You Like Us. You Really Like Us.

Way back in February, 2006, when China Law Blog was all of one month old, the Wall Street Journal wrote about and linked to one of our blog posts. Our readership shot up from around 50 to 5,000 and we thought that was just about the coolest thing ever. It meant we had made it. We were so thrilled we wrote a blog post to celebrate, entitled, The Wall Street Journal — They Like Us. They Really Like Us:

In the “we are not above shameless self-promotion category,” we cannot resist pointing out that the Wall Street Journal cited us today on our recent story on the Chinese company that sued a U.S. company for patent infringement. To make sure everyone gets the good parts, I am quoting liberally from the article, “Chinese Company Sues U.S. Firm For Patent Infringement:

From the turnabout-is-fair-play-department: a Chinese company has sued a U.S. company in the United States for patent infringement. China-based Netac Technology Co., a flash memory-chip manufacturer, filed a lawsuit against New Jersey-based PNY Technologies in U.S. District Court in Texas on Feb. 10.

On the China Law BlogSeattle lawyer Dan Harris sees the lawsuit “as further evidence of increasing maturation of Chinese companies regarding the importance of both innovation and intellectual property protection.”

Thank you Wall Street Journal.

Six years later, we yet again felt compelled to devote a post to our being called out. In that post, They Like China Law Blog. They Really Like Us, we again waxed poetic about being appreciated:

Back when China Law Blog was a young pup, the Wall Street Journal Blog referenced one of our posts and we went all Sally Fields about that. We ran a post, entitled, The Wall Street Journal — They Like Us. They Really Like Us, the sole purpose of which (near as I can tell nearly six years later) was to let everyone know that the Wall Street Journal had noticed us. We are, of course, far too cool/wise/jaded/experienced/old to act that way now.

Or so I thought until I read a post on theContractsGuy Blog, entitled, The Reading List: China Law Blog.

The author of that post, St. Louis business lawyer, Brian Rogers, so totally understands this blog that his post felt like confirmation of what we are seeking to achieve here. In addition to that (or better yet, because of that), Rogers’ post does a phenomenal job listing out what are probably our best (or at least most practical/helpful) posts for 2011.

I am not going to list all the posts Rogers lists because i want to make sure you read his entire post, but I am going to state how delighted I was to learn that his favorite post “by far” was China Manufacturing Agreements. Watching The Sausage Get Made, which he describes as follows:

The post consists simply of a pair of sanitized client emails. One explains the typical contents of a Chinese  manufacturing agreement, along with a discussion of important issues to consider. The other email accompanied the initial draft of a manufacturing contract. They’re pieces of commercial transaction art, clearly explaining the significant issues the client should consider and providing salient commercial and legal advice.

I too loved that post because it consisted pretty much entirely of emails co-blogger Steve Dickinson had sent to a client and all I had to do was remove any client identifiers and then post it. In other words, the post was the essence of what we as China lawyers do pretty much every day. Then to have a fellow lawyer appreciate that is — to me — one of the highest compliments we could ever get.

Whenever someone thanks me for highlighting on our blog something they have written elsewhere, I demur by saying that I should be thanking them instead. I say this because we mention and link to other writings not as a favor to their authors, but because we think the writings are interesting and worth reading and we want to bring them to the attention of our readers. So for this reason, I am not going to thank theContractsGuy for highlighting our blog on his blog.

Instead I am going to thank him for making my day. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Seeing as how we seem to do this every six or so years, I am again going to go all Sally Fields and talk about how honored and pleased and thrilled we are to have been called out as a LexBlog Excellence Award Winner.

Lexblog is the hosting site/mentor/blog designer of just about every law blog that matters. Pretty much every AmLaw 200 law firm with a blog has their blog on LexBlog, and with good reason.

The LexBlog Excellence Awards is something LexBlog did for the first time in 2019. It is a competition for the best blog post in various categories. Unlike so many blog awards, this one is not a popularity contest. It is a true competition, judged by six impressive and disinterested legal experts.

Of all the legal blog posts in the world and of all the blog posts on this blog, the China Law Blog post LexBlog called out for recognition is my favorite post: The US-China Cold War Starts Now: What You Must do to Prepare. This post was chosen Best News or Trend Analysis, 1st runner-up.

This post took what was at the time a very controversial stand. It said that no matter what deals might be reached between China and the United States, relations between the West and China will never return to what they were and we should expect US-China relations to worsen over the next many years. When this post came out in May 2019, most still believed the U.S.-China trade war was the only big issue between the United States and China and most also believed that  issue would quickly be resolved and things would get back to normal. Not us, and we got a ton of heat for this.

This winning post was one of the longest posts I’ve written and that is because it in part an amalgamation of previous posts and because I had been working on it in my head for months. I very much wanted to explain our position, no matter how many words that might take. Though written in May, this post remains so current that it reads as though I wrote it this morning. I consider this post the most important post I’ve ever written and so I implore you to please, please, please go read it. Please also feel free to comment, whether you agree or disagree, even vehemently.

This post started by reciting how for so long our blog was in the minority for deeming the U.S.-China conflict to be the new normal and calling for companies that manufacture in China to move their manufacturing outside China, if possible. Just about daily we would get emails from “China experts” whose livelihoods fully depended on China accusing us of making things out to be worse than they were so as to push foreign companies out of China and thereby line our own pockets. Do not ask me how a law firm so well known for its China practice would financially benefit from companies moving out of China, because I have no answer for that one. Let’s just say these emails and articles were infused with anger, not logic. At least one email accused me of working for the CIA and — even worse for a lifelong Democrat — many called me a “Trump-lover.”

This cold war post was meant to let everyone know that we would not shut up, that we would continue to call things as we saw them  and let the chips fall where they may, whether it hurt our China business or theirs. The post led with the following:

Since the very beginning of U.S.-China trade negotiations we have been unequivocally negative on the likelihood of a deal, and we have taken huge amounts of heat for that, via hate e-mail, online, and even from our own clients, some of whom have accused us of being too cynical or too negative about China. Our response to all of this has been consistent. We just kept saying that NOW was (and it still is!) the time for foreign companies (especially those that sell their products to the United States) to work hard on reducing their China footprint.

We first publicly sounded this warning call back in October 2018, in China, the United States and the New Normal, though we had been warning our own clients about this for months. This “New Normal” post was an attempt to get in the face of those who had been sending our lawyers hate mail because we had in a September 2018 post predicted manufacturing orders from China were declining and would continue to decline:

I got a badly written and vituperative email yesterday in response to my post, On the Impact of China Tariffs: Is This a Dead Cat Bounce? In my post, I predicted a large decline in manufacturing orders from China, starting in the next few months. The email accused me of “hating China” and wanting “to impede its peaceful” rise and of being “jealous of its progress.” All this because we have been writing of late how so many of our law firm’s own clients and so many others are leaving China, or looking to leave China. We have been getting quite a lot of these sorts of emails lately.

In April of this year, the Wall Street Journal quoted me in a cover story, Trade Deal Alone Won’t Fix Strained U.S.-China Business Relations, saying the following:

“There is no way any deal between China and the U.S. will cause everyone on both sides to say, ‘We were just kidding,’” said Dan Harris, managing partner at Harris Bricken, a law firm that specializes in investment with China. “The tariffs and the arrests and the threats and the heightened risk have impacted companies and that will not go away.”

The hate mail has pretty much ceased and last week we got a batch of emails asking us to blog about the recently signed Phase One trade deal between China and the United States. We have held off on analyzing that deal because the mainstream media has mostly gotten it right. It is a near meaningless pause in the trade war between China and the United States, but the issues between China and the U.S. go well beyond trade. The Phase One trade deal will increase the short term money flow between the U.S. and China, but it will not solve the key long term issues between the United States and China OR between China and the EU. Hardly anybody expects this micro-deal will lead China to trade fairly. Virtually nobody expects this deal will reduce the threat of China IP theft or cause China to treat foreign companies remotely equal to Chinese domestic companies. It also will not reduce China’s brutality in Xinjiang or in Hong Kong. Heck, it probably won’t even lead China to buy anything close to what the agreement requires it buy. Most importantly, it will not make relations between the U.S. and China and between the EU and China better and those relations will if anything, only get worse. There, I said it.

So thank you LexBlog, and thank you judges. Your recognition of us and of our writings and of this one blog post mean the world to us. We appreciate being appreciated. We truly do.

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