I, like many people, have been getting very creeped out by what is going on with the Chinese imports lately. I generally do my best to avoid products from China in favor of locally made goods. I was doing this before I heard about all the fake ingredients, poisonings and deaths related to Chinese exports just for the fact that Chinese companies were stealing manufacturing jobs from Europe. Sometimes it’s not possible to find anything that is NOT made in China (my recent search for running shoes was very difficult). But in general, I am boycotting products manufactured in this country.
The Chinese manufacturing industry is clearly out of control, and they have no effective quality regulations in place. Let’s just see what they’ve done this year and in recent years.
Hmm. Idealistic Communists? Or Capitalist Corporate Robber Barons R Them?
2006 Poisoned thousands of pets to death in the USA and Canada (and who knows where else) by selling PURPOSEFULLY contaminated ‘wheat gluten’ and ‘rice gluten’ to pet food companies. The special ingredient was melamine, which made the gluten look like it had more protein when it was tested. It also happened to be toxic and caused kidney failure in cats and dogs all over north America.
I personally hate the pet food industry in general (it’s already bad enough that the industry exists only as a way for giant food companies to use up their ‘not fit for human consumption’ waste) but this got ridiculous. Anyhow, I never feed my animals commercial pet food – but unfortunately most people do. Friends of mine in the US had pets who died from this – the numbers of official deaths were drastically underreported in the media compared to what you can read on any pet lover’s forum or message boards (not all people took their dead animals in for official autopsies, lack of national official tracking/reporting process etc.).
This toxin also made it into the human food chain in North America, since these same Chinese manufactured ingredients were used to feed pigs and fish in fish farms (even more reason to GO VEGAN).
Chinese companies poisoned people in Panama, Nicaragua, Guatamala and apparently the poor in the USA (it was found in dollar stores and prisons) with toothpaste which used DEG ( a type of antifreeze) as one of the ingredients, killing several people and sickening many others. China denied the allegations. This denial seems to be a pattern (they also denied melamine was toxic!).
Then Chinese companies shipped monkfish that turned out to be toxic pufferfish, in 2002 sent Mercury laced eel to Korea, drug-laced frozen eel (pesticides), filthy fish etc., juice made with unsafe color additives, watered-down artificially colored wine (quelle horreur!!). This article also lists China’s problems including inspections of companies banned from exporting their products who were producing mushrooms, rice cakes, tinned pears, fake bottled water, pork tainted with banned feed additives, industrial dyes used to color egg yoks red, toy trains decorated with lead paint. This is just what was found by Chinese or US authorities. And they don’t and can’t possibly test every shipment that comes into the country.
Does it ever end with this unregulated corrupt corporate nation???? They executed the man who was the former head of it’s food and drug agency in early July 2007 (clearly a scapegoat) as if to say ‘ we are serious’ and are fixing things. But it seems that corruption is simply the way to do business in China – the rule is to get away with whatever you can to profit as much as possible, at whatever the cost in lives of any creature – rather than it being the exception.
Chinese companies then killed their own babies with fake Nestle baby formula that had no nutrients. The children died of starvation.
This month (August 2007) we find Chinese exported millions of pounts of farm raised fish that was contaminated w/heavy metals and anti-biotics and other poisons onto the US market. The FDA was supposed to inspect the food from China, based on recent more stringent regulations issued on the quality control of Chinese imports but somehow ‘forgot’ to inspect every shipment and it’s on shelves now. Read your labels before buying seafood!
And that’s not all! July 2007 found Chinese manufactured fake blood protein sent to their own Chinese hospitals (killed at least 1 man) and excessive additives and preservatives in children’s snacks all over China. The snacks included soft drinks, candied fruit, gelatine desserts and some crackers, and samples were taken from 70 supermarkets in several cities in China – 40% exceeded regulation limits! What does the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman say? He blames the media! (Of course!! Why without the media, the corporations growing the Chinese economy so quickly could more easily poison people for profit and GET AWAY WITH IT!) “I think it would be better if the media would stop playing up this issue” says Qin Gang. Good god. Yes, that’s the answer, bury your heads in the sand and just stick your ass even further out for the corporate robber barons to bugger you deeper dude!
We (but mostly the Chinese laborers) seem to be living in a new version of Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel THE JUNGLE. His novel was one of the reasons that regulations on food quality started to (finally) get passed in the USA. I guess it took about 80 years, but the kinds of people who wanted to make profit at any cost and who were were responsible for that type of production apparently found a way around US regulations – by imporation.
It Gets Even Worse (!)
Let’s see, what else? …… What else?!? What else do you need to hear about? What will it take before countries who are accepting Chinese exports through their borders and into their homes and bodies will take some major actions and simply stop the ill health and deaths associated with imported food/drugs/toys from China until Chinese companies clean up their acts in a demonstrable fashion!?
China has managed to steal loads and loads of manufacturing jobs from the US, Canada and Europe. Supposedly they could produce better goods at cheaper prices. Well it turns out this was in fact a lie. They are now killing off their customers by using cheap toxic ingredients in the manufacturing process to cut costs and drive up profits. And add that their crappy low slave-labor wages – no wonder their shit is so cheap!
But this is all OK we are told – it’s not affecting the our economy, no not at all. So continue to enjoy your job as a Walmart sales clerk (selling lots of imported Chinese goods), because that is about all that is left as jobs for much of middle America. The rich in the US are getting richer (because my guess is they are still the CEOs of the corporations doing the import business with China) and the poor are getting poorer (all the good wages earned in skilled manufacturing jobs are disappearing). In fact, Worldwatch states that of all high income (ie first world) nations, the USA has the MOST disparity between rich and poor with 30% of the income in the hands of the richest 10% of the country, and only 1.8% !!!!!!!!!! going to the poorest 10% of the country. We are actually worse off in this way than India. I live in France now and I salut yes absolutely SALUT France’s protectionist policies around their own products, farms, jobs and economy. It has kept the country on an even keel and you simply do not see the destitute masses that you do in the large cities of the US, and especially you do not see the rural poverty that you see in the USA – family farms here still exist and prosper. The US should go back to a bit more pride in their own food and labor, and the people need to DEMAND from their government that it stop catering to the wealthiest 10% of the population and start to take better care of the other 90% instead.
OK – so you want more, you say? More evidence that something must change DRASTICALLY around our trade policies with China?
Let’s see about some other methods that ‘communist’ China (I use this term loosely because pure communism is supposed to be a popular movement that comes about ‘naturally’ by will of the people – and clearly what is going on there is NOT) has used to stay ahead of the manufacturing game and keep prices of their goods so cheap….
Well, they use slave labor to produce some of their products. Just search the internet on the term ‘China slave labor’ and see how many hits you get. Astounding. They also use child labor (child SLAVE labor no less) to produce some of their products. They have a heinous human rights record. And there is little press freedom and no full access to the Internet. But China is host to the next Olympic Games, right so I guess they are OK? (just don’t drink the water or eat the food when you travel there athletes!!!). Oh but the Chinese government are going to ‘crack down’ on this slave labor practice the government says (yeah, right … trying to look good just in time for the Games, perhaps??).
Just above the slave labor camps is a vast Chinese under-market where millions of Chinese work for meager wages under constantly abusive work conditions. Today China makes approximately 75 percent of the world’s toys. As noted by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), U.S. companies such as Disney, Mattel (maker of the Barbie doll), Hasbro, McDonald’s (Happy Meal toys), and Warner Brothers utilize factories in China to produce toys for virtually all major U.S. retailers, including Toys-R-Us, Wal-Mart, and Target, as well as for direct marketing. Still, the AHRC documents that working conditions in the Chinese toy manufacturing industry are abysmal, just one notch above 21st century slave trade standards. Consider this AHRC description of a Chinese toy worker’s story:
- Average age of a worker in a typical Chinese toy factory: between 12- and 15-years-old.
- Typical wage of workers in Asian toy factories: from as little as 6 cents an hour up to 40 cents an hour (in U.S. dollar terms).
- Typical number of hours worked in a day during busy periods: up to 19.
- Typical number of days worked per week: 6.
- Young workers work all day in 104-degree temperature, handling toxic glues, paints, and solvents (and lead apparently judging from the recent toy train recall).
- Workers weakened by illness and pregnant workers, who are supposed to have legal protection, are forced to quit.
- The typical profile of workers in these factories involves single young women migrants from rural areas to the cities in search of jobs.
And let us not forget that China has now admitted to the BBC that it harvest organs from prisoners and SELL them ofr a profit: http://propagandamatrix.com/articles/january2007/230107Harvesting.htm – oh yeah, just when you think it can’t possibly get more immoral, it does. Their industry approach even extends to health care for profit.
But I am sure some Western corporate CEOs who are doing business with China in other countries are raking in lots of money by doing business with them. And I believe it is big business and industry lobbyists who pay for our presidents and congress and senators to be elected, right? So, hey – I know what – let’s pass more favorable trade agreements with these cool Chinese guys, OK ? – they are doing a GREAT job!!! Heckuva job, really. Hey don’t forget – they (as of 2007 ) have the largest carbon footprint now of any nation – managing to outstrip the USA by using coal to produce electricity to power all this immoral industy.
What to do?
What to do then?? All the more reason to think globally – act locally. Read your labels and stop buying processed food. Processed food is bad for you even without Chinese companies putting extra chemicals in it. Make your own pet and baby food (it’s really easy!). Buy locally manufactured goods EVEN if they are more expensive. Buy fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market and talk to the farmer – ask them how they grow their food and buy from organic farms whenever you can, or support farmers who are trying to go organic. You don’t need to eat food shipped in full of poisons from 1/2 a world away to have a good meal and your washing machine will likely last longer and be easier to get repaired if you buy a brand from a local manufacturer.
Goods made locally in first world countries SHOULD be more expensive than Chinese goods, which are made with no quality control and fake ingredients, created by people who are not paid a living wage. Real food and real products cost real money. If everyone refuses outright to buy Chinese products it will help your own local economy and send a big loud message that shipping fake or poisonous goods is NOT the way to do business. Wages will stay stable and more people in our countries will have jobs. If Chinese companies want to poison their own people – that is for them to regulate internally. But don’t stand by and let them profit and prosper (over your dead body) by exporting their immorally manufactured (talk about bad karma) and potentially dangerous goods into your own home.