• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    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.


    Serena said...

    I was about to post my own rant about China toymakers when I came across this blog.. and I just want to say I think you have said exactly what needed to be said.
    You should copy this blog and send it to all the national newspapers.
    Because sadly, in a couple of months it will be holiday time and people will be out buying toys left and right, not even wondering where they came from or what damage they might do to their trusting children.

    Thank you kindly.
    Serena Matthews

    Anonymous said...

    Let's face the truth - 90% of the stuff around you are made in China. Who to blame, Chinese are only the manufacturer. American companies import them are responsible for quality control and design flaws. There are thousands thousands of factories in China it's importer's job to pick good ones.

    Triet said...

    You're right, a lot of things do come from China -- but not everything.

    You're also right, American companies are responsible for quality control and design flaws.

    That is precisely why we must boycott Chinese goods. By boycotting Chinese goods we aren't saying Chinese people can't make good toys, or are bad people, but we are -- by extension -- boycotting all American companies that have blindly let Chinese manufacturers cut corners. This will do two things:

    1. diversify the American economy on a macro scale (i.e. manufacturing in different countries), and
    2. punish the companies in the short term for their improprieties, because no American company can shift gears that fast, and Chinese manufacturers are not faultless in their disregard for safety.

    TiredintheUSA said...

    What is the role of the U.S. government? Isn't it supposed to protect us from toxic contaminants in our food supply and in our children's toys? Or is it just there to take over Middle Eastern countries?

    Triet said...

    The federal government is supposed to act as an intermediary between the states and foreign nations on matters of sovereignty and security.

    So yes, I think the role of the government is most definitely to "protect us from toxic contaminants in our food supply and in our children's toys" through the effective use of monitoring imports and holding companies/countries accountable for breaking federal law.

    I think the increasing amount of imports that are being caught, or products recalled, shows that increased surveillance (more than increasing poor products) is working. Too bad the government hasn't done that from the beginning.

    A.R.G. Lion said...

    People keep pointing fingers at the wrong problem. The place where all these 'problems' stem from is known as the corporate profit margin. And that problem goes way back. A prime example; the exploding Pinto. 7 cents per unit could have kept the car from exploding but that would have cut into the profit margin.

    Corporations award contracts to the lowest bidder as a rule which doesn't always mean the best of materials goes into the production process because the manufacturer also has their eye on the profit margin too.