Wednesday 18 February 2009

I believe this is called "self-pwnage" : Chris Devonshire-Ellis interview with CBRC Chairman "pure fabrication"

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I have had my run-ins with a certain Mr. Christopher Devonshire-Ellis. Not only has he demonstrably lied about his qualifications but he also used the Mumbai terrorist attacks as a prop for corporate publicity and has threatened bloggers who link to these articles with having their websites/businesses shut down by his government 'friends'. Bloggers he has threatened include Ryan of Lost Laowai, Dan Harris at China Law Blog, and Chinese blogger Wang Jian Shuo.

Now, I personally always half suspected that Chris wasn't nearly so well-connected with the Chinese government as his website made him out to be. Imagine my surprise therefore, when I read this interview with Liu Mingkang, Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission written by Chris Devonshire-Ellis, which included this tidbit:

You know I’m going to ask this, and I suspect I know the answer you’re going to give – will there be any movement in the RMB position this year?

You always ask me this question! We have studied the RMB position at length, and remember it is tied not just to the U.S. dollar but to a basket of currencies specifically to give it balance. We are satisfied it has reached its correct valuation. Politicians, especially from the United States always seem to argue our position, whichever way it goes. But it is in the global markets benefit for us to maintain a balanced currency and to manage it in a responsible manner. This year, as we face a decline in exports and unemployment in China rises, the RMB may weaken. But longer term, our economy is growing and it is inevitable our currency will gain in strength. We have explained our position at great length recently to the G7 and they understand where we’re coming from. In fact we have taken great steps to ensure we are providing our own economy with stimulating domestic demand, and to maintain at least some growth in a global market that elsewhere is shrinking, or has moved into negative territory. A stable and globally balanced RMB is what is needed to manage the current situation, and that is what we have achieved.

Why was I surprised? Well firstly, as I said, I hadn't actually believed that Chris was as well-connected as all that, and secondly, because for a Chinese official to say that the RMB "may weaken" would actually be quite big news. Indeed, it was widely reported.

Unfortunately for Chris, the CBRC deny that Liu made such a statement, in fact they deny that the interview even took place:

The website CHINA-BRIEFING published an article on Feb 18, 2009 with CBRC Chairman’s photo and opinions. The CBRC hereby makes the statement that no CBRC officials have been interviewed by this media or by the author of this article. This news is a pure fabrication.

(my emphasis)

Chris has said that the report was due to "an error in transcript and translation" it is hard to see how a translation error could result in an interview a page long in which Chris has a friendly back-and-forth with a Chinese official at his own offices. Furthermore, why does Chris, who claims to be fluent in Mandarin, need translation?


Chris has taken the interview down, but Chris, baby, it's far too late for that - not now that this fraud has been reported far and wide. Now where was that 'case file' that you were threatening to 'action'?

[Update #2]

China Law Blog thinks anyone who lost money on this may have cause of action against the person who fabricated the report - check it out here.

[Update #3]

Following on twitter, CDE has taken down all of his ministerial 'interviews' going right back to 2007 - were they 'fabrication' also?


Anonymous said...

I recall in a previous post on Lostlaowai already mentioning the Ministerial briefings were BS. As I know the workings of the government professionally and privately infinitely better than Mr. Devonshire-Ellis will ever know it would be completely unthinkable that such meetings would take place. Delusions of grandeur combined with shall we say sociopath-marketing results in this kind of garbage being published and taken for real.

The first time he came up with the ministerial meetings it was already a parade of officials unknowingly being prostituted by Mr. Ellis after having posed on a picture with him.

China Briefing is not an accredited magazine nor are its contributors accredited journalists. There is no way they can simply get an interview with an official especially regarding such sensitive issues as policies, budgets and RMB valuation.

If Mr. Ellis has a relationship with these officials as he claimed to have he has royally screwed them with these fabrications. How is that for a foreign friend?

Anonymous said...

These fake interviews have been going on since 2007 and as he got away with it he made it one of his marketing tools. Making remarks about Yuan appreciation or depreciation is dangerous as hell as the markets are already very volatile. It shows the man knows absolutely nothing about how sensitive this information is and how damaging for the government regulators. It would be safe to say that a lot in this magazine from his hand must be fabrications or outright wrong predictions.

Anonymous said...

You always ask me this question!"

Yeah right.....keep dreaming Ellis. You did not interview the guy.

Gilman Grundy said...

Okay guys, I don't know why I still have to say this, but no more posting under 'anonymous' if someone has already done so. Use a handle so we can tell you apart!

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that I would not want to be in Chris'shoes this morning. This 'incident' may well turn out to be more of a PR problem than Ellis can handle.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, plenty of people fabricate and make up stories online. What gives this guy special influence? He does something and the english blogs are a buzz, just seems strange.

Anonymous said...

Totally amazing, but not surprising. We have education credentials fraud, sexual predator, financial fraud ... so why would we be surprised with this latest in a string of Chris Devonshire - Ellis fraud?

Gilman Grundy said...

@Joe C - I have to say that you have so far shown no evidence of CDE ever having actually defrauded someone financially, or of him ever having been a predator. Comments made on the internet via an alias, even if you can prove that the alias was in fact CDE, are not proof of anything except an over-active imagination.

Anonymous said...

Ronald Here:

Let's do a little checklist and you guys tell me what this list is all about or fill in the blanks.

1. Glibness/superficial charm CHECK
2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
3. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
4. Pathological lying
5. Conning/manipulative
6. Lack of remorse or guilt
7. Shallow affect
No idea what this means
8. Callous/lack of empathy
9. Parasitic lifestyle
No Idea but no problems with taking others content for his own gain
10. Poor behavioural controls
11. Promiscuous sexual behaviour
Don't know
12. Early behaviour problems
Don't know
13. Lack of realistic, long-term plans
Lack of realism yes
14. Impulsivity
15. Irresponsibility
16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17. Many short-term relationships
Don't know, maybe
18. Juvenile delinquency
Don't know, you guys find out
19. Revocation of conditional release
No idea what this is
20. Criminal versatility
hat's up to others to look at
Narcissism is also a characteristic
DOUBLE CHECK on that one

Anonymous said...

Kevin Ma

So now another excuse on the CB website on the interview with the Ministry of Finance. And of course we knew it already. There is a meeting, Chris dresses up, makes Japanese pictures with officials and subsequently fabricates an interview with each of them. Some fine piece of journalism that rocked the markets.

So this was published today:

Correction, February 19

An earlier version of this article misrepresented the discussion as being a one-on-one media interview with Chris Devonshire-Ellis. The discussion was part of a round table among business leaders.

Chris, Chris you little lying cheat. I know one business "leader" who is not going to be at the meetings next year. Delusions, delusions....I think you lost a couple of hundred brownie points here.

This is what he always writes in preparation of HIS grandiose ministerial meetings:

BEIJING, Feb. 3 - Chris Devonshire-Ellis, senior partner of Dezan Shira & Associates, will hold his annual meetings with various Chinese government ministers next week. China Briefing readers are invited to post questions for Chris to ask the ministers on their behalf. Such questions will be posed in a strictly confidential capacity and raised wherever possible, however please be aware it may not be possible to get specific answers to all issues solicited.

Chris will be seeing the following at ministries at the ministerial or vice-ministerial level:

Ministry of Commerce
Ministry of Finance
China Banking Regulatory Commission
National Development and ReformCommission
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

These meetings will take place on February 11 and 12 in Beijing. Pertinent and business related
questions only will be raised. Personal replies will be sent shortly afterward to interested parties providing corporate email accounts only (no free email services like yahoo, gmail etc. for replies please).

Media wishing to feature articles of these meetings are also invited to contact us for details and requests

for specific summarizing text.
Questions for China’s ministers may be sent to this email address.
Executive summaries of these meetings will be posted on this news section, and a full report issued in the forthcoming issue of China Briefing Magazine.

To ensure you receive these, please complete our complimentary subscription.

Anonymous said...

Posts are down now


Gilman Grundy said...

@Jeremy - Good thing I have a copy of them, isn't it?

@Pete - This fabrication is more noteworthy than others because:

1) It moved the market, people made and lost money on this.

2) It involved middling-senior officials in the Chinese government.

3) The person who faked this interview has written many other similar interviews with Chinese government officials - all of which are now in doubt, and uses his supposedly close government connections as a marketing gimmick.

4) The person who made the post has previously threatened several bloggers and business rivals who pointed out fabrications on his part by saying that he will use his connections to have visas revoked, websites blocked, and licences to practice business suspended. It now appears that these threats, along with everything else the man says, are complete baloney.

5) Sheer Karma.

Anonymous said...

This is statement is now up on China Briefing:

NDRC and CBRC Notice
Feb. 19 - The National Development and Reform Commission and the China Banking Regulatory Commission have issued statements on their respective websites concerning interviews held with agency officials that appeared on this website. As they state, that these were not “official” meetings. Accordingly, I felt it was now prudent to follow their lead and have removed the articles from our website, together with the accompanying photographs.

We acknowledge that only officially recognized statements issued by the agencies should have appeared. The articles did not fall into this category.

I wish to apologize to the agencies concerned for this breach of etiquette.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Literally true I suppose, a fabricated meeting is not an "offical" meeting, but we all know that he is trying to make purse out of a sow's ear. He must be stopped!


Anonymous said...


What a great statement is that. reading through this post it is obvious that planned this all along as his one man show on his one man show free and shallow publication were fact and fiction battle for a spot.

It is what he considers his greatest marketing achievement and a way to show off his government contacts and make him look very important.

How about the statement that he would privately email people answers to their questions that would be discreetly discussed in his private Ministerial Meeting? Did anyone send an email?

Now we will go into the phase of the usual desperate attempts to spin the story around and wipe all traces. So who will be bullied this time? Where have we seen that before? "I am Fidel", "I am a lawyer" and "damaged Mumbai office" sound rather familiar.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis the man who thinks he is above the law has now crossed the boundary were fantasia meets reality and it is not a nice World.

Welcome to the real World Mr. Ellis, this might be the perfect occasion to get used to it.

Gilman Grundy said...

@Drummond - Weird thing is the NDRC did not actually issue a statement on their website, only the Banking and regulatory commission did that. Is someone receiving angry phone calls?

Gilman Grundy said...

@Ghandji - "Where fantasia meets reality"? I thought that was Disneyworld? But then this is a pretty Mickey-mouse style operation we're talking about . . .

Meantime, this post is sixth on a google search under "Self-pwnage". Is my life goal now acheived? Let's say that's a definite maybe . . .

Anonymous said...

Let's dissect this comment from China Briefing shall we?

So a publisher who claims to have been operating in the PRC since 1992 as a consultancy and publishes since 1999 does not know the etiquette of his business?

Well let me be more precise obviously Mr. Devonshire_ellis does not understand etiquette in general as I do not know many journalists who do not seek approval from the interviewed especially if they are high level officials. Fabricating the interviews makes it a bit hard to seek such permission and not being accredited is also a bit of a bummer in the process but you can try next year again.

I like the quotes though, very nice, always pretend to be totally stupid about what is official and what is not so you can blame your hosts for not specifically having instructed you. Then it is a good move to follow their lead and taking down your garbage posts as you are of course a model citizen of China. You just had no idea that it would be a problem for officials to be screwed by you nor did you have any idea what havoc such posts would create in the market?

well Chris this solution and lesson in humility is probably better than a scenario where the visiting IT engineer in HK starts doing his unscheduled server maintenance with a sledgehammer.

Good luck!

Feb. 19 - The National Development and Reform Commission and the China Banking Regulatory Commission have issued statements on their respective websites concerning interviews held with agency officials that appeared on this website. As they state, that these were not “official” meetings. Accordingly, I felt it was now prudent to follow their lead and have removed the articles from our website, together with the accompanying photographs.

We acknowledge that only officially recognized statements issued by the agencies should have appeared. The articles did not fall into this category.

I wish to apologize to the agencies concerned for this breach of etiquette.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Anonymous said...

CDE's problems are not solved by this 'explanation', I would think. The story is obviously untrue, patently untrue.

We all know that entities such as CDE's tend to just keep going and going, despite open violation of law. We saw that with the That's magazines, and I have seen the same phenomenon with foreign professionals basically advertising their violations of law. I won't go into detail, but let's just say there are restrictions on law firms (both foreign and domestic), and on foreign lawyers, that some just ignore. I most certainly will be posting about that in the near future, when I get that far down on my list ;-)

However, in this case, well I do suspect that the government is going to be pretty unhappy. The purported interviewee was probably brought on the carpet and asked to explain himself. I would assume that he was able to truthfully deny ever speaking to CDE. If an event as public as this just fizzles is a bit hard for me to fathom. Then again I am pretty tired right now.

I don't know, sometimes I am too optimistic. But in this case I most certainly expect repercussions. And potentially quite serious repercussions.

FOARP, thanks for your work on all of this. I wasn't a regular visitor before, but I am now. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

for a roundup of this activity.. here

Anonymous said...


Fake lawyers can give strange advice:

This one is from the Hindu Online from September 2nd 2006. Business advice from the experts it is called and here's a tip on IP infringement from our "Lawyer":

However, there were practical ways of dealing with patent violations. The first step, he said, was to get the patents registered in China. If there was an infringement, "write a nasty letter to the guy" and often the infringement would stop.

If it didn't, then the patent holder should decide whether the
infringement was hurting. If it was not, then "let they guy
have his day in the sun". If it did, the only way was to go to
the court.

Mr Devonshire said that he was "reasonably satisfied" with the legal process. Sometimes, the infringement would not stop even if the patent holder got a favourable judgment.

What to do in such cases?
The policeman (is usually) a tall, burly, officious-looking man,
who is available in his off-duty hours for about $10 an hour.
Show him the judgment, show him the patent violator, he will
take care of you.

Gilman Grundy said...

@Phantom - Yeah, that's right, you, a foreigner, bribe a police official to hassle the opposition, and they just lie there and take it, instead of, I dunno, REPORTING YOU TO THE AUTHORITIES AND GETTING YOUR ARSE THROWN OUT OF CHINA FOR GOOD?

Classy advice Chris.

Gilman Grundy said...

Plus - how exactly can anyone even think of employing someone who openly advises his clients to do illegal things - not simply things in the 'grey area', but damned well illegal?

This is moronic thuggery posing as legal advice.

Anonymous said...

I agree with FOARP. This is cowboy advice which is what he accused the competition of. And again accusing others of what he practices himself.

We once had a serious looking policeman coming to our office once and contacted his boss after having him thrown out of the office.

He claimed to come to investigate "something" but was not very well (China) Briefed so had no clue. Turned out we were questioning him instead of the other way around. As we were located in a compound of the Minisitry of foreign affairs for embassies he had nothing to do there so when adviced that he should contact the ministry of foreign affairs, he had to explain why he wanted access to the compound and then come back with two military police personnel to do his investigation the poor man was getting a bit nervous.

I have of course no proof our friend send him but it is a bit of a coincidence that this clueless junior policeman showed up.

We never saw the guy back. Must have been a real hard earned ten bucks for him. But it was fun anyway.

Anonymous said...

Seems as though you are not the only one who has had a bad experience with CDE.

At least China Daily are unlikely to put up with baseless legal threats & have comments like this removed.

Anonymous said...

Oh the fun you can have with an anagram engine...

Christopher Devonshire Ellis =

Sir Creep Shill Thieved Honors

Anonymous said...

Or using Christopher Ellis then his writings could be labeled as:

Heretic ho spills

Anonymous said...


I came across this post and am quite intrigued by this man. Googled a bit more and discovered he even bought himself the title of Baron of Coigach. Now he is called Baron Christopher Anthony Devonshire-Ellis. Having read some of the online (most entertaining) publications I must conclude the man is definitely a weirdo. Strange that people make this kind of stuff in this day and age. With so many people connected online fraudulent claims will immediately come to light and bite you in the...well you know