Why I’m leaving China … for India, Vietnam, and ASEAN (Part 1)

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Principal & Founding Partner, Dezan Shira & Associates

With me there is only one area where I feel truly disappointed, and that is the air quality. It is shocking, and this evil has spread across China like the Biblical Plagues.

In Beijing, where I now live (and am shortly about to move from), the broken promises of the 2008 Olympics lie in the air quality. It was great for those immaculate three weeks of China’s Olympics, yet the CCP’s own mantra of “sustainable development” has been shown to come up short. The city air is filthy and worse than before. For a modern, developing nation talking of sending a man to the moon, the state of the capital city is a disgrace. Expatriates leaving China, although there may be other reasons for relocating, at least have that option. I feel sorry for the millions of Chinese who do not and who have to breathe in the filth. It’s China’s most pressing issue. But again, it’s not why I’m relocating – although I have heard many Hong Kong and China-based expats, especially with young children, provide it as a reason, and I would not disagree with their sentiments. China’s air is poisonous.

Otherwise, relocation is to do with sheer growth. I’ve developed the business out of China and expanded into India, Vietnam, and Southeast Asia.

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Premvir Das: Chinese chequers at sea

Sep 25, 2011. India’s security is no longer simply predicated on ensuring the sanitisation of its land borders; recent events have shown that it is equally about safeguarding its interests at sea.

In July, an Indian warship, INS Jalashva, leaving the port of Nha Trang in Vietnam, heard a message on a commercial maritime radio channel, monitored by all vessels entering or leaving ports, asking a ship to leave waters which fell under China’s sovereignty. Nothing was in sight nor was there any contact on radar to indicate the source of the transmission, and the warship continued on her assigned deployment unhindered. In certain conditions radio waves at sea travel far beyond the expected ranges and quite often communications off Karachi are heard off Mumbai. In this case, it is not known if this was the case, but the Chinese did not follow up this ‘encroachment’, leading to the inference that this was just a case of much ado about nothing.

More recently, however, there has been a more visible manifestation of China’s assertive posturing. In an official communication to the Indian government, China has protested an Indian joint venture with Vietnam for offshore exploration of oil in that country’s Exclusive Economic Zone on the basis that those waters form part of Chinese territory. Our government has responded firmly by saying that the work is being done adhering to international laws and no infringement of China’s waters was involved. A Chinese news agency known to be close to the Establishment has put out a strong Op-Ed more or less condemning the Indian action. The fact that this happened just as the Indian foreign minister visited Vietnam has been seen as a deliberate and well considered move by Beijing. We may not have heard the last on this subject.

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