China Business

"Shanghaied" in China

China Lawyers

A while back I imposed what is looking to be a stupid rule. The rule is that if I receive five emails on a topic, I will write on it. It seems whenever I get five emails on a topic on which I have not written, it is because I have concluded it is NOT a good topic on which to write. That is the case here, but with that rousing introduction, here goes.

Der Spiegel did a story the other day, entitled, Shanghaied: The Flip Side of China’s Economic Miracle, and I have now received five emails on it, essentially saying, “you should write about this.” The article is on someone who bought product from China, never got the product for which he paid, and then did not get any help from the local police when he reported the people for having stolen his money.

But I really do not want to write about this story, and here are my reasons why:

1.  Yeah, so? This sort of thing goes on all the time. In China and just about everywhere else in the world?

2.  The trick to avoid this happening to you is to be careful. Do your due diligence and have a great contract and do these things before you send money. The problem is that these things sometimes do not work when dealing with a seasoned professional crook, which seems to have been the case here.

3.  My experience has always been that if the police can call something a civil matter and thus avoid having to do anything about it, they will. This tends to be true around the world.

4.  Most importantly, when I write a post like this, I like to point out what the “victim” did wrong and how you can avoid the same fate by doing things correctly. The problem with this article is it appears the victim did nothing wrong.

So there you have it.

4 responses to “"Shanghaied" in China”

  1. Dan I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. But I can let you know that the term “Shanghaied” means “kidnapped”. So whether you or Der Speigel got the essense of the meaning wrong I’m not sure, but it makes the article nonsensical.

  2. The article in Der Spiegel leads the reader to believe that customs officials were complicit, probably actively, in a gross fraud, and police shielded the criminals; and then it documents how the victim’s subsequent search for redress ran into a brick wall. This is in Shanghai, not some hick town with a few dodgy cops. I cannot judge the article’s veracity, but am surprised by Mr. Harris’s blasé reaction to its claims.
    Mr. Connelly, you are right about the origin and primary meaning of the verb shanghai, but it has an extended meaning: “to induce or compel (someone) to do something, especially by fraud or force: We were shanghaied into buying worthless securities.” (American Heritage Dictionary)

  3. “To be Shanghaied” also means to induce or compel (someone) to do something, especially by fraud or force. In this case I guess it refers to the fact that the author did not wish to write this article…

  4. @Dan Connelly, @Gray Hat, @Jonathan Axup,
    I used the word “Shanghaied” only because that was part of the title of the Der Spiegel story. Not MY word.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *