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Comment Re:VPN,VPN, VPN (Score 1) 218

VPN like Witopia should work well. I lived in Shanghai for a few years until this past March and that was the standard way to get things done. Main government hassle is that they occasionally block the specific server and you need to change IP addresses of the server you're connecting to. You also want to use a non-China DNS server (like

This approach is so widespread that I never heard about anyone getting a visit from the police. In general, they aren't big on hassling foreigners who are there legally because of all the foreign-directed-investment that comes related to those expats - makes for bad impressions.

Overstaying your visa is a big no-no though and they have started visiting expat bars and doing passport checks.

Witopia will send you a nastygram if you use file sharing services like bittorrent. Fortunately, that isn't blocked by the GFW.

You might want to check out shanghaiexpat.com. Plenty of advice there.

Comment Re:Yeah... Cheating... Sure... (Score 2, Informative) 232

It's really not just the labor. It's a combination of a lot of things where Chinese companies have an advantage.

* Low interest loans
* Direct Subsidies
* Limiting exports (and high export duties) of raw materials, giving an advantage to anyone (local or MNC) who locates a factory in China rather than elsewhere
* Lax IP law enforcement - enabling companies to keep their R&D budget low - copying is cheap
* Free land and infrastructure
* Minimal enforcement of environmental regulations
* Minimal enforcement of labor regulations (safety, etc..)

Now, the question really is: what is the policy response when you have a competitor who is doing this? Is WTO sanctions the right policy course? I wish I knew. But this is where the US legislators are failing their constituents. They really don't seem to be doing anything except complain at each other.

Comment Re:Nobel Peace Prize to the Science Editorial Boar (Score 1) 154

The TFA had a good suggestion. You don't use one or the other. You call it "under dispute".

Now, you also suggested there are 'two sides' do this. You might also say there are more than that. There might be 193 sides, one for each member of the UN. 192 of them feel one way and 1 feels the other. Doesn't seem so 50/50 any more does it?

Comment Re:The map is not the territory (Score 2) 422

China wages are unlikely to hit or cross North American wages that quickly for two reasons

1) Productivity & output of Chinese programmers are still lower than North American/European workers. Not from lack of intelligence. It's from lack of experience and maturity. They won't be able to demand North American/European wages until they are equal to North American/European workers. Otherwise, local (or multinational companies) will just hire people in cheaper places (India) or places with higher productivity (North American/Europe)
2) High wage increases are being driven from high demand (explosive growth in local startups, local companies, multinationals - think silicon valley in the .com bubble) and lack of supply (college graduation has peaked, not a lot of 10 year experienced workers to go around). But that high demand will slacken as the wage rates start to approach North American/European salaries (both naturally & due to #1).

Shanghai is already seeing an exodus of companies whose business model is predicated on low wage workers. They are starting to move out to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where the wages are cheaper, similar to the description in the linked article and linked to point #2 above.

Comment Can the updates be tampered with? (Score 1) 151

I expect the Firefox update process would use SSL to download the update. Since mozilla.org is one of the sites with a bogus key, can this attack be used to sabotage the browser update process (assuming you are doing the update from the country that sponsored the attack).

If so, how do you detect it?

Comment Re:Nationalism or capitalism. Pick one. (Score 1) 757

Really? Engineers and Scientists not well paid? Care to cite a salary survey that doesn't have engineers in the top 5 professions according to pay? Besides Lawyer, Doctor, and Wall Street financier, what is better paid than engineering? Teaching? Auto Mechanic? Factory worker?


When I got my first job out of engineering school, my salary was more than my mom made with 20 more years in the workforce. Potentially some of our bright folks are going to be in finance, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's why there's a gap in Engineers.

I didn't encourage either of my kids to be engineers when it's clear most of those jobs are being shipped overseas. This isn't a supply problem. It's a demand problem - fundamentally because as an engineer I make TOO MUCH and they can give my job to someone who is smart and lives in a country with a lower cost of living. Right now you can't do that with a doctor or someone who has to show up in a court room.

By the way, the finance jobs are going overseas too so don't get too envious.

Comment Re:Google needs to pull out. (Score 1) 432

In a sense, you can compare the China of today to the US in the 1920s. No real (enforced) labor laws. No real (enforced) environmental protection laws. No real (enforced) occupational safety laws. The Chinese version of Al Capone was just arrested. It remains to be seen if the same internal forces that created OSHA and the EPA in the US will also cause China to change.

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