Subverting Chinalyst – how not to win friends and influence people
Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis
This month at Chinalyst, as can be seen from the “2007 China Blog Awards” banner to the right of this screen, a competition has been held in which people can vote for their favorite China blogs. It’s a good idea, and one that is overdue. These things take a bit of organising, and the good folks at Chinalyst have obviously worked hard to get the contest off the ground. The blogs have been seperated into different categories, with this particular one being entered in the Business section, along with other notable and respected blogs such as Harris & Moure’s China Law Blog, All Roads Lead To China, The Editors Blog at the China Economic Review and so on. With voting continuing, China Law Blog has been leading the way, with China Briefing Blog and All Roads Lead To China in hot pursuit. All well and good.
Now lets back track a little and go over a bit of ancient history. One particular firm based in China, with American ownership and an American Managing Partner has had, in the past, some small problems with China Briefing, and I understand, China Law Blog, not to mention run-ins with other firms in China and elsewhere.
The said firm, who we will not bother to mention, (although I am tempted to rename the Managing Partner Voldemort) has been involved in an unfortunate series of episodes with other China practices over the years. These have included metatagging of other firms, (a practice which subverts search engines to pick a particular site instead of the intended search, now a criminal offense in the US), for which a law suit was issued against a related accounting practice of theirs, the entire copying of one of the prominent China Blogs original site design, and various other ongoing problems that seem to arise from this firm with unpaid wages to staff, antagonism towards competing practices and so on.
Regrettably, the comments section of this firms own entry into Chinalysts competition was used to attack China Briefing. I reproduce some of the text here, all directed at myself:
Come Clean Mr. Ellis – We are Waiting Can Chris Devenshire Ellis Clear His NameHey, Chris Devonshire Ellis “the defense to libel is truth” Now I haven’t read the actual comments, I’m actually on vacation and the comments have been removed. But they don’t look all that pleasant do they? People who did see them tell me they all relate to a denial of law suits that I issued against the accounting subsidiary of the firm in question, and contained a lot of libellous statements. Apparently, I’m a ‘High school dropout’ for example. Quite what inspired these comments is anyones guess. Maybe just as a useful and currently highprofile forum to hurl some pent up abuse at me?
I have also heard of attacks and dubious comments concerning again, China Briefing, as well as ChinaLawBlog being made elsewhere on Chinalysts site. These have also now been removed.
Firstly, although China Law Blog and the China Briefing Blog are both closely competing for the coveted number one position in the Business Blog section on Chinalysts survey, there is no animosity between us. In fact, I post often on China Law Blog and Dan Harris there occassionally makes appearances here. We communicate nearly daily, and often help each other out. Plus our respective firms refer each other business. So I want to make that quite clear, a position I’m sure Dan will endorse.
Yet what concerns me is the attempt, by a competing ‘law’ firm in China, to willingly use Chinalysts bit of fun to try and subvert, create chaos and bad feelings, between other China practices. I’ve been called a lot worse than “a High School drop-out” in my time, but is someones else’s blog really the place to make such statements ? Its not, it’s utterly selfish, and to be frank, downright unprofessional. It says rather more about the individual and the management of the firm involved that it does about myself, China Briefing or China Law Blog.
I’ve had to put up with blog harrassment and nasty jibes from this person and his ‘law’ and ‘accounting’ firms for over three years now. Recently they seem to have been getting worse. I’m at a loss what to do about it, other than just “Sorry” to those who have been sucked into this nasty and ongoing campaign of spite, and to assure those who read this that there is no issue between ourselves, China Law Blog or Chinalyst. We support them all.
But having issued writs against the firm concerned for metatagging my practice, when just trying to protect my business, my employees and welfare against a competing firm who seems to think they can just take what they want and get away with it, in fact to stand up against a bullying firm who then hide behind Chinas loose regulatory code for licensing lawyers in China, it seems I must now be ‘punished’ for daring to stand up and take the bugger to court.
That happened over three years ago. (See the March 2004 issue of China Briefing in the archives section here for the details).
Yet in taking that step I find I am now subjected to an on-going campaign of abuse and harrassment, as is, apparently, any other practice that stands up to these bully-boy tactics with no respect for IP rights or professional consideration.
Dan Harris I am sure will have his say on this. But I can assure you that China Briefing and China Law Blog get on just fine. I just find it sad, that in an environment where everybody should be doing well and concentrating on business, one firm in China stands out as vindictive, nasty, selfish and quite willing to trample on other peoples property in order to continue to spin their web of spite and hatred towards those who maintain rather higher principles of ethics in just trying to run a decent practice.
For those of you who have been affected by this, I can only apologise. But really, couldn’t somebody please do us all a favor and put Voldemort and his cronies out of their misery by shutting them down? Enough surely, is enough. No-one needs this nonsense in our own profession in China.