Wednesday, November 1, 2017



海若德勋爵觐行(拜伦之作) / Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, by Lord Byron

丛林本无路,快乐自蕴藏,   There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
海滩貌孤独,欣喜亦张狂,   There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
古有桃花源,世人不得路,   There is society where none intrudes,
海深依宁静,乐音傍高昂:   By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
我弗不爱人,唯更爱自然。   I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
与之论天地,窃得仙桃尝,   From these our interviews, in which I steal
知晓未来事,畅悟以往情,   From all I may be, or have been before,
交融宇宙间,天地顿昭彰,   To mingle with the Universe, and feel
言表既无路,掩饰亦无方。   What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

海洋暗绿深,一浪接一浪,   Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean--roll!
一万铁甲帆,一波不能伤,   Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
土地遭凌辱,废墟记年长,   Man marks the earth with ruin--his control
铁军临岸边,威力…         Stops with the shore;--upon the watery plain


The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

His steps are not upon thy paths,--thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,--thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth: —there let him lay.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why I Stopped Writing

A reader (whom we shall call Mr. T) left a message (attached at the end) about my audio programs and writing. I think that he deserves a response. And here it is:

First of all, those who read my articles or listened to my Chinese language programs know that I am a believer of market, where the most reliable signal to direct people’s actions is price. Wherever the government allows the market force to function, a person who provides a meaningful service should get sufficient market response for him to make a reasonable living.

For me to produce a program on YouTube, I need, at the very minimum, 100,000 views for each video (actually, 500,000 is a number that would make the endeavor “attractive” to me). So, even if I get 4,000 clicks for each video (the more typical number is around 2,000), that is only 4% of what I need, or less than 1% of what is attractive. I picked up those 4,000 subscribers in four years. How long do I need to continur doing the same to pick up the rest 96,000? Another 200 years to make the minimum? Or another 1,000 to make it attractive?

Mr. T used the word “valuable.” I don’t know what value he has in mind, but the value through market is that there is no demand for my videos. In other words, the market signals me that I should do something else.

The market in the U.S. (at least where the government is not interested in micro-regulating) is generally flat, which means that the market rewards all efforts fairly, across different industries. The impossibility for me to support the activities from its earnings is a demonstration that the market does not have the need, although certain individuals may really want the activity.

In fact, there is another model for this to work out other than the advertising model, i.e., paid subscription model. The chance for that to happen is precisely zero.

Mt. T is right that even 4,000 is a big number these days, representing the fragmented information dissimilation market, but it is nonetheless the nature of the market, i.e., what people want. The market, as a big voting machine, is voting me out. In fact, the fragmented market is voting this entire species of programs out. Today’s people think that short attention span is only normal, something to be accepted, in a world where technologies are taking charge. Who is there to say that the newspapers, printing ever shortened articles, are not digging its own graves?

Certainly, there are other sources of money to produce programs. The U.S. government is one possibility. The Chinese government is another. But since you serve the people who pay you, receiving payment from third parties means that I must serve those masters, rather than the viewers.

For instance, if I take money from the U.S. government, I cannot say anything truly damaging to the Chinese government, for democracy in China would render the entire U.S. propaganda apparatus obsolete and turn the people therein out to the streets. Also, I am not interested in being any government’s mouth piece.

My four-year AM1300/YouTube run showed that Chinese language programming is hopeless.

After writing in English for a year, it is clear that my English writing has even less market power.

The last option is for me to write for existing publications. It is the same idea of working for AM1300. By using other people’s platforms, I can speak to their captured audience. Since the Chinese language media is so heavily poluted, I tried the English media. I have gotten some positive feedbacks, which means that the submissions have been read, but nobody wanted to use any article. In other words, I would be writing to entertain only the editors.

I know a few Chinese who have press connections and asked them for help. None did. Obviously, it is a crowd that does not help one another. When I tried to build a legal practice, many lawyers helped me. Today, with the hindsight, I don’t think that I could have set up my practice without their help. Obviously, in the field of writing on China, people do not help one another. That may explain why there are always so much in-fighting in this group. The only right thing for me to do is to put these people together with the professors, and stay away from them.

There I come to the end of the road.

Mr. T said, “It is not surprising that comments for the blog or videos are not common for you because the involved issues are so deep that the views are new to most people. People needs time to digest them.” Together, I had done this for five years. If five years are not enough for people to digest my ideas and get interested, would enough people ever going to be interested?

All my failures in writing demonstrate an unmistakable market signal: there is no market for me in public writing or program production.

Market is always a comparative mechanism. In other words, all market participants compare one opportunity with another that is available to him. For me, the competing idea is art. The nice feature about art is that, unlike broadcasting, I don’t need 100,000 clients, or even 5,000. Five hundred, or even 100, would do splendidly.

In addition, I could still afford the patience to try art for five or even 10 years.

For us living in a somewhat free society, our decision are often forced by the market, making us do something not necessarily our own planning. However, who is there to say that we are smarter than the market. Insofar as agreeability in character, temperament, the amount of pleasure, and the market reward, I am the last person to argue against the market that writing is better than art. Democracy (through the voting machine) has its powers. I am not going to ignore the advice given to me by the market.

Last, but not least, I need something to balance my legal writing. Pursuing art seems far better than public writing.

“Ὁ βίος βραχύς, ἡ δὲ τέχνη μακρή, ὁ δὲ καιρὸς ὀξύς,” as Hippocrates put it. So there it is. I quit.

---- original posting:

Please do not Stop. If you could check your channel at youtube, there are more than 4000 subscribers, and there are thousands of times of watches for every single video. As for the blog, I guess there are at least many readers from China if lots of clicks comes from Russia (there could be a result of vpn or other means of wall-breaking). These seems to be the most obvious evidences that your effort is much more valuable than your thought. I believe what you are doing here is working in the Chinese community.

It is not surprising that comments for the blog or videos are not common for you because the involved issues are so deep that the views are new to most people. People needs time to digest them. If you are not expecting to be a superstar in entertainment industry(like music, movie, sports, etc), the current status for the videos and blogs is totally reasonable.

---- end of original posting

By Pujie Zheng

Pujie Zheng is an attorney in Los Angeles.

First published on October 24, 2017

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Saturday, October 14, 2017



An Artist’s Goodbye

I have been writing for more than a year after being fired by KAZN for booking a local Republican House candidate. So far, I have less than 500 Facebook subscribers and less than 200 blog readers, not even enough to get myself in trouble if I had done this inside the Great Firewall of China. Since there were clusters of clicks from places like Russia (more than clicks from any other country including the U.S.), I don’t even know how many of those clicks represent real readers.

Thirty years ago, when I was really a kid, I could get my writings published easier. In today’s world, writer belongs to an endangered species, as people use accident and force to make decisions rather than reflection and choice (I don’t know how many people readily know where this is from). Those who do not read are used by politicians and clearly the victims (just not the way they think). Every time I read about the protests, either Occupy Wall Street or campus violence against certain speakers, I just wonder how long it would take for a Hitler to turn these angry young people into Sturmabteilung (or storm troopers).

In this environment, the poor naturally find it increasingly difficult to move up. They are trapped in this massive reactionary machinery including K-12/college and government, as they are turned into believers of equal income, rather than equal opportunity, and government-dominated welfare, vis-à-vis private charity. They refuse to ask the question why people would invest years and years of hard work into developing skills when there is no prospect of earning more, and refuse to learn about how the welfare system has broken and is breaking up their families (i.e., the government-mutilated economic force drives the poor and young women into having children out of wedlock).

Technologies have created such massive noise that people are limiting their intake of ideas to those that could be expressed with 140 characters or less, and turning their heads away from anything that requires further deliberation. Many of today’s kids cannot live without social media, from which they read junks sent by other like-minded kids.

They refuse to take on hard topics because they are taught that study should be fun and easy, and big-government (starting with the government education monopoly) should take care of everything for them. For all the writing I did for more than a year, I don’t think that I have changed one mind.

Besides the reading side, the publishing side has the same problem. For instance, The Wall Street Journal, which is by no means leftist and serves only the rich and evil, published an article about the game playing of China and Russia at UN against the American measures on North Korea, but its editors refused to publish anything to explain the more fundamental question why China hasn’t helped and won’t help America if Trump stays on the current path. As Guo Wengui put it in his National Press Club news conference, the probability of the Chinese cooperation is zero. (Yet, nobody asked why.)

On China, the accusation of the arrogance of the white elite has been around for a long time. In private sector, I have not seen any discrimination, because discriminating talent is the same as discriminating the money in everyone’s pocket. Even fools in the market would not do that. However, government with elite is always a different story. After studying this issue for a month, I have to agree. The blacks could write about the blacks, and the Arabs about the Arabs. But on China, you have to become a white elite to write about it. The trouble is: the white elite does not really understand China and misleads the American policy toward China and Asia at large to the point that nobody could identify the issues. (It reminded me that Reagan was advised by Anna Chennault, nee Chen Xiangmei, a Chinese with extensive experience in China. I don’t even know whether there is anyone advising Trump on China these days.)

Before Trump was elected, I had said that it would take another 20 years for this generation to be flushed out and set an example of the big government absurdities to make it possible for the next generation to elect another Ronald Reagan. Trump offered some hope although he got elected with his populist run (by taking advantage of the anger of the so-called blue collar white people). In the White House, although his policies are in the right direction, e.g., fixing the Obamacare which is clearly heading into fiscal disaster, and reducing tax although it is not clear where he is going to cut the spending (cutting tax without cutting government spending could not be claimed as stimulating the economy), it is not clear how he could push it through the Republican Congress.

It was political conviction and the ability to explain it to the people that allowed Ronald Reagan to push his tax cut through the Democratic House and Senate. My friend Jay Keyworth once told me a story. In a cabinet meeting, everyone, led by Jim Baker, Reagan’s chief of staff, tried to convince Reagan that he could not push his tax cut through the Democratic Congress. Reagan simply responded: Yes, I can, because I know that the American people want it. None of you is an American people. (Reagan meant that they were all elite.) Trump could not push through an obviously reasonable Obamacare reform through Congress because he was not sure whether he wanted to govern or stay a populist. Other populists, including jokers like John McCain and Rand Paul, came out to wreck his reform and allowed Obamacare to remain in force unaltered. Obviously, to them, politicking is more important than the wellbeing of the country.

Although unspeakable, today’s white elite on China also live in the general intellectual environment where intellectuals suffer fundamental confusion together with unbearable yet unavoidable boredom, resulted from their exhausted endeavors in the intellectual cul-de-sac. Like the Romans, they are so suffocated by boredom that they need with urgency some disruption, any disruption. At the same time, to them, they want to crush any Voltaire who dares to speak freely. But ultimately, I think, to their disappointment, nobody could bury today’s democratic civilization by simply brainwashing or out-breeding. They could not repeat the feast, not in this 20-year window. I have not used the racial phrase “western” civilization, which sounds at least to my ears like “white” civilization, because of the development of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and the like. In short, today’s white elite want China or Islam to overpower America (both as political powers).

If my 20-year assessment is correct, I am too old to contribute to the turn. Although a believer of the butterfly effect, as the physics of it is obvious, I have to admit that I subscribe to a higher philosophy, i.e., it is annoying for anyone to try to teach someone who do not wish to learn. The only proper way for these people to learn is through the natural punishment caused by their mistakes, for it is wrong to teach the young people that they need to hunker down to learn a skill vis-à-vis only do things that are easy and fun. The only proper way to teach them that lesson is to let the economic force do it. If Trump actually put up the tariff as he has promised to appease his base, the only proper way is to let the entire U.S. economy go down, really sending the income of the blue-collar white people to the gutters, for that is the only way for them to recognize that Trump, just like Obama, is only using them for vote. They don’t care about their future.

Only then, we shall see a Reagan who speak freely of his beliefs; only then, we shall see faithful Democrats voting for Reagan. At one point, I had thought that the problem is that people at certain places were not alerted to the thought. Guo Wengui’s National Press Club event proved that they don’t want to learn, at least not from a Chinese. It is clear that the arrogance of the white elite, supported by what the elite media call the lost generation, rule America these days. It is economics’ job, not writers’, to show them that they are wrong, because however wrong is the policy toward North Korea and whatever disaster it causes, even with a nuclear disaster, it is not enough to make these white elite to wipe that arrogance off of their faces.

For me, I have always liked art, which, like law, does not need mass market. With today’s technologies, middlemen are also unnecessary. In law, a lawyer only needs a few clients who believe in justice alike. For instance, I would never become Guo Wengui’s lawyer, because I am never 100% confident in any case, for I don’t know how it is possible. The good thing is that a lawyer can only handle so many cases to remain sane. In art, an artist only needs a few clients who believe in beauty alike, because an artist’s output is limited.

After so many experiences in life, I probably could say that I can make money in any field, because all businesses are ultimately the same, i.e., an intellectual pursuit of quality, sufficient to beat the competitors in cost-effectiveness ratio (mind you, not cost alone). However, general business is always a number game, unlike the pursuit of law with real cases, or art driven by individual creativity. Looking back, out of all of my endeavors, I have always enjoyed that element not related to the numbers. (Here, “intellectual” is used in its original meaning, not how the elite use the word.)

John Ruskin said, “Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts—the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others; but of the three, the only quite trustworthy one is the last.” For a long time, I have been beefing up my basic drawing and painting skills, as well as that of working with wood and other objects. Sooner or later, if I ever want to give my art a chance, I have to devote some time to it to push it into the creative realm.

For the limited spare time that I have, it is not possible for me to write and do art at the same time. If I shut down public writing, which has few readers, I can devote enough attention to my artistic undertaking. There is another reason for working on something like writing or art. Alan Greenspan uses calculus exercises to keep his mind sharp, but I have done so much math in my life that those calculus exercise problems are stale for me. In the words of a lawyer friend, I have spent too many years working on equations that go from one end of the wall to the other, I need something different. For old age, art is less toiling yet more mind-stimulating, compared to either math or writing.

Even if nothing comes to it, being an outcast artist is infinitely more attractive to me than being a grumpy old outcast writer. At least, there is poetry attached to an outcast artist. Additionally, many outcast artists had their works recognized later, but few writers managed to do so.

To my handful of faithful readers, please pay attention to the future collection opportunities of my art.

Let others think about politics and economy. I am going to work on the timeless.

By Pujie Zheng

Pujie Zheng is an attorney in Los Angeles.

First published on October 14, 2017

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pre-game Warm-up of the 19th Party Congress

To China watchers, the development leading to the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress, a once every five year affair, which is set to begin on October 18, has been nothing but amazing.

Before Guo Wengui (a.k.a. Miles Kwok) started his exposé early this year from his $67 million apartment in New York, CCP was already facing unprecedented challenges. For instance, the real-estate boom, which supported the local government spending for a couple of decades and kept inflation low, has reached its limit, as it is no longer possible for a graduate of Tsinghua University, the best engineering university in China, to buy an apartment in Beijing with his salary.

With CCP’s ever expanding demand of money, whether for its military expansion or its effort to “maintain stability,” which is already exceeding the defense spending (the massive great firewall of China does come cheap), CCP needs a way to have the Chinese people hand back the money they earn. For a generation, real-estate has been the answer. Subsequently, the generation is known as the colony of ants. To feed the investing appetite, the total constructed residential areas has reached more than 40 square meters per capita, or 430 square feet per person. Early this year, in order to prevent price crash, CCP started to restrict real-estate transactions. Thus, many of those who have invested in real-estate are no longer able to cash out.

For a generation, Chinese manufactures, making all those made-in-China products, which earned the foreign currency for the Chinese government, were supported by the peasants, to whom a few dollars a day represent an enormous opportunity, even when many industries paid salaries annually. In other words, if the companies failed at the end of the year, all bets were off. Now, with the first generation aging, the new generation are more picky, reducing the profit margin for manufacturers. To hold everything up, they are allowed to pollute air, water, and soil. Since many trucks do not have even the most rudimentary exhaust system, the worst air in Beijing is in the early mornings. In order to hold up the value of RMB, the Chinese government has aggressively limited the Chinese people from exchanging their RMB into foreign currencies.

Since the start of the economic reform, the deal with the party officials had been that as long as they got the GDP increase, a certain level of corruption was tolerated, partially as a reward for the hard work of the rank and file. When Xi Jinping took over, due to his pretence of being a nice boy throughout his career, few officials were personally devoted to him. For CCP, the structure did not permit massive official replacement. Since almost all officials were corrupt, Xi put Wang Qishan in the position of CCP’s disciplinary chief to massively purge officials. The problem is that terror has not attain loyalty for Xi. After five year, the scale and speed of purging are picking up, not slowing down as expected, indicating the approaching of crisis state. Now, Xi has made CCP official a high risk occupation.

Xi Jinping moved everybody’s cheese. As Wang Qishan himself and his deputies touring the country purging again and again, the entire official system is mutilated. One of the unintended outcome is that talented young people no longer want to take the official path, making it even harder for CCP to get things done.

It is at this time, when Xi Jinping did not need any trouble, that Wang Qishan and his lieutenants offended one Guo Wengui, who, for the first time in the CCP history, was gutsy enough to openly take a stand against CCP.

When Voice of America announced that it would broadcast a three-hour interview of Guo, CCP made the extraordinary move as it put Guo on the Interpol’s Red Notice at the night before the interview; officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned VOA’s Beijing correspondent to threaten him of canceling his visa if the interview went ahead; the officials from the Chinese Embassy in Washington called VOA management directly to protest; and rumors has it, Beijing ordered its agents and infiltrations in the U.S. to stop Guo “at all cost,” resulting in massive exposure of its infiltration. The swift multi-agency move could only be ordered by Xi himself.

As Guo focused on Wang Qishan by exposing more and more corrupt details of Wang and his lieutenants, the China’s elite was shaken, although CCP’s internet control appeared to be effective enough that the low level people was not aware of his exposé according to my unscientific polling of Beijing taxi drivers in August.

Now, Xi Jinping has a problem. Most officials outside the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and his most intimate circle have lived in fear for five years. Now, they know that Wang Qishan and the disciplinary/law enforcement apparatus are the most corrupt. If Xi Jinping want to have any legitimacy, he needs to address the issue. At minimum, he needs to investigate Guo’s allegations. Nothing happened.

For a while, Wang disappeared, as the media rumored that the summer Beidahe recess, which actually decide all matters for the Party Congress, decided to handle the matter by letting Wang Qishan retire. Since Guo repeatedly declared his loyalty to Xi, that appeared to be a sensitive move.

However, lately, things appeared to have changed, as Wang conspicuously met with Steve Bannon who was in China supposedly passing a Trump message to the Chinese officials. When he met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon, Wang made it clear that he met Lee with the permission from his superior (none other than Xi). At present, the message appears to be that Wang would not retire.

After his first five-year term, Xi has worked himself into several problems. According to the CCP tradition since Deng Xiaoping, those 68 or older would retire and 67 or younger be promoted at the top level. Wang is 69 already.

If Xi let Wang stay, Wang would remain his biggest problem as the move will remove all pretense  of CCP legitimacy. However tight the internet control, the salient, at times pornographic, exposé of Wang Qishan and his lieutenant by Guo Wengui will spread to all corners of China. If Xi force Wang to retire, his entire disciplinary and legal apparatus would be under attack by everyone in the country, not something he wants or needs.

Also according to the rule, the top leaders are appointed by alternate leaders, as Deng Xiaoping appointed Hu Jintao, and Jiang Zemin appointed Xi Jinping. According to that tradition, Hu Jintao put Hu Chunhua and Sun Zhengcai in place to take over after Xi Jinping. In July, Xi Jinping purged Sun by having the decision made by the politburo as he could not wait for the plenary session to purge that politburo member. Sun was sent from the CCP disciplinary apparatus to the government’s legal apparatus at record speed. Seeing the purging of Sun and many others who were already “elected” delegates of the Congress, Hu Chunhua was rumored to have made it clear to Xi that he did not wish to be promoted.

With Xi’ rule by terror for the past five years, and his continuous incapability to get his repeated reform promises going, system-wide frustration has turned into system-wide resentment, although no official would admit that publicly. To make sure the situation gets worse, Xi has just started another round of purging, from military commanders to university professors who dared to speak outside the lines (of things that are neither related to the Party Congress nor directly against Xi).

When I visited China in August, the internet blackout was complete. With all VPNs shut down, the U.S. companies are having trouble communicating with their Chinese subsidiaries, while Xi Jinping staring at the fatal date moving toward him. To have Wang, or not to have Wang; that is the question, first and foremost. Either way, the true mess would only start after the Congress. For now, Xi does get to choose which way he wants to go down. That makes this Congress one of the most interesting.

By Pujie Zheng

Pujie Zheng is an attorney in Los Angeles.

First published on October 7, 2017

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For past articles:
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For law firm business (business, patent, trademark, and business-based immigration), please write to or call 626-279-7200.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Why Trump’s North Korea Approach Is Doomed

When I was in Seoul last month, I was impressed by the Korean people’s way of thinking. With almost all their key industries located at Seoul, a small stretch of space between Hangang River and Bukhansan Mountains, and only a couple of hours of drive from North Korea’s nuclear bombs and missiles, the key debate in the country was not whether the Koreans should use their vast wealth to defend themselves, but whether they should allow the U.S. taxpayers to pay for their defense. As a result of the debate, Moon Jae-in who promised to halt the installation of THAAD, the American missile defense system, was elected president. Somehow the Koreans are thinking that their best strategy to handle their security is to balance America and the North, while spending their energy on debating whether they should solve the teacher excess problem by installing two teachers in each classroom.

Trump, with whatever help he is getting these days, is having a similar problem. When he met with Xi Jinping at Mar-a-lago in April, Xi obviously promised him the world, decorated by the old adages and excuses. Trump, nicely surprised, called Xi “a very good man”, “highly respected” and a “gentleman.” He showed his ignorance of China by stating that “I believe lots of very potentially bad problems will be going away,” after he made “tremendous progress” with Xi, recognizing that Xi has “tremendous power” over North Korea.

Then, to the surprise of nobody except Trump, nothing happened. North Korea, the hermit state, somehow miraculously kept cranking out high tech weapons one after another like sausages, claiming that they were all the products of its own R&D. Its geologists, probably trained in China, have just demonstrated their capabilities by selecting the south side of Mantapsan Mountain as their nuclear test site, triggering a magnitude 6.3 earthquake and then a 4.3 probably due to the cave-in. The unavoidable leak was immediately a Chinese state secret, as the site was less than 50 miles away from China. I am not sure whether Trump believes in the North Korean propaganda.

Trump was duly frustrated as he tweeted, “Our foolish past leaders have allowed [the North Koreans] to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet...they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” It appeared that he forgot his happy talks with Xi.

Just like Koreans trying to balance Trump with Kim Jong Un, Trump appears to be trying to balance Kim with Xi. Before he understands the problems with this strategy, he needs to understand Xi and China better.

First, in a dictatorship or authoritarian state, one can easily find out the confidence level of the regime by examining its tolerance of speech. In China, as the government arranged the development its own version of Facebook, Twitter, and Google, for the purpose of control, we can find out Xi’s confidence by examining the Chinese social media.

Now, China has completely blocked the outside social networks, media websites, and all overseas Chinese language websites. Once entering China, one would immediately feel being cut off from the world of information. Within the great firewall of China, the authority has established a system-wide sensitive word filtering system, with which the authority could block the transmission of anything including the sensitive words. For instance, when there were news reports about the corruption of Xi’s brother-in-law, communications carrying the phrase “brother-in-law” were blocked.

Since a couple of years ago, Xi has been detaining civil rights lawyers who dared to represent those whose interests were damaged by the government, especially those resisting the government’s orders to move out of their homes for new construction projects. (In today’s China, massive demolitions mean massive GDP growth which means promotions for the officials and income for the local governments.)

Abroad, through years of meticulous screening of the U.S. scholars (by selectively granting visa to allow only those supportive scholars into China), the overwhelming opinions of the China experts in academia are pro-Xi. To many of them, China’s strong government control has made it possible for its rapidly 40-year growth and offers a model for the U.S.

In the past, the Chinese brainwashing is concentrated on its K-12, while a wide degree of free exchange of ideas was allowed in colleges, especially elite colleges such as Tsinghua University that I attended. Under Xi, the authority has moved in to enforce the strict Marxist/Leninist lines in colleges including Tsinghua.

To be effective on October 8, the Chinese government is implementing the Internet Group Information Service Management Regulations, requiring the internet service providers and users to “adhere to the correct propaganda orientation,” “carry forward the socialist core values,” “cultivate an active and healthy network culture,” and “maintain a good network ecology,” besides requiring the service providers to keep the real identities of the participants, so the police could take quick action against those who dare to step out of the bound, and limit the size of groups. One of the WeChat groups that I belong had trouble to exceed 100 members.

Don’t know what those restrictions mean? Don’t worry. The Regulations were quickly interpreted into the so-called “nine nos”: (1) do not post political sensitive topics, (2) do not believe or spread rumors, (3) do not post internal information, (4) do not post pornographic, drug-related, and violence-related topics, (5) do not post any news about Hong Kong and Macaw that has not been issued by official websites, (6) do not post anything military, (7) do not post anything related to state-secret document, (8) do not post videos showing conflicts involving municipal police or related to demolition, and (9) do not post anything violating relevant laws and regulations. With the police arresting social media discussion group leaders for the member’s posts, the regulation was quickly interpreted into an even simpler rule: do not post anything that you haven’t seen from a Xinhua News Agency release or on The People’s Daily.

Recently, I talked to a fervent CCP supporter in China. When he said that it was only natural for CCP to filter the information flowing to the Chinese people, I asked a simple question: “What gives CCP the rights to limit the information flow to the people that it is the servant of (the CCP rhetoric)?” He could not fashion an answer. In other words, each limitation chips away CCP’s legitimacy.

Last, but not the least, when the Chinese Ministry of State Security agent and real-estate tycoon Guo Wengui (a.k.a. Miles Kwok) started to expose CCP practices by taking an interview by the Voice of America, China made the extraordinary move to put Guo on the Interpol’s Red Notice at the night before the interview, while officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned VOA’s Beijing correspondent to threaten him of canceling his visa if the interview went ahead; the officials from the Chinese Embassy in Washington called VOA management directly to protest; and rumors has it, Beijing ordered its agents and infiltrations in the U.S. to stop Guo “at all cost,” resulting in massive exposure of its infiltration. The swift multi-agency move could only be ordered by Xi.

To present the current situation bluntly, as the CCP control of information hasn’t been this tight since the death of Mao in 1976, its hold onto power is the weakest since. Its expansionist policies toward Japan and the South China sea, as well as its nonstop patriotic propaganda to the Chinese people, are simply ways to get their attention off of domestic issues.

At this critical moment, the last thing that Xi wants is Trump putting pressure on him for things such as human rights violations or free speech. To get Trump off of his back, Kim Jong Un comes to rescue. Now, as the Chinese government has successfully forced Trump into realpolitik policies, i.e., ignoring all human rights violations in China to focus on North Korea only, does Trump really think that China would actually solve the North Korea problem?

The fundamental problem of Trump is his lack of brainpower. Once upon the time, Nixon, under Kissinger’s advice, took advantage of the Chinese post cultural revolution weakness and turned the tide of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. This time, the situation is different, requiring a different approach. Trump needs someone to figure this out for him.

Without a firm grasp of what is going on, since inauguration, all we have seen is Trump (and Tillerson) continuously dance to the tune of the Kim waltz, crazy-crazy-relax, crazy-crazy-relax, a truly ugly valse.

By Pujie Zheng

Pujie Zheng is an attorney in Los Angeles.

First published on September 30, 2017

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Guo Wengui’s Path to Asylum and His Lawyer’s 100% Confidence

Guo Wengui (a.k.a. Miles Kwok) recently petitioned the U.S. government for asylum protection. According to an interview by Mingjing, a Chinese language media located in New York, Guo’s lawyer Thomas Ragland said (translating from the Chinese report), “we have 100% confidence that he will certainly get asylum protection from the U.S. government.” That comment, apparently not objected by Ragland, caught my attention and deserves some discussion.

I am sure that Ragland would argue that his comment does not constitute such a promise or guarantee of outcome of the case, but readers can draw their own conclusion on “”he will certainly get” language. Other than that problem (lawyer promising or guaranteeing the outcome of a case, any case), I am not sure whether Ragland has listened to Guo’s voluminous exposé of CCP (as well as himself) that is readily available over the internet. In addition, I am not sure whether Ragland was the lawyer who filed Guo’s L-1 petition, and his confidence of the L-1 case before the petition was denied by USCIS.

First, let’s get a closer look at Ragland’s client, who was clearly a beneficiary, not a victim, of the CCP. Receiving only elementary school education, he became, according to the Hurun Report, the 74th richest Chinese in 2014, with a net worth of $2.6 billion. By his own statement, his wealth now comprises RMB ¥120 billion (about US$20 billion) in China and $28 billion overseas. The wealth of $50 billion is at par with Google’s Larry Page, and much more than Alibaba’s Ma Yun (a.k.a. Jack Ma). Larry Page has Google to show for his wealth, and Ma Yun has Alibaba. What does the uneducated Guo has to show for his wealth?

Guo said that he worked as an agent for the Chinese Ministry of State Security (equivalent to the Soviet KGB) and have received MSS Medal of First Class three times. Although he did not elaborate how he got the medals, he did cite several of his services to the Chinese government. For instance, when there were rumors that the Dalai Lama had heart problems, he visited the Dalai Lama at the behest of Beijing to size up his health, helping Beijing decide the next move against the Dalai Lama.

According to Guo, he received order from Xi Jinping to investigate Wang Qishan (CCP’s discipline chief who are widely considered to be the second most powerful person in China, after Xi) through Fu Zhenghua (the deputy chief of China’s police).

Then, CCP’s proletariat dictatorship machine started persecuting him and his companies, he started his exposé, in which he declared that CCP was a “big dung pit” where “only maggot could survive.” To illustrate his point, he started to expose Fu Zhenghua, who led the team to persecute him, while continuously talking to his Beijing handlers (whom he called his old leader). Once, during an interview with New York Times’ Mike Forsythe, Guo answered a telephone call that his assistant told Forsythe was a call from Xi’s office.

When Beijing obviously decided against doing anything against Fu, reportedly by Xi’s direct order, Guo decided to up the ante and started to expose Wang Qishan, that Wang’s wife was a U.S. citizen; Wang bought houses in the U.S. (both (against CCP’s disciplinary rules); and Wang’s relation with HNA, which owned, other than Hainan Airlines and many other assets, 10% of Deutsche Bank and 25% of Hilton. All of a sudden, everyone was curious about the ownership of HNA, which was originally formed only in 1993. HNA, under pressure, stated that it was owned by a New York based charitable foundation, which does not have the so-called 501(c)(3) status!

To juice up his exposé, Guo pointed out that one of HNA’s planes, numbered 5273, which sounds similar to “I lover Qishan” in Chinese, was Wang’s private toy. After HNA argued that it was a charter plane, Guo countered with the flight record to prove that it had only been used by Wang’s family and associates. Guo also exposed Wang’s illegitimate children living outside China (sending illegitimate children or/and mistresses to live outside China was one of the hot issue that Wang used to purge CCP officials, now hundreds of thousands and counting).

Perhaps as a compromise, Guo announced that he was not against the nation (i.e., the Chinese government) and Xi Jinping, and changed his tone. The “big dung pit” was gone and replaced by “most of the CCP officials are good people.” His scope of the exposé was limited to Wang Qishan, Meng Jianzhu (the chief of China’s legal apparatus), and Fu Zhenghua.

To make sure that CCP was clear about his loyalty, in a letter dated August 26, 2017, to “Dear Leader [in CCP],” which was widely dissimulated over the internet, Guo requested his “Dear Leader” to “withdraw the Interpol Red Notice against him and stop overseas [the U.S.] lawsuit [against him].” He said that after the withdrawal, he would move to Britain, possibly referring to his expiring B-1/B-2 visa in the U.S.

He said in the letter that he “remains trusting the organization [CCP’s internal language referring to itself] and you [the Dear Leader] that [he] has never crossed the red line,” which probably means he had never exposed anything about Xi and had never openly criticized CCP (or the Chinese government) as an organization, ignoring the “big dung pit” comment, obviously.

He said that he was already “doing [his] best to protect the interests and image of the country [i.e., the Chinese government].” He said that he could have Tony Blair of Britain, among others, to vouch for him. (Other than throwing big names, I don’t know what that was for.)

He suggested to use his influence (his several hundred thousand Twitter and YouTube subscribers) to serve Xi Jinping's “Chinese dream” and “propagandize Chairman Xi's anti-corruption accomplishments.”

He asked the Chinese government to give him clear objective so he could “render meritorious service to redeem his mistakes [presumably the wrong he did to CCP by exposing Wang et al], and use the result of that work to express his support of Xi and patriotism.”

It was this time that CCP went on offensive by refusing to Guo’s requests and have Ma Rui, a former assistant of Guo, file civil complaint against Guo in Manhattan Supreme Court for sexual harassment, among other things. Ma said in the complaint that he escaped Guo’s home in London to the Chinese embassy and then returned to China. According to The Associated Press, “Guo’s staff confiscated her smartphone, computer, passport and keys and forbade her from leaving her room in his luxury apartment in the high-end London neighborhood of Belgravia. To prove her case, the woman surreptitiously met a lawyer friend in London earlier this year to give a written statement about her ordeal and kept her underwear, pregnancy tests and abortion pills as evidence, according to police documents.”

Facing his expiring visa, Ragland filed for asylum protection, under which “any person who is within the country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, within the country in which such person is habitually residing, and who is persecuted or who has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Of course, his membership as a decorated MSS agent would not do. The only thing Guo could hang his case on is “political opinion.” However, his political opinion has consistently been in line with Xi Jinping. In addition, he has stated repeatedly that Xi Jinping is the “holy leader that only appear once every thousand years.” (In other words, the last time China saw such a holy leader was in the Song Dynasty.)

In addition, in regards to “within the country of such person’s nationality,” Guo stated many times that he was not a citizen of China. According to him, he had 11 passports of various nations and hadn’t used Chinese passports for 28 years.

As a policy, reflected in the laws and regulations, the asylum/refugee applicants are not allowed to cherry-pick the country where they want to stay. For Guo, since he stayed in Britain for a long time before coming to America, he should at least apply in Britain.

Of course, there is the one-year bar, i.e., Guo needs to apply for asylum within one year of arrival. His lawyer probably would argue changed circumstances. However, it remains to be seen whether the USCIS officer or immigration judge, who is an employee of the Justice Department, would agree with him that Ma’s filing of the lawsuit against him constitute such.

Incidentally, Ma’s alleged sexual assault brings up another issue, i.e., criminals are barred from applying for asylum. Since the alleged assault took place in Britain, Britain is a better place to discharge Guo’s asylum/refugee application.

In addition, Guo has said that he did not care whether he get the asylum. He said that the years of delay of his deportation would serve his purposes. He openly touted the advantages of political asylum to his hundreds of thousands of viewers that during the three to twelve years of the proceeding, the U.S. Administration is powerless in deporting him. He did not seem to realize that asylum/refugee is a privilege, not a right. The U.S. government does not have to prove its case against Guo. The burden is on Guo to prove his qualifications. His proposal for his hundreds of thousands of fans to use (or misuse) asylum as a deportation delaying device may not win any favors from the U.S. government. In fact, if the administration so desires, it could expedite his case.

Not to whittle down Ragland’s 100% confidence any further. There is this inconvenient law potentially against Guo known as the Global Magnitsky Act, which targets any foreign citizen “responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in any foreign country.” Spying on the Dalai Lama, and Guo’s three MSS First Class Medals, need to be examined carefully by the government before granting this MSS agent permanent residence status in the U.S. The duty is on Guo to tell the government how he got those medals.

The precedence is clear. When Wang Lijun entered the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu seeking asylum, the U.S. denied his request and returned him to the Chinese authority. Ragland may argue that Wang Lijun then died in prison, but since the U.S. is not returning Guo to China, but to Britain or one of these 11 countries that promised to protect Guo by issuing passports to him, Guo is not facing the fate of Wang Lijun.

In his interview with Mingjing, Ragland mentioned filing suit in the federal district court. Since Guo’s asylum case could not be brought to the federal district court for appeal, I presume that he wanted to file a habeas corpus action in district court. An habeas corpus action is normally used to get a person out of immigration detention. Since Guo is not detained, I am not sure what Ragland was talking about. Unfortunately, Mingjing did not clarify that with Ragland.

Presumably, Guo could also file a motion for the government to withhold his removal (the legal term for deportation). However, since there is no particular reason for Guo to stay in the U.S., that motion is likely to be denied.

Then, Guo may want to use the United Nations Convention against Torture to stay in the U.S. The problem is that he is not facing Chinese persecution, or torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Britain or any of the 11 other countries that he claims that he holds passports.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been quite clear and repeatedly stated that the exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty. The right to do so stems not alone from legislative power, but is inherent in the executive power to control the foreign affairs of the nation. Guo’s recourse beyond the administrative proceedings is limited.

The first step of Guo’s asylum case is an USCIS interview, where USCIS could grant the asylum outright. However, since Guo’s case is so complex, I would venture a guess that USCIS will refer his case to the immigration court for a closer look. When that happens, the government would have a chance to lay the case against him to an immigration judge.

In addition, technically, Guo does not make a good witness. Anyone curious about his personal character could simply go on to the internet to listen to the recordings of him threatening his business associates. He was vicious. He was nasty. He does not sound like a victim.

Ragland probably should have learned more about his client before giving his 100% confidence opinion to the world.

By Pujie Zheng

Pujie Zheng is an attorney in Los Angeles.

First published on September 23, 2017

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