Monthly Archives: August 2016

Protecting Integrity

Having lived and worked in China for almost a decade I can legitimately claim some expertise as to how corruption works. I never participated, mind you, and strictly forbade my staff from doing so, but the concept of paying to play or buying favors is hard not to be exposed to there.

And now, of course, the topic of corruption is in the news with the report that roughly half of the people outside of government who had a private audience with Hilary Clinton while she was Secretary of State had made significant donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Media battle lines were quickly drawn about where you’d expect them to be. The most common defense of the Clintons was that while the data might give an appearance of potential impropriety there was never any evidence to suggest that favors were actually granted. No harm, no foul, as they say in sports.

That’s roughly akin to noting that while the canary is no longer in his cage and the cat is sitting next to it with a smug look on his face, that doesn’t prove he actually ate the canary. It could be coincidence.

The fact is that it is almost impossible to EVER prove corruption. That’s just not how it works. No corrupt official or procurement agent ever asked for money or favors. That would be stupid. But they don’t have to. It’s understood. And there are always others who handle the nitty gritty details.

If you oversee a procurement team and you believe one of the buyers is accepting inappropriate gifts from a vendor you will never prove it. The vendor won’t walk through the front door with a bag of cash. And unless they’re clueless, the offending buyer isn’t going to start throwing money around like they have more than they should.

Even the most well-intentioned procedural checks and balances, such as the requirement that buyers solicit at least three competing quotes, will have no impact on a determined miscreant. Competing quotes are easy to get. The vendor in question can probably arrange them for you. He may even be able to keep it all in-house through the use of shell companies set up for the purpose. You’ll never know.

This is all common sense. And that’s what bothers me most about this whole debate about the Clinton Foundation providing access to the Secretary of State. The people offering this defense know they are defending an indefensible position. They are smart people. They’re just hoping the public will move on.

And it will, if history is any indicator.

But that’s where the real damage occurs. Because in order to move on we, the public, must compromise the very essence of public integrity. We have to accept that it either doesn’t matter or that the burden of proof really has not been met, even though, by definition, it never can be.

Integrity is the cornerstone of a progressive culture. Without it there can be no cultural progress, no compassion, nothing that is worthy of our respect and our allegiance.

But integrity is a fragile thing. Once it begins to erode, the erosion is difficult to stop. Anything can be rationalized if you’re willing to drink the koolaid.

As I have noted before, I support neither of the two major party candidates for president. I think we can do better. And, to be sure, Trump is not innocent on this issue. If my own daughters slung accusations around the way he does we would have a serious talk.

Neither candidate, however, if elected, could ever do as much damage to our country as the erosion of public, political, and media integrity. Eventually we will lose our collective souls and the flames of our collective destruction will soon follow.

And for what? Because we don’t like somebody? Because we think someone is entitled to something no one can be entitled to? Or worse yet, because we believe that we are supporting the best outcome for our own interests?

I obviously have no evidence that any favors were ever granted to anyone for their contributions. That would require knowledge of what might have happened if no favors were granted. And that is literally unknowable by definition.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we should stop talking about the importance of integrity at every level of society and politics. That would be a political favor that should be granted to no one running for such an important office.

We should demand more.

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Michael Phelps & Cupping Therapy

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is a man of firsts. Among them is his role in raising Western awareness of cupping therapy. The patch of bright red circles on his shoulder, the telltale sign that cupping therapy has been administered, were one of the great curiosities sparked by the Rio Olympics, causing many a Western reporter to scramble for an explanation.

Having undergone cupping therapy while living in China and being married to a trained cupping therapist, I read and listened to many of these explanations. And while I found none to be untruthful, none got it completely right.

There are many tools available for gua aha. The polished horn of a water buffalo is the most common. The open end, if you're wondering, is the working end of the horn.
There are many tools available for gua sha. The polished horn of a water buffalo is the most common. The open end, if you’re wondering, is the working end of the horn.

Cupping has been around for more than two thousand years and is intrinsically linked to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is a cousin of acupuncture, which is sometimes combined with cupping, and gua sha therapy, which involves scraping the back with an implement, usually the horn of water buffalo.

To fully understand cupping and its related therapies, you have to understand the Chinese concept of qi, or life force, and the fact that the Chinese worldview, including TCM, see reality as the balance, or lack thereof, between two opposing forces (yin and yang).

To understand qi you need to go no further than the Star Wars movie saga. Yoda was the master of good qi, while Darth Vader harnessed bad qi to pursue his villainous goals. Qi is the force.

According to the tenets of TCM, qi flows through the body along meridians, or internal highways. Pain and illness occur when the flow of good qi is interrupted, or, as my Chinese wife refers to it, there is a ‘traffic jam.’

The purpose of all three forms of therapy mentioned above is to clear up the traffic jam, thereby restoring the smooth flow of good qi and overcoming the pain and/or illness.

Most Western commentators described Michael Phelp’s use of cupping therapy as a cure for sore muscles. And that could be the case given that improved circulation and the removal of toxins are considered ancillary benefits of cupping therapy.

It’s use in Eastern cultures, however, is much broader than that.

Here is an explanation from the Natural Pages Therapy website, which bills itself as Australia’s #1 natural health site:

“Cupping can affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, causing the tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, clear colon blockages, activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries, activate the skin, clear stretch marks, and improve the appearance of varicose veins.”

The Chinese also use cupping, as well as gua sha, to cure the common cold and relieve asthma, as well as a host of other common ailments involving chest congestion and/or the immune system.

The point is that while it is effective in curing acute pain, the real benefit is bringing balance to the body, so even if you’re not about to swim the 100m butterfly, it’s considered a relaxing and helpful therapy. Who can’t use more balance in their life?

Cupping is not for everyone; pregnant women, and individuals with skin or blood disorders should not use it. And if you think you can just go on Amazon and buy a cupping set and begin cupping your friends and family, I would caution against that. To do it effectively requires some training since the meridians are best accessed through certain entry points on the body. These are the same entry points normally used by acupuncturists.

And how does it work? About the only thing anyone knows for sure is that cupping is all about creating a vacuum within the glass. Normally this occurs as a result of heating the air inside the cup, normally with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol, before it is placed on the body. As the air cools, a vacuum is created. (A law of physics. Ha, science.)

You can also buy modern cupping kits that create suction through the use of a pump. In China, however, I would guess that the use of heat is still the most common method and the only one I have personal experience with.

Contrary to popular belief, the bright red circle is not a result of ruptured blood vessels. They simply reflect blood that is being pulled to the surface, suggesting it was previously stagnant – a traffic jam, if you will. The spots themselves only last a few days. (Ruptured vessels, I suspect, would last much longer.)

And contrary to what you might think, it doesn’t hurt at all. It’s quite painless. That can’t be said for gua sha therapy, however. That has a bit more sting to it although I wouldn’t describe it as painful. Still, if the idea of scraping your back with the horn of a water buffalo doesn’t sound appealing, you should probably stick with cupping.

As a Westerner I have to admit that I am a little skeptical of claims that aren’t backed up by science. (Some say that cupping is backed up by science but it’s a leap of faith.) The Chinese, however, have made a believer out of me. I won’t hesitate to use any of these therapies.

Again, however, my only advice is that you leave the therapy in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing. Red circles, even if Michael Phelps has them, do not a cure make.

And if you do take the leap of faith and try the procedure, you still won’t be Michael Phelps. Trust me on that.

Contact: You may contact the author at



I lived in China for nine years as an immigrant. I was a fairly well off immigrant, for sure, but I was an immigrant nonetheless. I faced all of the hurdles that immigrants coming to the US face in reverse.

And I returned to the US with my Chinese wife, of course, in the middle of a surreal presidential election that has put immigration on the front page. And it hasn’t been a very pretty picture that has been painted.

As I watch the Rio Olympics, however, and the US domination of the medal count, I have to wonder how powerful we would be on the international sports stage if we had closed our borders to immigration for the last century or so. We have obviously attracted some of the top athletes from around the world to make their home within our borders.

And they, in turn, have helped to cement our reputation around the world as being a strong and powerful nation. People around the world expect us to be at the top of the leader board. If we were perennially fifth or sixth in international athletic competitions I dare say our image would suffer. And with that strong image comes all sorts of direct and indirect benefits. It feeds on itself and whether we know it or not, we all benefit.

The Washington Post recently ran an article profiling Chen Aiwu, 64, and her husband, Wang Dongsheng, 66, two very average Chinese retirees who recently completed a 19-day, 4,850-mile drive around the western United States. (Chinese women never take the husband’s family name in marriage. They retain the family name of their own father.)

Chen and Wang speak little English so their trials and tribulations began even before they landed, when they had to fill out a US Customs form that is only in English. I felt their pain. While speaking a foreign language is challenge enough, reading a foreign language is an even greater challenge. (When taking the exam for a Chinese driver’s license, I was allowed to take the test in English.)

My wife is learning first hand. We live just outside the Motor City so, of course, there is virtually no public transportation. I have yet to even see a taxi on the road. Yet the test required to obtain her learner’s permit is not offered in Chinese or spoken English, despite the fact that according to the 2010 census there were 3.8 million Chinese living in the US and I’m sure the number has doubled since then. You see Chinese people everywhere in Metropolitan Detroit.

And we should be glad they’re here. It is common knowledge that Asian Americans score much higher than their native counterparts on standardized tests used in the public education system. And at least one Asian American professor has attributed this to tough (spelled ‘better’, in her book) Asian parenting.

The reality is, however, that the Asians who are living in America have gone through a double selection process to get here. They aren’t representative of the Asian population as a whole. The children of American ex-patriates living in China would probably score quite high compared to the average Chinese as well. Asian parenting may or may not be superior, but it doesn’t explain the higher test scores.

Not all immigrants are highly educated, of course. My wife recently asked me if Americans were legally prohibited from holding jobs in the landscape and gardening industries, noting that none of the men laying sod or performing landscaping services in our new subdivision appeared to be Caucasian Americans.

That’s not to say that American men and women have not been hurt by immigration and global trade. In the case of the latter, they clearly have. But the real issue, I believe, is not immigration or even trade; it is the fact that large corporations are allowed to treat workers as disposable assets and there is no one (i.e. the government) there to pick these workers up once they are jettisoned in the name of corporate profits.

Overall, however, the experience of helping my Chinese wife immigrate to the US has renewed my faith and pride in America. There are some Americans who are prejudice against the Chinese, just as there are some Chinese who are prejudice against Americans. Overall, however, I have found that despite the confrontational rhetoric displayed in this year’s presidential election, the vast majority of Americans remain polite, cordial, and genuinely kind. (Chen and Wang marveled at this as well.) It is our most redeeming quality and, in my opinion, one of the primary reasons we remain a world leader on so many fronts.

Immigration into any foreign country is a daunting process. It is not for the meek. There are barriers at every turn, often invisible to those who grew up there. Those who succeed deserve our respect and our help, not our contempt.

Let’s hope we have the collective resolve not to let others talk us out of showing the human kindness that defines us as the global leader that we are.

Contact: You may reach the author at

NBC’s Coverage of the Rio Olympics: Manipulation?

I have always been a fan of the Olympics for all of the obvious reasons. For those two weeks I watch the coverage with great anticipation and relish.

And in 2008 I had the good fortune to be living in Beijing and had the chance to attend several events in person. It was a spectacular Games and, believe it or not, a great time to be living in Beijing. The air was clean and the traffic light due to strict driving restrictions imposed by the government.

The TV coverage, provided by state-owned CCTV, was equally outstanding. You could watch nearly every event in real time and there was little time wasted on background stories or commercials. Watching an event on television was almost as good as being there in person. It’s the way the television experience of such a special sporting celebration should be.

Fast forward to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. I’m not there in person this time and have been relegated to watching the Games, on television, at least, through the lens of American media titan NBC.

And I must say that I find myself feeling more cheated than invigorated. NBC has manipulated its viewers in openly shameless ways. The biggest events are not shown in real time, even though Rio is only one hour ahead of New York. Instead, NBC has aired the most popular events in tape delay, saving the very best until late into the night, forcing viewers to endure hours of coverage that they may not have any great interest in. And for people like me, at least, to stay up well past their normal bedtime. (Only to feel the resulting fatigue the next day.)

The executives at NBC obviously did a fair amount of polling and determined that women’s gymnastics is one of the most popular events. And, indeed, it was one of the ‘must see’ events for me, as my daughter is an ardent fan and participant in the sport.

But when the team finals took place NBC chose to whet our appetites with the broadcast of two of the four events only to cut to swimming for the next two hours. They then showed the final two events late in the evening, essentially forcing me to endure the entire evening of coverage. By the time the broadcast unveiled the final results almost eight hours had passed since the women had actually finished their routines.

They don’t do this because some focus group has told them this is how viewers want to experience the Olympics. They do this, I’m quite confident, because it is a strategy to maximize advertising revenue. By forcing the viewer to watch longer, they force the humble viewer to watch more advertisements, which, in turn, allows them to charge more to the advertisers.

Frankly, I feel more manipulated in a very personal way than I ever felt while living for nine years in China. This is not the free market at work. NBC has a monopoly on American television rights to the Olympics. I have no choices. And NBC has no one to tell it what to do. Not the viewers; not the government.

And the background stories. This is obviously a broadcasting strategy that has worked well in the past and it does provide some context for some of the athletes. But it is time that could be devoted to broadcasting some of the lesser-known events, which NBC has paid little attention to, and there is always the risk of a political agenda peeking over the context.

All of which has left me thinking. What is the difference between government manipulation and the manipulation of a largely unregulated corporation with monopolistic or oligarchic power? Both are institutions. Both are motivated by self-interest. The only difference is that one is obvious and transparent and the other hides behind the false façade of free market capitalism.

If truth be told, I personally prefer the former. At least a one-party government has a strong incentive to keep people happy. Otherwise they will be thrown out of power. The only real incentive for a monopolistic broadcasting network, on the other hand, is to keep the advertisers happy. It becomes a question of institutions guiding institutions and the poor viewer, who obviously funds the whole thing in the end, is stuck with the results.

Like many viewers this time around, I have switched to watching the Olympics on streaming video. I can watch every event in real time. And there is no major event that takes place at 11:00 pm at night.

The downside is that you have to have a pretty fast Internet connection, and when all of your neighbors are streaming at the same time, even the fastest connections may not be enough for uninterrupted streaming.

And for many of the events there is no commentary. I don’t miss the professional broadcasters mind you. I did find it amusing to hear some of them try to pronounce the names of some of the Chinese athletes. But I do miss the color commentary of the sport experts who know a lot more about the sport and the athletes involved than I do.

All of which explains a lot about the absurdity of this year’s presidential election in which voters are left with a choice of two equally unappealing candidates. The average citizen is cleverer than the Beltway insiders give them credit for. People are frustrated. They’re feeling manipulated.

And they are. But it’s not a one-party political system that’s doing the manipulation. It’s worse than that.

Photo: Copyright: dabiddy. Acquired through Getty Images.

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Lisa Comes to Mei Guo II

As regular readers know, my Chinese wife and I recently moved back to the US, to the state of Michigan. So one reader suggested that I turn my lens around and share some of her observations of her new home. It sounded like a fun idea.

Having never left China before she came here with some trepidation. All she knew of America came from American movies and Hollywood doesn’t generally paint a very flattering picture of life here. She expected nothing but drugs and violence.

In the end, however, she was pleasantly surprised by what she found here. The fresh air clearly tops her list of positives. And she has taken a liking to the food although the portions are colossal by Chinese standards.

She does wonder where all the people are since even in a congested area most people are in their cars and largely invisible. There isn’t a lot of hustle/bustle on the streets except in major cities like New York and Chicago.

She also laments the lack of public transportation since she has never driven a car. She can get a driver’s license here but they only provide the booklet and the test in English, and while her conversational English is pretty good, reading a foreign language is another matter. (As one friend noted, “You would think they would want foreigners to read the rules in their native tongue to make sure they really understand them.” Fair point.)

She does think that Americans are generally bored, which is her explanation for the number of churches here. And she still doesn’t understand why the clerks at national retail chains won’t haggle on the price or skip the sales tax if she’s willing to pay cash.

Ironically, however, her overall impression of America is that we have too many rules. The irony, of course, comes from the fact that she has lived in China all of her life, a country that most Americans assume is an authoritarian police state.

I do see her point. It took us almost nine months to get her green card and although it is the most official of official documents for an immigrant, most people who want to see ID here in the US want to see a driver’s license, not a green card. And they do enforce the traffic laws pretty strictly here. On the roads of China, anarchy reigns supreme, although the rules of the road are pretty much the same on paper.

And if you don’t think the government has done enough to combat the threat of terrorism here in the US, you should be an immigrant and try to open a bank account or obtain a state ID card. There is a very specific and exhaustive list of documents you must provide and there are no exceptions. (Part of that, of course, is the fact that everything is automated and despite all of the talk of empowering employees to improve customer service, the people on the front lines have been virtually stripped of any discretion whatsoever in the name of automation and risk management.)

If you need to prove your residence, for example, they will accept a utility bill that has your name on it but they won’t accept an actual deed to the property. Which is a bit disingenuous since if I was inclined to do bad things I might willingly add your name to my phone bill, but I probably won’t be willing to deed you half of my house.

One observation that I’ve been struck with is how little most Americans know about China. When we had dinner with a couple she hadn’t met before recently, the hostess began questioning her about the number of children she has. Of course she has one. (The hostess has four.) And when she explained the one child policy to her, the woman was aghast and exclaimed that she had never heard of such over-reaching government control. (That’s true and not. If they hadn’t done anything to control population growth they would be in a very different place today. Still, I think it’s time to re-think the policy, as they are. The cost of raising a child in China will probably have the same impact the policy does.)

We were reminded of this disconnect again last night while watching the Summer Olympics in Rio. Michael Phelps, the superstar of the pool, had obviously had cupping on his shoulder recently. This is a common practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine and virtually everyone in China undergoes it with some regularity. The explanation offered by the American commentators, however, was very over-simplified, at best, and quite literally inaccurate. Perhaps they were trying to keep it simple but they didn’t do much to help Americans understand the Chinese perspective on health and healing.

The one observation she has had that even I wasn’t expecting came recently in regard to the new subdivision where our townhome is located. The developers obviously put considerable effort into avoiding the visual repetition of a 1950’s suburb. The buildings, each housing 4-6 townhomes, are positioned so as to maximize privacy and to provide the sense of being in an old European village, with lots of turns and windy roads.

She claims, however, that it hurts her eyes. “It looks like a mess. Why don’t they just line the buildings up in neat rows so that it looks more professional?”

Go figure. There is obviously more to the row after row of apartment buildings you find in the newly developed areas of China than just cost or the lack of artistic sensitivity. They apparently like it that way.

She has, however, had no problems finding Chinese people to chat with in her native tongue. We even get a Chinese newspaper. And while I know a lot of Americans won’t agree with me, I think that’s a good thing for America. Whether we like it or not, we’re part of a much larger world now and we should learn as much as can about it.

Contact: You may reach the author at

Democrat, Republican, Communist?

I realize now that I made a mistake moving back to the US during the 2016 US presidential election. In so many ways I am reminded daily of just how broken our political system has become.

Let me state upfront that I support neither candidate, albeit for different reasons. Suffice it to say that I don’t believe either is the leader America needs today. In such a great nation I believe we can do better – much better.

What has struck me most about this election, however, is how little difference there is between how China chooses its leaders and how the US does. The US can no longer claim any kind of superiority – moral or ideological – for the political system now in place. It is not the legacy of the Founding Fathers by any stretch. (Or my own father, for that matter.)

The Chinese political system gets frequently criticized on several fronts:

  1. Non-Democratic
  2. Lack of Transparency
  3. Corruption
  4. Censorship of Media
  5. Concentration of Power

Now let’s look at presidential politics in the US through this same lens.

  1. If you define democracy as one man, one vote, the Electoral College alone disqualifies the current American system. Add in the arcane rules of the US primary system, including the power wielded by super-delegates responsible to no one, and it’s hard to argue that we have true democracy. Trump is right on this one: The system is rigged. Just ask the Bern’s supporters.
  2. Back-room politics has been around in the US for a long time. After thousands of internal DNC e-mails were recently released, however, it appears it has been taken to new heights. The DNC claimed impartiality when it clearly wasn’t. How is that not a lack of transparency?
  3. Corruption is all about buying influence. Why would Goldman Sachs pay a candidate $400,000 for two short speeches to an industry she has absolutely no experience in? (Besides, whatever knowledge she had the taxpayers already paid her for.) Campaign finance reform has clearly failed. Money is obviously critical to getting elected and the electorate, in the end, has no idea where it’s all coming from or what the motivation is. Big donors don’t have to stand for election.
  4. Whenever a Western media outlet covers a story in the Chinese media supportive of the current Chinese administration the Western media always starts with the derogatory observation that such and such news outlet is “state-owned”, “government-run”, or “a mouthpiece for the Communist Party.” The implication, of course, is that this makes the report biased and untrustworthy. Any objective analysis of the media coverage of this election, however, would make it clear that if the electorate were motivated solely by the media, Bozo the Clown could beat Donald Trump. The media ownership structure may be different but the result is the same. (I personally don’t think this bias has anything to do with ideology.)
  5. If nothing else, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders accomplished one thing. They have unveiled the longtime truth that politics is not about Democrats and Republicans. It’s all about the insiders and the outsiders – the incumbents (the establishment) and the change agents. What does it mean to be a member of a political party that got you elected if you turn around and support the other side when a disruptor threatens the status quo?

I have no idea who will win the 2016 presidential election. It all comes down to how tired the American people are of eating cake.

Whichever candidate wins, however, the US has lost any right to tout its political system as the best of the best or to claim any kind of moral or populist superiority over China or any other country.

The system is rigged; ‘corruption’ is rampant; power is concentrated in the hands of the few, many of whom never leave the back room and show their faces; and the average citizen is governed by nothing close to a representative government.

How else could we be limited to a choice between two candidates, neither of whom the majority of Americans really wants to vote for?

By the way, in the last poll I saw President Xi Jinping enjoyed a 95% approval rating, the highest among all of the countries surveyed, including the US and many European powers.

Contact: You may reach the author at


A Paper Cat?

In the days following the ruling of an international arbitration tribunal at The Hague that supported the Philippines in its ongoing spat with China over claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea, the US has been pushing its global allies to put pressure on Beijing to act in accordance with the ruling.

Beijing, for its part, never participated in the arbitration and denounced the decision, preferring to see the issue as a matter of sovereignty over which the tribunal has no authority. Such issues, it maintains, should be worked out by direct negotiation between the two parties.

Recently, however, Australia joined Japan and the US in publicly taking Beijing to task and it drew a very sharp rebuke in language deemed quite excessive by the standards of Western diplomacy. The Global Times, a state-owned media outlet known for its strong nationalist positions, ran an editorial over the weekend in which it suggested that Australia was “an ideal target for China to warn and strike.”

The editorial then went on to insult Australia, noting that it was once an English penal colony established “with the tears of the aboriginals.” It concluded by suggesting that the Aussie nation was more of a ‘paper cat’ than a ‘paper tiger’, noting that Australia’s power “means nothing compared to the security of China.”

One Australian diplomat suggested it was the rudest piece of diplomacy he had ever encountered.

But therein lies the problem. Western diplomats continue to evaluate Chinese behavior through a Western lens. As a result we both misinterpret the Chinese and are prone to see monsters in the shadows.

Through a Chinese lens I don’t believe the editorial was all that belligerent. Now, if the Chinese were to sink an Australian ship, that would be belligerent. I find that, however, to be highly unlikely.

In Western culture we put great stock in words. If you are a public figure and use the wrong one, you will find yourself in a pot of boiling indignation. We value honesty and integrity, so we naturally take the meaning and validity of words very seriously.

Chinese culture, however, emphasizes obligation and face and thus puts far more emphasis on behavior than mere words.

Not understanding this distinction, I have found many Westerners to be challenged when negotiating with the Chinese. They try to be nice and find the elusive win-win solution when the Chinese, for their part, are looking for a win-lose victory.

As a result, Westerners often confuse the Chinese they are negotiating with because they don’t make it crystal clear what their bottom line is. The Chinese may or may not accept that bottom line but they won’t stop trying to achieve their own bottom line until they know what yours is.

That, I believe, was the primary purpose of the editorial. Now we know.

The Chinese are pragmatists. Australia and China have two of the most integrated economies in the world and the Australian navy is not the US navy.

There are many Chinese who do believe that the tribunal’s ruling was a slap in the face of Chinese sovereignty and I’m sure President Xi Jinping is under some internal pressure to take a harder line in responding to it.

As I’ve noted before, I don’t believe the US is helping its pivot to Asia in publicly tweaking the nose of Beijing. They are just making things more difficult.

But President Xi is firmly in control and I wouldn’t hesitate to travel to Australia in the future.

We do, however, have to stop evaluating China through an American lens. They aren’t ‘just like us’ and we should be okay with that.

Contact: You may reach the author at understanding