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From: Pacific Rim Native Plants <paige at HILLKEEP.CA>
Subject: Chen Bing and Chen Yi
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I've had some questions offline about Chen Bing and Chen Yi,
whether I'm sure they aren't related and
whether I've ordered from them. I'll answer in public. 8-)

I have met both women several times. By now we are friends. I
have never imported plants from either one.

They say they are not related and I believe them. Chen is a very
common family name in China.

Chen Bing is the daughter of a botanist, whom I have met. She is
shy, warm, clever and serious-minded. She and her family live in
her parents' apartment. When I last saw them they were still
travelling by bus and taxi.

Chen Yi is married to a botanist, whom I have also met, the
author of most of the identifications so many internet plant
lists spend time questioning.  She is the daughter of a
politician-bureaucrat, whom I have not met.  She is outgoing,
clever and swashbuckling. She is much better off than Chen Bing.
She and her husband have a number of dwellings, a number of
nurseries and plant-holding areas around the country. They have a
car and a driver who has been with them for years.

Q: Why does Chen Bing use the name Jenny Chen? A: This is not
duplicity. Most Chinese people choose an "English" name when they
learn English in school. Using an English name can be a symbol of
colonial oppression, a modern status symbol, or, as in Chen
Bing's case, a  gesture of courtesy, to make her foreign
customers more comfortable.

Q:  Why do Chen Yi and Chen Bing have the same post office and
bank? A: I don't know anything about their banks, but there are
only so many banks in China. As for the post office, Zhong
Guan-cun in the Haidian district of Beijing is where many people
of relative privilege live. The two women do not have the same
address. They do not have the same telephone number.  (And no, I
am not passing these out.)

Q: Why are the plants they send packaged the same way? A: I
haven't ever ordered from them, but Chinese methods of packing
plants are a combination of tradition and regulation, which could
make one parcel much like another.

Paige Woodward
paige at

on top of Chilliwack Mountain in southwestern British Columbia

Pacific Rim Native Plant Nursery
44305 Old Orchard Road
Chilliwack, BC V2R 1A9
Phone (604) 792 9279. Fax (604) 792 1891

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