Within Hong Kong and China there are a few ways of providing bribes, known as tea money or in Cantonese, chaqian茶錢. In China, tea money is widespread, where it is needed for almost every transaction and service. In recent Hong Kong history, tea money was required at public hospitals or even to have a residential telephone line installed. Tea money is usually provided as a monetary gift within red envelopes, used at times of celebration such as Chinese New Year or weddings, or lining a box of moon cakes, a local delicacy.
The Hong Kong dollar notes, with the exception of the 10 dollar note, are all printed by three commercial banks instead of a central bank such as the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States. Under license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the Bank of China, Hongkong and Shanghai Bank or HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank issue their own bank notes for circulation. All three banks have been involved in money laundering, or indicted and/or settled laundering charges out of court. HSBC was a source for funding the opium trade in China during the 19th century and has continued in this line with the recent revelation that the bank was laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels.
Tea Money uses appropriated red envelopes that read fortune (福) to deliver the artwork, three moon cake designs that incorporate the logos of the banks. The prints are made from a custom chop, a traditional stamp or seal, which in China and its territories is seen as providing authority and authentication. The work utilizes many cultural aspects that symbolize luck and good fortune while also discussing the corruption and the flaws in the Chinese and Hong Kong capitalist economy.
SPIVA GALLERY MISSOURI SOUTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY JOPLIN, MO APRIL 1 - APRIL 19, 2019 RECEPTION APRIL 18, 4-6PM
“Independent, aggressive and critical media are essential to an informed democracy. But mainstream media are increasingly cozy with the economic and political powers they should be watchdogging. Mergers in the news industry have accelerated, further limiting the spectrum of viewpoints that have access to mass media. With U.S. media outlets overwhelmingly owned by for-profit conglomerates and supported by corporate advertisers, independent journalism is compromised,” states the national media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Cause-Effect highlights these corruptions within the news media system while also emphasizing the context and the lack of history in which the news is received.