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BEIJING — The earthquake that killed 87,000 people in Sichuan Province in China a year ago this week was a devastating tragedy that, through all the rubble, offered a few rays of hope … photos and story at link below:

In Year After Quake, China Sealed an Opened Door

A mother sitting among the rubble in Beichuan county on Tuesday mourned the death of her daughter, Xiang Yazi, at left in photo, in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

A mother sitting among the rubble in Beichuan county on Tuesday mourned the death of her daughter, Xiang Yazi, at left in photo, in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.


Editor’s note: I can’t even begin to imagine devastation and loss of this magnitude. Money and volunteer labor can help, but we can also help by acknowledging the sad anniversary of this loss by our good friends on the other side of this shrinking world.

From “The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor,”

It’s the anniversary of the printing of the first known book. In the year 868, Wang Chieh printed the Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist scripture, on a 16-foot scroll using wood blocks. It was discovered in 1907 in Turkestan, among 40,000 books and manuscripts walled up in one of the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas.

Diamond Sutra_Jingangjing

And, from Wikipedia, the image, above, and this information,

A page from the Diamond Sutra, printed in the 9th year of Xiantong Era of the Tang Dynasty, i.e. 868 CE. Currently located in the British Library, London.

I hope you will check it out.

I thought while St. Louis is busy celebrating Earth Day at Forest Park, it would be a nice idea to show some of the ecological ideas and work coming out of China.

Ecology education begins in China's elementary schools.

Ecology education begins in China's elementary schools.

I am linking two sites, one in Chinese and one in English.

If you don’t read Chinese characters, don’t be scared off when you see the text in Chinese. There are videos on the site that are narrated in English, and they present amazing information about the ecological diversity of China.

Also, to get some sense of the Chinese written text, you can use the Babelfish Website translation tool, which I have linked here. It’s a funky translation tool, because it is very literal, and Chinese is more nuanced than that; however, it’s better than nothing, and if you care to put in a little effort, you will be able to get information in return.

Of course, if you read Chinese characters, this is an easy assignment!

The Long Green March

The Long Green March

I am also linking to a Web site in English with related information here about The Green Long March, a key part in the greening of China, so please visit this site, as well. Please also do visit the blog, as well, so you can watch the wonderful videos. Here is a bonus for the “English-only” readers and an extra treat for those bi-lingual Eng/Chi: I am linking a Web site in English called Cleaner Greener China.

Editor’s note: Of course we have studied enough history to appreciate the clever link between the name of The Green Long March for ecology, and a strong China, and The Long March of Chairman Mao in 1934-35. The naming of the ecology event surely shows its importance to the organizers and all who support it!

Image of elementary school children from Future Generations China via the Web.

chinese-culture-days-2009-photoThis photo is too beautiful to size it smaller. I’m really looking forward to the sights, sounds, good smells and tastes of this annual festival this weekend.

Ticket information is on the > Missouri Botanical Garden’s Web site <, which I’ve linked here.

I’m going to copy/paste the schedule of events, which doesn’t include the unofficial events of eating and socializing and enjoying the entire gardens.

Earth Day and Chinese Culture Days in the same weekend: An embarrassment of riches, as the saying goes.

Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden via the Web

Schedule of Events

Saturday–Sunday, April 25 & 26

11:00 a.m. OPENING PARADE, Saturday Only

Spoehrer Plaza to Cohen Amphitheater

11:15 a.m. OPENING CEREMONY, Saturday Only

Cohen Amphitheater

12:00 p.m. New Shanghai Circus Cohen Amphitheater

Guided Tour of the Chinese Garden

1:00 p.m. Fashion and Cultural Show Shoenberg Theater

T’ai Ji Lesson Chinese Garden

Guided Tour of the Chinese Garden

2:00 p.m. GRAND PARADE Climatron to Cohen Amphitheater

Guided Tour of the Chinese Garden

2:30 p.m. Traditional Arts Program Cohen Amphitheater

Cooking Demonstration Kemper Center for Home Gardening

3:00 p.m. T’ai Ji Lesson Chinese Garden

Guided Tour of the Chinese Garden

4:00 p.m. New Shanghai Circus Cohen Amphitheater

Guided Tour of the Chinese Garden

4:30 p.m. Fashion and Cultural Show Shoenberg Theater
All Day Tea tasting and traditional Chinese music

Chinese Garden

(Note: If it rains, some events will be moved indoors.)

moundcitymoney_stlpd

04.16.2009 12:08 pm

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A year ago, high-ranking Chinese official Li Zhaoxing came to St. Louis to talk about plans for an air cargo connection between his nation and the Gateway City. Next month, according to St. Louis RCGA President Dick Fleming, another Chinese delegation will be here to continue that conversation. The group will include representatives of the China Investment Promotion Agency, and that’s a new twist to the relationship, Fleming explained:

They will be bringing investors here looking for investments in companies here and in the broader St. Louis marketplace.

The local companies wouldn’t necessarily have to be connected to the air-freight or cargo business, or even to the goal of finding ”back haul” products to ship from the Midwest to China. Fleming even brought up the possibility that Chinese companies might be interested in funding some of St. Louis’ promising life-sciences companies. He added:

This is an example of how this relationship can develop in a variety of ways beyond the aviation deal.

The aviation deal itself, of course, is in the nascent stage. The latest development was the formation of a Midwest China Hub Commission in January.

# # #

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Editor’s note: Do you know the origins of the term “Mound City” used at the top of this story? Here’s an entry from the St. Louis Public Library’s Web site.

Before the Arch became the trademark of the ‘Gateway to the West,’ St. Louis answered to the nickname of “Mound City.”

While few these days could explain the origins of that name, there are still better than half-a dozen Mound City commercial listings in the local phone book.  Mounds are an important part of St. Louis’s history and image.

The mounds in question were constructed by native Americans about 1000 years ago.  People of the Mississippian culture shaped long-lasting earthen structures on both sides of the Mississippi River.

Click on the following link to read the entire article at the > St. Louis Public Library < Web site.

cnbc-world-logoI just watched a program on CNBC World called “Managing China.” If you are interested in doing business in or with China, this program is a great tutorial on the big picture.

Song Zhenghuan

Song Zhenghuan

goodbaby-logoThe program is a one-on-one interview format. The segment that I watched was between interviewer (Mr.) Luo Zhenyu and (Mr.) Song Zhenghuan, president of > Goodbaby <, a successful international business in China. The program is conducted in “putonghua,” which translates basically as “the common language,” or, as we call it in the western world, “Mandarin,” with subtitles in English.

The interview is more exploratory than expository, and so a lot of seemingly “softball” questions are asked by the interviewer of Mr. Song; however, that strikes me as part of the Chinese cultural way, and there also were questions asked about aspects of Goodbaby’s business model that would seem to be questioning its basis for success. So what I’m saying is that not all question were softballs.

Sage advice for East-West business people.

Sage advice for US business people doing business in China.

If someone in the USA is interested in feeling more comfortable in one-on-one business interactions with their Chinese business counterparts, this program provides a great example of appropriate comportment on the Chinese side. In particular, I think it’s difficult for people from the USA with no direct connection to Asian culture to figure out how to express disagreement in business dealings with the Chinese. This is because one of the things we always hear is that the Chinese “avoid direct disagreement,” and the direct way we handle disagreement in the west would cause our Chinese associates to “lose face.” It leaves us with no explanation of how, then, to handle disagreement.

istock_000004992109xsmallI think this program shows how one might investigate issues, express doubt, or uncertainty and do it with a politeness and humble approach to which we simple are unaccustomed, and which would seem unclear, perhaps too subtle, seen through the cultural lens here.

istock_000000710955xsmallMake no mistake that while a harmonious society is a primary Chinese cultural value, the Chinese are tough negotiators and do not always agree among themselves or across the table. They do, however, maintain a surface appearance of harmony, and one of the ways they would handle disagreement is to have a person who acts as liaison from each of the opposing/collaborating teams. This allows the leaders to lay issues on the table while making the expressions of mutual respect and toasting to each other’s success, while the liaisons deliver information about problematic issues and allow the team leaders to work out the problems indirectly, through their liaisons.

This works whether the problem is a large business issue between company heads or a hotel room that is not up to one’s standards. It’s best, if possible, to have a liaison/functionary on your team handle these issues for you with another person on the other “team” similar in status to him/her.

istock_000006968173xsmall2The program today was an excellent study in direct discussion, though, which would be a step up from and riskier way to go than the liaison route, but shows it can be done. Not an exercise for the inexperienced, I might add.

So, those are my thoughts on the program. It was a wonderful discovery this afternoon, while I was working on my blog. If you also have seen this program, please post your thoughts about it here.

AsiaNet information (in English) about Goodbaby

China Daily story (in English) about Goodbaby

Editor’s note: I was unable to find a photo of interviewer Luo Zhengyu.

Sage advice graphic from ChinaSuccessStories.com

The St. Louis County Economic Council released the following information to the news media recently, indicating further movement in the positive direction towards establishing St. Louis, Missouri, as a Midwest China Hub for air cargo and trade:

Commission at Beijing Office

Commission at Beijing Office

ST. LOUIS, MO, April, 2009 — A delegation from the Midwest China Hub Commission travelled to Beijing in mid-March to continue talks with Chinese leaders. The goal of the trip was to promote economic ties between China and the Midwest through the creation of a St. Louis commercial air cargo hub. The strong working interest between St. Louis leaders and Chinese officials in advancing trade links prompted the opening of the Beijing office.

Mike Jones | Senior Policy Advisor

Mike Jones | China Hub Commission Chair

“With more than a year of discussions with Chinese officials, we are making concrete steps toward building the foundation of this ever-important project,” said Midwest China Hub Commission Chairman Mike Jones. “There is a significant level of interest on the part of the Chinese. Our Beijing-based office will allow us to be more productive with our communications and overall efforts with Chinese leaders.”

The Beijing office, which is housed in the building of London Export Corporation (LEC), will support the Commission’s efforts in administrative and research functions. It is in close proximity to key government offices and will act as the direct liaison with Chinese officials.

LEC Managing Director Stephen Perry, also is chairman of the 48 Group Club, an independent business network committed to promoting positive relations with China.

“Interest remains keen on both sides, and the opening the Beijing office is another step forward in a long-term effort by community leaders and our counterparts to work together to create an air cargo hub in St. Louis,” said Perry. The Beijing office represents the Commission’s commitment to the success of the project.

On January 26, the start of the Chinese New Year, China’s Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong came to St. Louis in coordination with St. Louis leaders to announce the formation of the Midwest China Hub Commission. The Commission, a public/private entity, is comprised of state and local governmental and business leaders working in partnership with China to coordinate efforts to make St. Louis a hub for China’s Midwest trade.