Monday, June 2, 2008

Fascinating article about trip to China

P. J. O'Rourke writing about his trip to China:

The mill’s 150-pound ex-PLA guard dog, Shasha (“Killer”), was extremely glad to see Tom. So were the employees. Although there were some steel mill employees who presumably wouldn’t have been so glad, such as the two or three hundred “ghost workers” who didn’t exist at all and were on the mill’s payroll when Tom took over. Plus the thousands of workers he’d fired because they didn’t do anything. Tom also needed to get rid of the local family that had the “theft rights” to the factory. They once stole an entire railroad train from the mill and would have gotten away with it if the train didn’t have a track that led directly to them.

“Here’s where one guy threw a wrench at me,” Tom said as we climbed the tower to the blast furnace.

“What’d you do?”

“I tossed him down the stairs,” Tom said. “Rule of law is the cornerstone of capitalism.”

Tom’s worst problem with the proletariat, however, involved one of his mill hands who was having an affair with a woman who worked at the chemical factory next door. They conducted their trysts in an electrical equipment closet. Amidst the throes of passion the mill hand backed into some high voltage circuitry and fried. (His paramour, with hair a bit frizzier than is usual in China, survived.) The man’s widow then brought her entire ancestral village to block the steel mill’s gates. As compensation for her husband’s death, she demanded his salary in perpetuity, a job for their retarded daughter, a new house, the payment of her husband’s gambling debts, and that her grandmother be flown to the United States to have her glaucoma treated.

“I had to call in the Communist Party officials,” Tom said.

“Did they ship everybody off to prison camp or something?” I asked.

“They didn’t do anything. They said it was my problem.

You'll have to click through to see how he handled the problem. Via.