Even Wang wouldn’t say anything about it. They are smart these Chinese. They hide things well but they couldn’t mislead an old fox like him. Nevertheless, there is another problem with Cao Yu!
"Mr. Rochester! I think our meeting was very beneficial. We are all very excited here about this collaboration. The exploratory visit two months ago enabled us to move forward a lot. We have prepared a Memorandum which includes most of our discussions and the points on which we agree. It will be in Chinese, English but also in French. Cao Yu and Weina will type it and they will give it to you tonight at your hotel! We have the honor to invite you to a banquet tonight at 8 pm. The Governor of Gansu Province will honor us with his presence. We will pick you up from your hotel at half past seven!"
Hell!, thinks Frederic, only one VIP in the meeting. It pays to be discreet about production conditions, but as that old chap Vespasian said, money has no honor. Well, it’s not as if I’m buying toilets!"
Frederic Rochester thanks the Director. Liu Hong leaves the room with the two young women.
Rochester and Michael get back to their hotel. A tip for the driver. The door slams. The car from the Lanzhou Clothing Factory leaves. Rochester is pensive and watches it go.
"Let’s walk Michael. I need to."
They cross the hotel gate. The sentry looks at them oddly: as if to say, what a strange idea to go out while he'd like to be inside. Two other soldiers are pacing up and down outside the gate, their rifles and fixed bayonets reflecting the light of street lamps and military overcoats and fur hats on their heads. Hell! It's winter!
One of the soldiers says something to Michael. He nods.
"He says not to go too far away, to stay on the avenue. The neighborhood is not safe! Personally, I do not know!”
"Ok" says Rochester!"What have you learned? "
Michael smiles again:
"Not much more than what I heard the last time!"
He feels that Michael is teasing him!
"There are rumors! Things will change here. The Director General of the factory is a VIP. He was trained by Kang Sheng to whom he was an assistant. But he wants to change things. He says with a laugh: from the past you can create the future. He is very interested in this contract because he wants this business to grow. But the person that matters is the Production Manager! Actually, he is a Security Officer!"
"Wang Gang! Yes! He wants to modernize everything! But there is the past! What you heard is true, but that will change radically. Capital from Hong Kong will be injected and a new plant will be created!"
The message cannot be clearer. The opportunity is there. Trust them and do not meet the moral requirement of his Canadian clients, but be there tomorrow when everything will have changed. Or stop and not be there tomorrow.
"Ok Michael! We continue! I'll arrange things with public opinion in Canada!"
Not that easy, thinks Rochester.
"And for the rest?"
"There is the apparent truth ... and the rest! This girl Cao Yu actually comes from Chongqing, but ..."
He will not say more. Rochester does not need to ask for more.
"Okay, let's go! They will probably arrive soon and have a drink at the bar to allow me to digest all that superabundant food. I will soon be over 110 kg if this continues!"
Michael laughs suddenly:
"I suggest you do sport with me in the morning!"
"That's you making fun of me. We'll see when you're my age!"
They enter the hotel. A doorman opens the door. Cao Yu and Weina are inside. They are waiting.
"We saw you outside but we did not want to disturb you! Here are the contracts!"
Cao Yu hands him a folder that includes French copies of the contracts.
"We did not put in the English and Chinese versions. But tomorrow we will sign everything. Someone will pick you up at 9:00. Have a good night."
Rochester does not have time to react, they have already left. He notices a shadow at the back of the lobby.
"Come to the bar, we'll look at all this. Too bad we didn’t get the Chinese version. I hope there’s no difference."
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