You shouldn't have to do that call to encode with DBD::ODBC. Your trace shows the column was retrieved as SQL_WCHARs and DBD::ODBC should have encoded the data correctly for you (believe me, I maintain DBD::ODBC). What versions of DBI and DBD::ODBC are you using?
Could you provide a small simple example which creates a table like yours, inserts the chinese data and reads it back and I will take a look at it.
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