Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Executing a Protest

About twelve years ago, I was working in the Regulatory Affairs department at a medical devices company. The company's products were sold globally, and one of our customers was China. I had to become a notary public for this job because one of my duties was processing apostilles, the legal documents often required for international transactions.

At one point, we had a large sale pending with China, but my daily emails checking on the status weren’t being answered. My manager was constantly asking me for an update on the China order.

Finally, after about ten days, I received an email from a brand new contact in the PRC. It opened with the obligatory apology about being tardy. Then, with bone-chilling nonchalance, I was informed that recently "the minister of health was executed" and the necessary reorganization that followed had caused the delay. Moving right along, this most disturbing email of my life (so far) concluded with the statement that the signed documents were attached and a very polite "thank you." (You've got to love a happy ending.)

For a long while, I sat in stunned silence, rereading this message. "The minister of health was executed...." .That certainly explained why he was missing from the "cc" list. Just another day at the office in China.

I remembered that incident today as I watched video footage of the protestors in Hong Kong, fighting for their "rights"--which do not exist under communist Chinese rule. I admire the protestors' conviction, their courage, and their ideals, but I'm not optimistic about their success. China will win, and the protestors in Hong Kong will pay dearly--as a certain unfortunate Chinese minister of health would tell them, if he could.