Discover the History of Guanxi

March 11, 2014

I first heard of Guanxi from the China Law Blog, which referred to the Silicon Hutong Blog.

After reading the China Law Blog’s post, I did more research and also watched a few videos on the subject.

I learned that Guanxi is an aspect of Chinese culture that does not translate easily.

There are several elements and layers to Guanxi. First, Guanxi is based on a Confucian hierarchy of familial relationships, long-term friendships, classmates, and schoolmates and to those no stranger—Chinese or foreign—will ever have access to. (Silicon Hutong)

Guanxi evolved over the millennia because China didn’t have a stable and effective legal system. In fact, the legal system in China today is relatively new and made its appearance after the 1982 Chinese Constitution was established.

Since 1982, there have been several amendments to the Constitution as China adapts its evolving legal system.

In time, this legal system may replace Guanxi since business law modeled on Western law with Chinese characteristic is developing faster than civil law.

Through the centuries, merchants in China needed a way to avoid disputes and problems in the absence of a well-developed legal system. To survive, this complex system called Guanxi developed with many components such as partnerships, trust, credibility, etc.

Guanxi developed organically in civil society due to the absence of a uniform, government mandated legal system, and maintaining Guanxi is different than how relationships are maintained in other cultures. The embedded video with this post offers a more detailed explanation.

The China Law Blog’s had more than twenty comments, and it was a lively discussion worth reading if you are interested in discovering more on this topic.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Falun Gong’s Media Machine

July 18, 2013

A few years ago when I attended the 6th Asian Heritage Street Celebration in San Francisco, I stopped at a booth for Shen Yun Performing Arts staffed with attractive, college age girls. My wife loves dance, and I thought she might be interested. I asked if this dance troop was part of a local college or university. The girl who handed me the brochure said yes.

She lied to me.

That evening, when I arrived home, I handed the brochure to my wife, who said, “That is Falun Gong.” I’ve written about The Falun Gong and Costco, about A Visit from the Falun Gong, and the more I learn about this group, the more sinister they become.

Turning to the Internet and using Google, I learned that New Tang Dynasty Television, Shen Yun Performing Arts and The Epoch Times all appear to be part of Falun Gong. I also discovered that Falun Gong must buy lots of Internet AD words so Google searches lead to one of the gears in the Falun Gong machine.  In fact, I had trouble finding anything but Falun Gong propaganda and had to keep altering my search terms to get beyond the Falun Gong firewall.

In time, I discovered a piece published in the Buffalo News saying, “the promoters and creators of “Shen Yun,” who have picked up a reputation for misrepresentation and deception over the years, have adopted the questionable propagandist tactics of the very government they criticize in their productions.”

Digging further, the New York Times reported, “China’s decision to ban Falun Gong was made after 10,000 adherents staged a silent protest outside the gates of Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party’s leadership compound in Beijing, to complain about reports in the state-run media that the group said were defamatory. Security forces apparently had no advance knowledge of the demonstration, which took place on April 25, 1999. The Chinese government began treating the group as a threat to national security.”

How about visiting Belching About China

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Mao’s 24-hour war to cleanse China of illegal drugs

July 16, 2013

From The Opium Monopoly by Ellen N. La Motte, we learn how opium addiction became an epidemic in China. Although The Chinese knew about opium for more than a thousand years, it wasn’t until the Portuguese arrived in the 18th century that  the Chinese used it as a drug by smoking it. Merchants from Britain, France, Portugal, America and other nations became the drug cartels that plagued China into the 20th century.

In 1729, the emperor issued the first anti-opium edict, but the supply of opium flooding China went from 220 chests in 1729 to 70,000 in 1858.

It is estimated that before 1950, as many as 20 million Chinese were drug addicts. To solve this problem, Mao had the People’s Liberation Army execute the drug dealers and forced millions of addicts into compulsory treatment—all in twenty-four hours.


Opium growers, who did not want to comply, fled into the Golden Triangle Region of Southeast Asia where many of Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist troops had gone to escape defeat. Those generals also did business with the CIA, and American soldiers in Vietnam became the new customers. It is estimated that at least 20% of the almost nine million American troops that served in Vietnam became addicted.

China remained free of drugs until Deng Xiaoping declared, “Getting Rich is Glorious” and opened China to world trade. In 2003, it was estimated that China had four million regular drug users—even with China’s strict laws concerning illegal drug use.

And in America, where human rights are king, drug users and sellers often end up in prison costing taxpayers an average of $47,000 annually for each of the more than 2-million convicted criminals that are locked up explaining why America has more people serving time in prisons than any other country on the planet—that price tag is more than $90-billion a year.

Sources: Opium and Illegal Drugs in China and How Maoist Revolution Wiped Out Drugs in China

To discover more of Mao’s China, see China’s Great Leap Forward

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 2/2

April 30, 2013

During the 1990s, Zhou Litai became famous as one of the first lawyers fighting for the rights of workers injured or mistreated by China’s new wave of private enterprises.… Since then, he has handled thousands of workplace injury cases, and even houses and feeds some of his most destitute clients. Source: New York Times

Zhou Litai has been featured in China Daily and on CCTV in China.

In the 2006 documentary, Zhou Litai says, “In Shenzhen every year, 10,000 insured workers get injured.  It’s reported that 95% of injured workers do not file lawsuits.”

“After winning cases,” Zhou Litai says, “some clients went back home to buy a house or to open a home business. Also, a few have started self-education in law such as Fu Shulin, who comes from Anhui Province.”

“Before he came to Shenzhen,” Zhou Litai says, “Fu Shulin was a student at a vocational college in Hefei City and he’s been living with me after filing a lawsuit. During the legal process, he realized the power of the law and decided to study after me.”



In May 2006, a short documentary of China’s changing legal system was produced.

Before becoming a law clerk, Fu Shulin had a hand cut off while operating a machine. He was sent to a hospital.

Shulin says, “At first, the doctor told me that my hand was able to be reconnected. However, after my boss talked to the doctor, he told me that my hand wouldn’t be reconnected because the bones had been shattered.”

Shulin had problems with his factory boss so he saw Lawyer Zhou Litai.

After seeing Zhou Litai, Shulin was offered 30,000 yuan by the factory (less than $4,000 US). He turned it down.

Then the boss had him locked up in a factory room, but Shulin managed to get a note to his lawyer, Zhou Litai, who came with the police to free him.

in 1998, the district court ruled in Shulin’s favor and awarded him 160,000 yuan (more than $19,000 US dollars). The factory boss appealed and lost. The final settlement was 168,000 yuan (more than $20,000 US)

Return to China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 1/2

April 29, 2013

Since China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi (259 – 210 BC), a legal system was established that was relatively modern and forward-looking. Trained administrators were sent across the country to govern by statute. What was right and what was wrong was not subject to the whim of erratic autocrats or juries. Source: Anthropologist in the Attic

In general, ancient China’s legal system attempted to enforce filial piety, to uphold the respect of family ancestors, to avoid legal action when possible, to create deterrents to actions and to “control outbursts” (which may explain why China locks up democracy activists because they are shaking the boat). Source: Kwintessential.co.uk

No matter how much Westerners may disapprove of China’s ancient legal system, it had the acceptance of most Chinese because they understood the traditions behind the laws.


In May 2006, a short documentary of China’s changing legal system was produced.

As part of its economic reforms and policy of opening to the world, between 1980 and 1984, China established special economic zones in Shantou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai in Guangdong Province and Xiamin in Fujian Province and designated the entire island province of Hainan a special economic zone.

Many of China’s new laws were written after this happened.

The rapid growth in industry led to a large number of work related injuries. For example, In 1998, there were over 15,000 serious work related injuries and industrial accidents.

Zhou Litai, a Chinese lawyer, arrived in Shenzhen in 1995 to work on worker’s compensation cases. He says there are three reasons behind worker’s compensation cases in China.

1. The facilities are old and outdated. Some of the equipment was used in Taiwan, Hong Kong or Korea 20 years ago.

2. The workers don’t get the necessary training before they start work.

In fact, Zhou Litai says, “The government has clearly regulated that workers need to be trained before starting a new job, and working permits are required.”

3. The worker’s health deteriorated due to working overtime on a regular basis.

4. The government control isn’t strict enough (For more than two millennia the legal system avoided legal action when possible).

Many Western legal concepts are foreign to Chinese culture, and “thanks to China’s economic development, the commercial law in China is far more developed than other aspects of the legal system.” Source: Ultravires

Continued on April 30, 2013 in China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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