Yet another fascinating post up at the China Lawyer Blog, this one entitled, “Unannounced Visit by Zhong Lun Managing Partner to ChinaLawyerBlog!!!” This is the blog of the “anonymous” American lawyer who has a very strong beef with the Zhong Lun Chinese law firm and is, shall we say, rather indelicate about putting it all out there for the world to see. I put “anonymous” in quotes because the blog now contains the following biography of its writer, with a full name e-mail, that makes pretty clear who is behind it:
I am a 38 year old US attorney, graduated in 1997 from the Univ of Virginia, and have lived in China for more than two years. I’ve worked here for two PRC law firms. Both are incredibly profitable, but both do things that would be illegal in the USA, much of which violates the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). So, I kept a daily diary at both firms, and my blog is where I’m publishing it. I hope you enjoy it and learn something from it. If you are thinking about doing business with Zhong Lun, I advise that you reconsider since you may otherwise be subjecting your company to violations of the FCPA. Feel free to email me: email@example.com
This post is on how Zhong Lun and the China Lawyer Blogger are alleging in the midst of a pending deal in which the China Lawyer Blog will be shutting down:
The post starts out rather unfairly with the following:
Today, without warning, the managing partner of Zhong Lun, Zhang Xuebing, visited my Beijing office and asked (demanded/threatened is more accurate) that I close down this blog immediately. He said he has paid people to track my movements and find out where I work and live. He said that he believes the blog entries are not true, and promised to enforce this with a threat or the equivalent.
I consider this paragraph unfair because it seems to want to imply threats of violence, when the reality may very well be quite different. It starts out saying the managing partner showed up “without warning” as though there is something nefarious in that, when there is not. The managing partner probably showed up without advance notice to the blogger (notice how just changing “without warning” to “without advance notice” can change everything) because he feared the blogger would intentionally not be there otherwise. Then the post says that the managing partner “threatened” the blogger and promised to “enforce this” with “a threat or the equivalent.” This on top of letting the blogger know that they are “tracking” his “movements.” Again, without more facts, this is unfair. The threat may very well have been just a threat to sue, which is a perfectly normal business tactic in this situation. They may very well be tracking his movements so they can know where to serve him with process in a lawsuit and how to collect from him once they prevail. No big deal, but, by leaving all of this open/vague, the blog unfairly implies violence.
The blogger then tells us about his alleged new deal with Zhong Lun, which is essentially that the blogger get paid what he claims to be owed and, in return, he shuts down his blog:
Although I have endeavored to make sure that everything in these blog entries is true and substantiated with facts, I have agreed to remove the blog pending his offer to pay me for work I did, per my contract with Zhong Lun, since I started this blog in part because the firm didn’t pay me for work I did there, although I think that goal has now expanded to talk about corruption in China, especially as it affects foreigners living here.
How much is at stake here? I am very curious.
The blogger then concludes his post with the text of an e-mail he allegedly wrote to Zhong Lun’s managing partner following this visit:
Following your unannounced visit today to my office, after you paid
people to track my whereabouts, I have removed the blog
chinalawyerblog.com, pending your offer to pay me what Zhong Lun owes
me per its contract with me. I am now leaving for the USA, where I
will reside for the next few months. I hereby offer you a reply
warning and threat: Zhong Lun will pay me what it owes me within seven
days of this email, and I don’t ask you for one penny more than what
is owed, or this blog, and perhaps another, will be up and running-
more popular than ever-at that time.
I want to re-emphasize that your threats, in person and writing, has
been reported to many levels of the US government, including local
police, and other people with influence.
I await your reply.
It appears the deadline is July 17.
Does ChinaLawyer’s publishing of this new post violate its alleged new deal with the firm?
I will be reporting back.