Chinese 'Face' coming to the surface when buying an apartment in China

The Beihai apartment purchase was not that dissimilar to the one in Nanning - At the start around November 2007 we paid a deposit of about 10%, at the time we applied for name change on the house document we paid a further 45% and on completion, the time when we collect the house book and the name and ownership has been changed we then pay the final 45%. It sounds all very straightforward and sometimes it can be.
But as often happens in simple situations the 'people' get involved and issues occur.
In this case there was a complication with ownership, the apartment was part of a pair of apartments bought at the same time around 4 years ago by our woman vendor and therefore only one House Book had been issued for both apartments. One title for both apartments.
She, before selling to us needed to split the title, in essence a simple bureaucratic task but as we know things are never that simple.
She had been married so the required legal proof of divorce or ex husbands permission etc made the process drag on and on coupled with this the fact that money was owed to a Bank and family all of which caused the woman vendor plenty of hassle.
'Not my/our problem'. This phrase I use a lot when negotiating with the Chinese which often throws them off balance. As they are often heard to say, "No problem" when in reality, there are often huge problems.
Interestingly, all through the negotiations over the 4 months we would often be dragged into the conflict via various telephone conversations Nana was receiving from the woman.
I was having none of it and Nana with her now, part western mind realised that unlike her Chinese mind telling her otherwise, she was having nothing of it either.
She later explained to me that this Chinese tactic of involving everybody was probably in the hope that later on in the negotiations maybe our involvement could be used to secure, either more money or at the very least to divert any difficult to resolve issues away from the woman vendor and unto us.
She would turn around and say, Well, it is not my fault, you told me, you helped me, you were involved it was your idea.
This is Chinese 'Face' coming to the surface - give the problem to somebody else and that way you avoid the embarrassment and the final decision making.
As I have said, I have been here long enough and understand the Chinese mind set sufficiently now to 'not get involved' unless it is absolutely necessary.
I play their game - BUT to my rules, not theirs.
I am always prepared to walk away and find something else.

Looking for love in China - Stuck on Stupid

Again, I am seeing the plight of the 'western' man in his quest for a life partner.
Again, and again the similar situation arises and all you hear is - Woe is me - how could she - I'm the victim - She has just disappeared without trace - I gave her money !..what??? You gave money to a stranger.
Yes, most certainly…you are the victim!
To those that fall prey - My opinion has not changed, from the start the motives of the 'western' man is flawed and my sympathy still remains firmly with the Lady, whatever she does…misguided she may be but far from stupid, good luck to her.
I hear the same conversation time and time again - I'm getting married - I've met a lovely girl - we chat on Yahoo/MSN every night - I'm so lucky…Yeah Right !!!

I know this will not be considered politically correct, but, there is no other way of putting it - These, so called, victims are just plain 'stupid'.
Of course, you can find on the various message boards the same boring, snivelling, sympathetic piffle of the 'western male' supporters - Oh, bad luck, and you looked so good together, how could you have known? don't blame yourself - what utter crap this is.
I even saw one American proprietor offering to 'list' the alleged offending lady on his 'Blacklist'...My God, is that legal under American law?…I am really not at all sure of the legal ramifications of such a publicly accessible list of 'guilty' persons.
Guilty?.. Guilty as charged by whom, dare I say it again, a 'stupid westerner and a website!'.
You will notice I use the word 'alleged', call me 'stupid' by all means, no problem, but you cannot accuse me of not being careful, of not listening to others, of rushing into anything, of not taking my time and learning about the person, of not making absolutely sure she was indeed my life partner, of not making sure that trust, honesty and loyalty were inherent in both of us before committing to anything.

Just like any 'normal' person would.
It goes without saying, I am happily married to an adorable Chinese Lady.
Good luck to all that follow, there is a wealth of good, honest information at

Six basic simple normally fail safe suggestions.(1) Know the person at least 6 months before any kind of commitment.
(2) Visit the person at least twice in their home town, for at least two weeks on each occasion, preferably four weeks.
(3) Never hand over any money if asked for, for whatever reason.
(4) Buy small relatively inexpensive gifts for the person and look very carefully at the reaction.
(5) Must arrange to meet up and socialise with western contacts whilst visiting the person. This is essential. You are western, you need western opinion and suggestion.
(6) Do not rely on Chinese opinion, from whatever source. Even if it is a friend or contacts wife or girlfriend. Unless you know them personally.
Do your homework on culture and China in general.

On a much lighter note, whilst on the subject of stupidity.
I was out two weeks ago shopping in Walmart, as you do, when time has no meaning when I was accosted by an Englishman, he stopped me dead in my tracks with "are you Andrew?" Yes, I said.
Anyway to cut a very long story short, he went on to tell me that he was leaving to go back to the UK the following week and that he was a little worried.
Why, I asked. Because he said, I am not sure whether my Visa is up to date.
Mmmm, yes, your thinking the same as I did!

I tried asking all the right questions, you know, what type of visa is it, is it an 'L' visa, how long have you been here, when did you renew it, you know the sort of thing.
Well, sadly, I said I tried but to no avail as he was a man that would not let me get word in edgeways.
The gist of it, as far as I could make out was that he had been here 6 months on a first visit from the UK with one renewal in the interim.
Eventually, I must admit, I was glad to get away as I could be of no help if he wouldn't let me speak.
I have now heard, a man was stopped trying to leave China by immigration officials recently, given the option of 10 days in prison or a 5000RMB fine for not having an up to date visa…Mmmm, I wonder. If he is out there somewhere it would be great if he could fill us all in with all the gory details.