Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Slavery or Simply Chinese Office Politics?

It's been one year since I moved to China; my experiences with Chinese companies are the worst.
Eventually I discovered that it's all based on exploiting employees which explains the high turnover rates in the country.

Even in big national companies corruption and the lack of ethics are abundant. It reaches the level where you can be threatened so you don't complain or take it to court.

One of the things that Expatriates in China struggle to get used to is how to survive 8 hours a day in a company that doesn't function properly, Chinese are known to be hard-workers but that's only in factory production lines however if you visit any other corporate in any job that requires using your brain and not your muscles all what you'll find would be some under-qualified employees sitting around pretending to be working. In a glimpse all the windows full of games on their computer would disappear because a manager is passing by.

The biggest problem is that even the managers themselves don't do shit, it's all full of hypocrisy and of course as a foreigner you can't really adapt to that, it takes ages for you to realize that a task that can be done in 10 minutes by one employee takes 10 days to be finished in China by 10 employees.

You have to follow the complicated Chinese company policies as if god himself sent it to them signed with his name, they know nothing about exceptions but this comes at no surprise considering the way Chinese education works.

And if you dare to complain to the big decision makers then you are digging your own grave because the Chinese culture is based on how you appear to people, it’s all about saving your face so of course if you collect the courage enough to go complain then you opened the doors to hell, how would your manager look in front of his manager?

In my situation I got threatened that if I take my complaints higher then my residence permit would be canceled the same day and I would be reported as one of those foreigners who did the midnight run, but if I just shut my mouth then they would let me go keeping my residence permit.

I’m not talking here about a small startup or an illegal company. I’m talking about a big corporate with a capital that exceeds several billion US dollars.

Now comes the hard decision, should I fight with all my power even though I know I will lose the war because of connections, guanxi and the corruption? Or should I just surrender and get out alive?



  1. No one will listen to a foreigner.. especially if the foreigner is from a country which does not back up their citizens with support of some sorts..
    Even if you pursue your complaint and even if the higher ups know you are right, you will most likely still suffer.. Where a foreigner is concerned, for locals there is a collective "face" which has to be saved so I guess the 2nd option gives you some time to think about what to do next (like stalk and beat up the guy who did this to you a few hours before you leave ;) ) or find some other work .. whichever you may choose

    1. Exactly my foreigners in China we have no support
      the sense of nationalism here is high which makes everyone side with their Chinese fellows even if they were wrong
      Saif thank you so much for your support by commenting brother...wish me luck

  2. Hello Peter, been researching alot on Changchun as i may potentially move to Changchun for work. I came across your blog and would like to get your advice on certain things. Please let me know if it is suitable to contact you on email. Cheers Wendy

    1. hey
      i would be more than happy to help
      you can contact me through email or google +