• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Boycott China 1

    Yesterday in my post on Chinese Toys, I broached the idea of boycotting Chinese-made goods. Today, I go to CNN.com and immediately see this:
    NEW YORK (AP) - Less than two weeks after Mattel Inc. (NYSE:MAT) recalled 1.5 million Chinese-made toys because of lead paint, the toy industry is bracing for another blow that could give parents more reason to rethink their purchases just before the critical holiday shopping season.

    Mattel is set to announce the recall of another toy involving a different Chinese supplier as early as Tuesday, according to three people close to the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

    Later in the day the news was confirmed:
    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Mattel Inc. Tuesday recalled more than 9 million toys made in China, including "Polly Pocket" and "Batman" dolls and other popular figures, because of loose magnets and lead paint - its second major recall in less than a month.
    because...(drum roll please)...

    The move, announced by the company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), comes after a host of other Chinese products, from seafood and pet food to tires and toothpaste, have been recalled for safety reasons in recent months.
    There are two reason FOR boycotting Chinese goods, and I'm sure many reasons NOT to boycott them. The two "pros" that come to mind immediately are:
    1. reducing American dependence on Chinese manufacturing and its economy

    2. taking a stand on the numerous and egregious human rights violations perpetrated by the communist government

    I believe that Americans would also rather ... "be safe than sorry"
    Now, Chinese human rights violations are nothing new, ranging from Tibet to beijing factory workers to Tiennamen Square. I will elaborate on this point later. American economic independence was, admittedly, not my first thought, but it was brought up eloquently by my wife. Here is the email exchange (edited a little for grammar and length because, lets face it, nobody writes with proper grammar when emailing):

    From: The Bleeding Ear
    Sent: Today
    To: The Wife
    Subject: Boycott China?

    The more I hear, the more I think that the only way to get China to shape up (and America to not be so dependent on one country) is to boycott Chinese-made goods. Teach these American companies to police themselves, or they're going to close shop.

    Here's the NEW news about chinese toys.


    love you,


    From: The Wife
    To: The Bleeding Ear
    Date: today
    Subject: RE: Boycott China?

    Americans need to boycott Chinese goods. ... We need ... [to] come home and support local businesses. If American companies opened their factories here, they would be able to find laborers. Perhaps, the labor here is not quite as cheap as it is in China, but I believe that Americans would also rather pay a little more and "be safe than sorry".

    I think it's rather "funny" that in Vietnam, [the] Vietnamese [will] not buy goods that are "Made in China", [but] they [will] hunt for anything that has ... American tags on it. Perhaps the Vietnamese know their neighbor too well!

    On the contrary, we Americans have to use everything with the tags "Product of China" because we do not have a choice. Everything in America is made in China. As China strives to overcome the U.S, to be the strongest economy in the world, their economy relies [mostly] on our [wealth], but in reverse, our economy also relies a lot on them. It's simply a 2 way street.

    So, there are three main solutions to this problem: 1). Americans need to support domestic goods; 2). American companies need to pull out of China (because it does not matter how hard they try to enforce their product standards, Chinese will always find a way to cheat the system. ... 3). Like ever, the U.S. government must do a better job inspecting imported goods (you can find more facts about this on CNN.com).


    The Wife
    I would add that the "2 way street" mentioned in the email is "2" lopsided. Americans depend heavily on Chinese goods, but China depends largely on American money. If there were a "falling out" between the two countries (or--heaven forbid--a war), this situation might hurt China in the world markets in the short term, but I postulate China would be relatively self-sufficient in staple goods while America would be crippled.

    Chinese products ... have been recalled for safety reasons in recent months

    Also, it interests me greatly that Vietnam, China's southern neighbor, doesn't rely as heavily on Chinese goods as America does. I think we can definitely learn something from that. Vietnam has thousands of years more experience dealing with the Chinese than we do.

    Ultimatly, though, how could we affect such a boycott? What must we do to achieve more economic independence and better quality goods?

    [+/-] read/hide the rest of this post

    Monday, August 13, 2007

    Chinese toys

    My wife and I won't buy any Chinese made toys. We went to Babies-R-Us the other day, registering for the bizillions of things kids need these days. Babies-R-Us had tons of toys ... and all of them were made in China. Due to the news out of China recently (lead painted toys, antifreeze in toothpaste, tires that blow up, less flavorful garlic, bad antibiotics in seafood, etc.), we decided not to buy them. Sure, the kid might have to do without Thomas the train, but at least he won't be retarded from sucking the lead paint.

    So, let's teach everyone a lesson. Boycott.
    Today Zhang Shu Hong, co-owner of the big Chinese toy company behind the American toy recalls, committed suicide. I'm not surprised. In fact, I'm gonna say what a lot of you are thinking. I'm glad he did it.

    I'm definitely not weeping for him. In an effort to make a buck, he endangered millions of children. However, this is good news for him. In Chinese culture, a disgraced person of high status can save face by committing suicide -- a practice similar to the more well known Seppuku by Japanese samurai. So, although western culture looks on suicide as a cheap escape, a dishonorable way to shirk your responsibilities, in his culture it was the honorable way of fessing up to your super-big mistake. That is why I am glad he did it, and honored that he would own up to it, instead of shifting blame down the food chain.

    That said, guilt is by no means his and his alone. His best friend sold him the lead paint. If anyone is dishonored by this whole fiasco, it's the friend. Where is he, and why doesn't he have the balls courage to own up to his greed and huge mistake through suicide? He dishonors not only his family and China, but children all over the world because he won't take responsibility for it.

    Also, American companies need to shoulder the blame too. We should not let them off the hook. In a desperate move to put prices over quality, American companies rushed to China knowing FULL WELL what that meant -- cheap labor, zero governmental controls. Now their greed has come back to bite us. We should punish them with our pocketbooks.

    We should punish our government for not doing what it's supposed to do. I'm not asking for anything ground-breaking, like doing something NEW, just enforcing the laws already on the books. If the American government actually searched more containers than not, we'd doubtless find more Chinese goods substandard. We need to hold our leaders accountable with our votes and our political contributions. If they won't do what they're supposed to, they won't be back in Washington, D.C.

    My wife and I won't buy any Chinese-made toys
    China's in an interesting position these days. Through rampant stealing and copying of products, and impoverishing its people relative to its neighbors, China has established itself as a low-cost manufacturer of goods the western world needs. However, that position comes with western responsibilities with which the Chinese aren't experienced. Now that China wants to be respected, it must bring quality to the table. The Communist government has done little to enforce quality, (or intellectual property rights for that matter) but must do both for the western world to look upon it as an equal.

    So, let's teach everyone a lesson. Boycott. Stop buying goods from the AMERICAN companies that signed that Faustian deal and endangered you or your child. Stop buying goods made in CHINA, because only loss of face and shrinking exports will force China to enact labor laws that will better protect consumers (and probably improve the lives of the working class in China). Vote out incumbents this election (either party) to show our POLITICIANS we're serious about them doing their job seriously.

    Then, maybe, Zhang's friend will hang himself too.