cool boat. What can I say? I’m corrupt. Well, I would be if it made the slightest difference to his final grade, which it didn’t. He’s still a friend, more than a year later. Don’t think it’s quite the same thing we were talking about though.

On the other hand … why do you consider it so totally wrong? When it is a student who is 18 or older, and is not only willing, but actively seeking a relationship with her teacher? I know of at least one girl who arranged for private lessons with a teacher for that express purpose. And it worked. They got married some years later (divorced now, but that’s beside the point).

June 27, 2005 @ 5:21 am | Comment

Slightly off topic.I am considering Penile Reduction Surgery.It’s soooooo much cheaper in China.Has anyone here had this procedure done in China? As it stands now ( no pun intended) all of my female students run in horror.I wanna be just like everybody else.At least normal (by Western standards!) In a way I’m handicapped.

June 27, 2005 @ 6:01 am | Comment

Very good question. And I’m enjoying debating with you!
You asked, why do I consider it totally wrong, when a student of over 18 is willing?
Well, first a distinction to make, between the example you gave of the girl who was seeking PRIVATE lessons, versus a university student who is REQUIRED to be a student in some Foreigner’s class:
If the student is FREELY CHOOSING the teacher, then, that is one thing. But if the student is REQUIRED to take the class, then I think the teacher has more responsibility to avoid any romantic contact.
Why? Simply because there is an issue of power involved. Any student who is REQUIRED to take a course, is in a position where her teacher has power over her WHICH SHE CANNOT AVOID!
If the lessons are “voluntary” then that is one thing. But if the course is required, then there is a power relation, and the student MUST pass the course (and ideally get a good mark) and so, the teacher has power over the student which she CANNOT AVOID!
So my point is, that any Foreign teacher who has POWER over a student and then has sex with her, should have his balls cut off. Because then it comes close to the margins of rape.
But if a student is in a VOLUNTARY situation – if she has full power to withdraw and to tell him to go to hell – then fine. No problem.
My problem is with teachers who shag students who have NO CHOICE to avoid their teachers. That kind of situation is NOT entirely voluntary on the student’s part, because the student cannot avoid being under the teacher’s power to some extent.

June 27, 2005 @ 6:05 am | Comment

I’m curious about what it takes to get censored at the Duck. … and all my posts on that topic have been allowed to remain. So … what does it take?

Well, one time I told Richard to get his head out of his ass, and it took me days to get out of lockup. If access is still working today, it’s back in the archives. You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the month to see it. Pretty mild, really. I think it depends on what day it is.

June 27, 2005 @ 6:54 am | Comment

I just don’t get the guys who go after their school students. You practically have to step over desirable, interested women in China – why do you need to mess with students, especially teens?

Grades are definitely not always the motivation. I know because I work for a private training center — there are no grades or scores. In that sense there is nothing to gain by hitting on me. Yet some women do, including some very desirable, eligible women.

Since I am gay, there can be no question as to who initiated it. 🙂 And each time it occurs I’m reminded that, d@mn, straight western guys in China have it m-a-d-e!

And as if western guys needed yet another advantage, on top of everything else there is the bluebird of highly educated women. I don’t know about other parts of China (please tell me!), but here in Shanghai, very few men – even young guys – will entertain the idea of marrying a woman with an education higher than their own.

This means that if you, say, happen to teach business English in Shanghai, you are almost bound to encounter lots of highly educated women in great jobs, who are single for no apparent reason. Polished, charming, educated, successful career women … many of whom also happen to be preternaturally gorgeous. And they even hit on gay guys in their 40s! What more could a straight western guy ask for?

Given this cornucopia of opportunity, I just don’t see why guys need to mess with teenage girl students. That seems swinish.

June 27, 2005 @ 7:08 am | Comment

My 2 cents:

If they shag their students, fire them. If the student is under 18, throw them in jail. deport if necessary (if there’s no job, chances are this will fall in place naturally).

Cutting the cajones off is too extreme – the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. there is a power dynamic there that is being taken advantage of, yes, but essentially you’d have a hard time proving that it wasn’t consensual at the end of the day (no pun intended) and so the crime is being slimy, dodgy and unprofessional. If you get fired, no more work visa… no more china…

June 27, 2005 @ 7:24 am | Comment

American Man, please be careful where you are going with your most recent post … unless of course you are speaking from, uh, “first-hand” experience. 🙂

June 27, 2005 @ 7:28 am | Comment

FSN9, I almost never censor any comment. The commenter has to work hard at needling me. Usually I’ll warn them, and if they prove that they’re just out to get a reaction, then maybe I’ll react (though usually I’ll just let it be).

June 27, 2005 @ 7:31 am | Comment

Richard, did you check to see if Mark Anthony Jones’ IP address is the same as Meiyou Mingtzi’s?


June 27, 2005 @ 7:50 am | Comment

Ivan … yes, sorry I can’t debate with you on your last post, because I agree. There is a definite difference in the distinction you make. OK then … let’s throw out a problem in a grey area … what if it is a student who has just finished taking your course, and has already got their grade from you, so can’t be said to be influenced in that respect, but who is still a student in the institution where you teach?
You know, I realise that I have told a lie. There was a time when I had a girlfriend who I met as a student. It was a pretty low class “chat room” type setting, where students came and went as they pleased, paying a flat rate per month to be allowed to attend as many classes as they cared to. It was in my first months in HK, and she was a nurse. First Asian girl I ever went out with in fact. The HK guy who ran the school said when I started “all the teachers get girlfriends here. You’ll get one soon.” An older Chinese woman who was a regular in my class took to matchmaking between me and the nurse. Seemed like everyone was in on the “game” … but I don’t think this exactly equates with the thing you’re so outraged about. I sure hope you don’t want to cut off my privates anyway.

June 27, 2005 @ 8:34 am | Comment

I think there’s a fairly clear moral difference between (adult) private students/tutorials and anybody who you’re in some kind of position of authority over. Of course, if you sleep with a private student, you can’t really charge them for lessons afterwards …

But, yes, this kind of thing is very common in China – and Korea and Japan. One of the things that worries me most is that the schools in these countries make *no* security checks about the people they’re hiring – no attempt to look at sex offender lists, for instance. I’ve met a couple of people who gave me distinct feelings of creepiness in that area – constantly talking about teenage girls (or boys), that kind of thing – and I worry that Chinese children, who exist in a media vacuum when it comes to knowledge of abuse anyway – are very vunerable to predators.

The truth is, too, that a lot of Chinese girls are very naive about sex and romance, particularly in the provincial cities. I know a eighteen-year old girl who was convinced by a fifty-something year old man that it was her *duty* to marry him (once he’d divorced his wife), because he’d spent time with her when she was feeling low. (‘I looked after you during your exams; won’t you look after me in my old age?’) He made her promise not to get a boyfriend, and to marry him once she’d finished university. Fortunately she got over it, causing him to call her a ‘Chinese bitch’ in an e-mail from abroad. Niiicceeee.

On another topic, has anyone seen Jung Chang’s biography of Mao yet?


June 27, 2005 @ 9:44 am | Comment

James, I know at least one reader here has staretd Chang’s Mao biography, and he said it seemed simplistic and shallow. I hope he’s wrong, as it’s on my to-buy list.

I hope everyone sees Stephen Frost’s comment about Blind Shaft several posts down. No one knows more about the subject of China’s coal miners than Stephen, so this is a very valuable contribution.

June 27, 2005 @ 9:50 am | Comment

Oh, y’all might find this entertaining – it’s a website run by a friend of mine; a wholescale parody of the various Beijing expat magazines –


June 27, 2005 @ 9:51 am | Comment

She’s got the same agent as me, and I had a brief glance at a preview copy before I left England, but I haven’t seen a proper copy yet.

It looks like there’s several problems with it – though bear in mind this is based on word-of-mouth and a skimthrough. The basic premise – Mao was a fucker who didn’t give a damn about the Chinese people – is hard to argue, but –

a) Both her and Jon Halliday (sp?) are overcompensating a bit for their past. She was a fervent Maoist in her youth, of course, and Halliday was a Maoist in the early 70s.

b) She’s not that great a writer. WILD SWANS sold on substance, not style.

c) It seemed to me to be poor in providing background and context for the information it was giving.

On the other hand, there also seems to be some major new material, especially the Russian stuff, which is nice.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:00 am | Comment

Richard, I know you don’t agree in general with the source (or outlet!) of this piece, but I think perhaps that you will have no problem at all with its content: Too Much Respect for the Law?



June 27, 2005 @ 10:08 am | Comment

What what?!?! Licentious foreign sexual predators deflowering pure Han womanhood? This is an intolerable outrage! No good can come of such miscgenation.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:10 am | Comment

ouch. straight through the heart, richard.

moving on. I’m with laowei on this one. but I wonder: how often are chinese girls aggressive about pursuing a teacher? and by aggressive I mean actual seduction, not merely putting themselves into a situation where it’s likely the guy will seduce them…

one thing about being an american chick in china is the occasional ill informed chinese male who thinks their roving hands are expected and welcome. they try things with me in public they couldn’t pull off with an average chinese girlfriend, nevermind someone they met half an hour earlier. it’s even more ridiculous when they do it while their girlfriend is sitting next to em.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:17 am | Comment

One of my Indonesian friends used to get a lot of unwelcome attention from Chinese men – including marriage proposals after, literally, only a few hours. I think she was exotic enough to be alluring, while familiar enough not to be threatening.

It amuses me, too, how the ‘Asian submissiveness’ myth persists *in Asia.* Chinese men think Korean and Japanese girls are submissive (and therefore good girlfriends), Koreans think Japanese and Chinese girls are, etc, etc. Having lived in all three countries, I get asked about it all the time. Some SK men, when I was there, were also convinced that the North must be full of attractive, suitable women, not full of modern ideas like the uppity Southern girls …

June 27, 2005 @ 10:30 am | Comment

David, that is certainly your type of article. It makes some very valid points, but I don’t know what the alternative to the current system can be. We are intoxicated with the law, it is everything. It’s better than the alternative.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:47 am | Comment

Ahh shucks, I can’t believe no one took my bait.

June 27, 2005 @ 10:54 am | Comment

Hi I haven’t read this thread thoroughly enough but three quick comments to make:

Japanese guys are, from what I’ve heard, by far the worst in terms of unwelcome fondling. My girlfriend just got a 42 y.o. salaryman arrested for his behaviour on the subway in Tokyo. I’m so proud of her – one for not killing the guy outright then and there, and two for taking him to the police station.

second, I’ve got a “review” of Jung Chang’s first chapter. I think it’s crappy. She’s not a great writer. It’s not very inspired. But this critique, as one commenter on my site elucidated, is not a review of the book overall or the information therein. check out the site for my complaints but standby for more opinions. james gets it spot on.

third, … third… oh yeah – third, there was a decent article on the BBC on sexual naivite in China. some statistics and such. The CCP I think is starting to do more educating, which is good. In the article there was a couple that was trying to get pregnant and didn’t know how. needless to say, a bit different from the mainstream west.

To quote eminem –

Of course they’re gonna know what intercourse is
by the time they hit fourth grade
they got the discovery channel don’t they?

Sorry. I swear this is the only time in my life I’ll ever quoted Eminem!

June 27, 2005 @ 11:00 am | Comment

Okay, Jing, here you go…..

miscenegation is good for the gene pools! hooray!

June 27, 2005 @ 11:12 am | Comment

Sorry to change course, but…today I learned that this is a hate site!

From everyone’s favorite commenter, MAJ (posted under yesterday’s “Comments” post):

Echo, you said that the extremism on this site drives away more Chinese readers than it attracts. No doubt. But what I want to assure you of, is that it also drives away more Westerners than it attracts.

Peking Duck attracts many interesting people, and sometimes even results in some useful discussions, but the problem is that nearly every article on China that is baked here is negative – it distorts people’s understanding of China. Most Westerners here that I know refuse to even look at Peking Duck – they are disgusted by it, they regard it as essentially a hate site.

I contribute towards it because I enjoy challenging the extremists – the ranters – the Conrads, if you like!

It’s at a moment like this that I wish I saved all the emails I get from Chinese people living on the mainland thanking me for this site. And there are hundreds of comments on this blog from Chinese people saying the same. More than 300 separate sites link to Peking Duck, many being blogs in China. I am also linked to by Orcinus, Atrios, Fafblog, Liberal Oasis, Belgravia Dispatch, Daou Report and lots more. My, point is that most people do not see this as a hate site and are happy to be associated with it.

So what is a hate site? To me, it’s a site that advocates hatred. Like Stormfront or sites dedicated to anti-Semitism or that advocate persecution of gays or blacks. Just because I hate the CCP doesn’t quaify this blog as a hate site. Take a simple test: Scroll down the posts on this page (and then the next page and the next page) and point out where there is any advocacy of hatred. I think there’s a lot of compassion for the victims of hatred, and a lot of anger at the perpetrators. But then look at MAJ’s own comments. Virtually every one spews hatred at the US. That’s okay; I hate the Bush administration and I’m proud of that. But that, too, doesn’t make me a hate site, and if mark’s comments were in his own blog that wouldn’t constitute a hate site, unless he incited hate. Charles Johnson incites hate, constantly beating up on an entire religion. All I ever beat up on is the hardline CCP, the hardline Busheviks and any other government that oppresses its people. How that constitutes a hate site is unclear to me.

MAJ, omniscient as always, tells us that many Westerners recoil from my site. He knows this, because he’s heard it from somebody. Well, looking at all the China-related blogs, my site has respectable traffic and as many commenters as the lot of them – maybe even more than some. A lot of people who love China and even love the CCP link to me and comment here. I’ve never heard them describe this as a hate site.

A question asked on this thread was about comment deletion policy. I said I rarely delete comments and usually give a warning first. I also said the person had to demonstrate that they’re needling me, trying to get a rise. I think anyone who goes onto someone’s blog and accuses it of being a “hate site” and then vilifies it and those participating meets the crtieria for “needling” and trying to get a rise. That said, I won’t delete the comment, but I do want to give MAJ a cordial warning: if you want to slam this blog you are welcome to do so, but not here. You can criticize it, but calling it a hate site crosses the line, implying it’s an incendiary breeding ground of hatred, which it is not. As a guest here, you should be more considerate and less provocative.

Again, there is a simple test for the hate site accusation: read my posts. I think there’s a huge amount of compassion here for the Chinese people. The supreme irony is that MAJ in an earlier post argued that it was essential for the insurgents in Iraq to win over the Americans. Now, anyone following this story knows that no one is more terrified of or filled with hatred toward the insurgents than the Iraqi people. The insurgents slaughter them every day, men, women, children. To urge them on and insist they see victory, knowing it would lead to a brutal regime far worse than Saddam;s — well, that meets my definitrion of “hate” far more than my chronicling the sins of the oppressors in China or of Bush & Co. in America. It’s also immoral. I hate our war in Iraq, but to wish well on the insurgents who eagerly sliced off the head of a saintly CARE volunteer and hundres of other innocents — well, that’s what real hatred looks like.

Okay, didn’t mean to go off on that tangent. MAJ, again, consider yourself warned. Criticize all you want, but don’t attack my site and my readers irrationally and expect to be greeted with open arms.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:29 am | Comment


I don’t know what to say really, except MAJ has his opinion. From the length of his posts and brimstone and vigour in his arguments, I’d say you are doing him an immense service by providing him with a forum for his crusade. Plenty of good karma there.

I don’t think your site is a hate site.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:49 am | Comment

Thanks Laowai, and sorry for the long, stultifying rant. When you invest so much of your time and energy into creating a site like this, it’s not very encouraging to be told you’re running a hate site.

(Oh, and I can hear MAJ’s response now: “I never said you were running a hate site, just that people I know say that.” Well, when you come on and repeat blanket assertions like that without challenging them, it’s the same as you making the assertion yourself.)

June 27, 2005 @ 11:51 am | Comment

other lisa : was it you who mentioned recently that you’d finished ‘foreign babes in beijing’? can’t seem to find the comment, search only brings up richard’s old post…

June 27, 2005 @ 11:53 am | Comment

Richard I think that where a consensus develops in the comment sections of the Peking Duck, that consensus tends towards the intolerant, in that it does not really tolerate opinion which challenges fervently-held anti-CCP views.

but to say this is a hate site! of course that’s wrong.

June 27, 2005 @ 11:59 am | Comment

KLS, you are quite right. There’s also a consensus among my commenters about Bush and the Iraq War (with some dissent from Conrad and FSN9, but they’ll come around eventually). You know, I’m very open about my contempt for the CCP, though I am always looking for the kinder, gentler side of the Party. So it’s no surprise that a lot of my readers share this conviction. Where I am lucky, I think, is that most of these readers hold these beliefs based on first-hand knowledge and experience, having lived in China. It’s always intriguing to hear their stories and viewpoints.

June 27, 2005 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

KLS, I’m not sure… hard to define I guess – I mean on the one hand I would agree that the majority of people here – including the blog-owner, take issue with a lot of CCP actions. I’d also say that this issue holds a less diverse opinion-pool of commenters than, say, pro vs. anti US sentiment.

But that being said, and to ignore the stupid ad hominem remarks that people make on both sides of the table, I find people that I disagree with here make me think and although I may disagree with them, that’s how it goes.

I don’t really think it’s intolerance, I think it’s disagreement, and would be entirely left to disagreement if people didn’t make stupid ad hominem remarks or say stuff like “you are missing the point” (as opposed to, you are missing my point) or “It’s obvious!” and the more hurtful ones.

People don’t know how to argue safely and supportively, myself included. It becomes an ego thing.

June 27, 2005 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

btw, are other lisa and I the only two of the non penile persuasion round here these days?

June 27, 2005 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

not only does my ego wish it’d been the one to get pushed out of the way in order to make the above disagreement/intolerance clarification but the boy links to ‘find your senators’ when he posts u.s. political stuff. I’m thinking of quitting my day job and becoming a laowai cheerleader.

June 27, 2005 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

ah well, I think sometimes here contrary views are disagreed with via discussion/argument, and sometimes they are not tolerated and no attempt is made to engage with them.

then again, tolerance is a very nuanced thing. if you think it’s a given that serial killers shouldn’t kill people, for instance, you’re hardly likely to bother engaging the brain to logically prove your point to someone who thinks otherwise!

June 27, 2005 @ 12:43 pm | Comment

echo, I’m about half-way through “Foreign Babes.” So far, very insightful and a hoot and a half as well. Two thumbs up!

June 27, 2005 @ 12:44 pm | Comment


Thanks Echo. I try to write my senators as often as I can to tell them what to do. Given they disagree with me on almost every issue I figure they can use the dissention. I’m sure the poor office assistants that have to wade through my letters and write the replies love me, if for nothing else, the humour that I provide them by writing very left wing letters to right wing senators. I haven’t been home in YEARS but all the letters still go there. It’ll be kind of like a time capsule to go home and read them all.

KLS – good job – I was trying to get there with the bit on ad hominem stuff and the “it’s obvious!” bit but you got there more efficiently. forgive me, it’s been a looooonnnnggg day of data crunching

June 27, 2005 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

Ps: Echo – you read chinese? I’ve got some charity posts up there you might like too.


June 27, 2005 @ 12:57 pm | Comment

Well said, KLS. Is there any forum where all views are listenend to objectively and fairly? I realize there’s some intolerance and opinionatedness here, but as blog comments go I think we get a good mix of viewpoints and some unusually interesting discussions.

I also think its human nature to cling to our viewpoints — an urge I try to fight.

June 27, 2005 @ 1:00 pm | Comment

other lisa : mucho thankso. if you write a review…. I won’t be able to read it for a while, but someone asked a question about it on my blog and I thought I’d toss it over to you

oh captain my captain : reading chinese? minimally and gaining slowly. my focus has been on speaking and bizarre translational stuff that only seems interesting to me.

btw, I just found your translation of the Way, first sentence. you’ll be getting a comment notification soon. I do hope you’ll forgive my astounding audacity to comment on translations when I’m not remotely fluent in the language, but I was rather absorbed by your nuances and just sort of fell into questions that may or may not actually sound like questions

June 27, 2005 @ 1:20 pm | Comment

well, it’s nice to be agreed with. do you know *several* people agreed with something I said to do with propaganda on the big thread yesterday!!
I truly don’t invent viewpoints just to be contrarian or provoke, but in all the other big threads I’ve definitely been firmly in the minority.
so I’ve been thinking about why people read something like a blog or a newspaper if they know it’s coming from a certain angle.
do they choose something that fits their viewpoints?

the editorial “slant” (not meant in a pejoritive way of course!) and the slant of most of the commentators on the Peking Duck is definitely different from my own.
But lots of the comments I find very interesting to read & learn a lot, & from participating sometimes as well as just reading.
the downside, though, of being in a minority is that sometimes you feel it’s not worth disagreeing because sometimes the contrary viewpoint is not “tolerated”, you get shouted down etc.
then again, would I find The KLS Daily as interesting a read?

June 27, 2005 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

so I’ve been thinking about why people read something like a blog or a newspaper if they know it’s coming from a certain angle.
do they choose something that fits their viewpoints?

The answer is a resounding Yes. Most people approach their favorite blogs (and other media) the way they get into a warm bath; it makes them feel good, relaxed, at peace and at home, with their belief systems all safe and confirmed. That’s why every day I start by going through the blogs I hate the most – Instapuppy, Maglalang, PowerLine, LGF, to keep my perspective and to remember the viewpoints expressed here aren’t necessarily universal.

I’ve been ganged up on in blog comments, and I know it’s not very uplifting. Just keep in mind, at this site the majority is almost always right.

June 27, 2005 @ 1:45 pm | Comment

also, completely separately, Laowai you mentioned that Chinese TV series, which certainly sounds interesting. have you come across a website called yesasia.com? if I remember right you said you’re going back to china pretty soon so it’ll be of no use, but I found it an excellent and cheap way to get chinese DVDs – it’s like an asian amazon. goes to the US as well I’m sure.

which reminds me of something I’ve wanted to ask for months: does anyone know of anywhere on the web where you can download mandarin being spoken or chatted (radio programmes, for example) saved as a file (eg mp3) to listen to whenever. I have an ipod and a daily short commute.

June 27, 2005 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

— “at this site the majority is almost always right.” —
must try harder to remember that!!!

June 27, 2005 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

You know I was being totally tongue in cheek, I hope….

June 27, 2005 @ 1:57 pm | Comment

what, HUMOUR???
yep, I got it Richard!!

June 27, 2005 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

Laowai, I have just dropped a mail in your box, check it. It is about the last post of mine.

June 27, 2005 @ 2:37 pm | Comment



for all you mp3 listening needs. gordon referred me there. it’s pretty decent.

June 27, 2005 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

>> “One of my Indonesian friends used to get a lot of unwelcome attention from Chinese men – including marriage proposals after, literally, only a few hours. ”

In gay male China, this is also not unusual — and not just in situations involving foreigners. Gay Chinese guys sometimes become “boyfriends”, moving in together after just two or three dates.

Last month I had a guy suggest moving in together after a single three-hour dinner date (physical contact had been limited to a handshake). It’s hard to be flattered by this – how well could someone know me after a single date, especially through the filter of my crappy Chinese?

June 27, 2005 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

Echo wrote:
>> “one thing about being an american chick in china is the occasional ill informed chinese male who thinks their roving hands are expected and welcome. they try things with me in public they couldn’t pull off with an average chinese girlfriend, nevermind someone they met half an hour earlier. it’s even more ridiculous when they do it while their girlfriend is sitting next to em.”

I have to say that upon reading a description of “Foreign Babes in Beijing”, my first reaction was “Great, a popular tv series that confirmed to Chinese men that American women are legitimate “targets of opportunity” — ready, willing, available … and not the least concerned if a Chinese guy is married. A Chinese husband’s dream come true! No wonder the series was so popular.

Given that cheating on one’s spouse strikes me as being far more common in Chinese society (among both married men and women), I coudn’t help but think this series had directly influenced the justifications of anyone – married or otherwise – who wanted to grab an American woman.

I would love to hear the opinion of Other Lisa, she not only being a female who has lived in China, but having actually read the book in question. How did the author square her representation of American women with the feeding of prevailing stereotypes? Did this give her pause?

How can we call Chinese guys “ill informed” when a very attractive American women voluntarily appears on national television to confirm just this notion?

June 27, 2005 @ 4:02 pm | Comment

Shanghai, I’m only halfway through the book. The author at this point is in so far over her head that she doesn’t really realize what she’s gotten herself into. So it will be interesting to see what she has to say about all this.

For myself, at the time I was in China, it was a period of such incredible repression that the issue of being a Western woman didn’t really come up (and I was barely out of my teens). Westerners were so foreign and so unknown that we might as well have been space aliens. It felt like Star Trek – “I’m Captain Kirk, from the United Federation. We come in peace.”

The times I’ve been back, I’ve been treated with great respect, but then, I’m in my 40s (though of course I’m very youthful 😉 ), so that might have something to do with it. Traveling on the trains by myself people were incredibly nice and even a little protective (“You”re by yourself? You don’t have a hotel? I will find you one!”)

June 27, 2005 @ 6:29 pm | Comment

There are gay people in China?

June 27, 2005 @ 7:11 pm | Comment

One or two. You’ll read about it in my book.

June 27, 2005 @ 7:13 pm | Comment

I was wondering about all those guys staring at me and saying HALLOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I AM hot!

June 27, 2005 @ 7:17 pm | Comment

Okay, a new thread has opened. This one’s getting crowded!

June 27, 2005 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

Richard, Don’t be homophobic!You might offend someone.

June 27, 2005 @ 7:26 pm | Comment

Richard,Where are you in Arizona?

June 27, 2005 @ 7:29 pm | Comment

Phoenix, where the average temperature is 110 degrees. Torture. Now get to the new thread.

June 27, 2005 @ 7:30 pm | Comment

People who complain about intolerance on this website should learn to be like me. That is, to be completely unafraid to be the lone voice of an opposing point of view. Just because everyone happens to think another point of view, doesn’t mean you have to conform to it. Peking Duck doesn’t suppress dissenting views. What are you, sheep? Baaaaaaaaaaaaa

June 27, 2005 @ 9:07 pm | Comment

I like to “make love to sheep.”

June 27, 2005 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

Filthy,Please correct above grammAr mistake for me.Thanx

June 27, 2005 @ 9:55 pm | Comment

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