- By Isaac Stone FishIsaac Stone Fish is FP's Asia editor. A Mandarin speaker, he lived in China for seven years before moving to Washington, D.C. His articles have also appeared in the New York Times, the Economist, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, and he has appeared as a commentator on MSNBC, the BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, and PRI, among others.
File this in the category of ‘they do things differently in China.’ For those curious about the Chinese "Rent a White Guy" phenomenon, whereby a Chinese company will employ a foreigner part-time to sit near the front of an office or to join in on meetings because it apparently adds a level of sophistication, here’s how they get hired. I received this yesterday from a contact in Beijing, who agreed to it being posted; the letter is unedited in any way except for the deletions of some identifying information. Try to count how many American anti-discrimination laws this ad violates.
I hope all is going well with you. The reason I’m contacting you is because today I had a meeting with a contact of mine (deleted) who asked me for some assistance in finding people for some part-time work in Beijing. Essentially they are in the business of (deleted.) They are looking for some Americans to act as assistants in meetings with potential investors, and essentially act as the "white face" to give some more credibility to the project. He said it would need assistance for about 3-4 meetings per month, maybe more, maybe less – it all depends on how the business goes. Of course this will be a paid job, but I have not discussed any payment amount or payment terms so you would have to negotiate that yourself.
The first requirement of the job is that you must be an advanced Mandarin Chinese speaker, since the meetings will all be with Chinese people. Also men only, no females. The other requirement is that you must have some sort of background that Chinese people typically value. My contact is (deleted) and is slightly obsessed with Jewish people and thinks they are the smartest, so he naturally prefers this person to be Jewish. If he can’t get someone Jewish, he would also like someone who went to a famous university — Harvard, Yale, etc. Besides those 2 qualifications, I’m sure he’d be happy with someone who has some sort of connection to someone famous or important, or maybe someone who is really tall and handsome. Basically any characteristic that Chinese people are impressed by – he is looking for in this person. Of course it wouldn’t hurt if this person was good-looking, well-dressed, etc. – I think you can get it. (deleted).
Despite reports of increased xenophobia in China, it’s nice to know there’s still a part-time job available in Beijing for a tall, white, male, Jewish, Harvard-educated fluent Mandarin speaker.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |