China and Hong Kong

This is a sensitive time to be doing business with China because of the political situation in Hong Kong. At times like this you have to be very careful in your discussions with vendors to avoid talking about politics because most vendors in China are pro-Chinese government and probably not supportive of the protests in Hong Kong. I would add that whereas in the US we discuss politics openly, in China people are not in the habit of discussing politics, and the subject is slightly uncomfortable for them when you raise it ( the one exception is Japan bashing which is so commonplace in China as to seem part of the national character).

Yet over the years I have seen westerners who think nothing of trying to discuss human rights or politics with their Chinese vendors simply because they come from open societies where people discuss subjects of this nature, forgetting or simply just ignorant of the fact that they are in China, where discussions about democracy, human rights and politics in general are not things most people are used to or comfortable with. Their intent in raising these subjects with vendors sometimes is the result of sincere interest, yet more often it comes from a western tendency to lecture China. But one thing is certain and that is that vendors never react favorably although they may be polite enough.

So as interesting as the Hong Kong story may seem to you, it is best if you just ignore it. Or better yet go out of your way not to discuss it.

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