I can’t wait to go back to China. As a martial artist, I marvel at Chinese culture. And I am proud that much of my approach to life was built around the discipline therein.
The people of China are marvels, to say the least. Their study of environment and observational nature are second to none. Look at this video of Wuhan and you get an understanding of the capabilities of China.
I bet you after looking at this video you have a completely different idea of Wuhan. Not exactly the place one would think originated a pandemic.
But China conceals a dirty underbelly.
Culturally very different from the United States and much of the rest of the world, some Chinese people continue to use the old ways of doing things. Added to this group are the unscrupulous people who will do anything to escape desperate lives. These criminals cut corners and bring shame to the proud people of China.
Time documented problems that occur in China. This generally occurs when drive for profit intersects with Old China.
In 2008, China’s largest provider of milk powder recalled 700 tons of baby formula after one child died and more than 50 others developed kidney problems. Melamine, a chemical used in the making of plastic, was found in the baby formula; it later emerged that unscrupulous manufacturers had been adding it to food products to cheaply boost protein values. Two men were eventually sentenced to death for their role in the scam.
The revelations only further damaged China’s reputation in production. Melamine had been a problem a year earlier, in March 2007, when the FDA recalled more than 60 million cans of cat and dog food after the death of 14 pets. In addition to spoiling food, Chinese-made toys were recalled later in 2007; Mattel took several of its Barbie and Polly Pocket products off the shelves because of concerns over toxic lead paint and hazardous magnet parts.
Children died, pets died, and many others have injuries they will deal with lifelong.
But there are more examples, like the flip-flops that left scars on a woman’s feet. Cracked reported:
I suspect the popularity of flip-flops has something to do with the fact that you can buy about six pairs for a buck at most stores, and this is equally true of Walmart. Unfortunately for Walmart and your feet, those flip-flops were of course made in China, where nothing is as it seems! In this case, where it seems like flip-flops should be made of maybe plastic and rubber, someone in China opted to make them from benzene and the angry spirits of dead Mogwai.
The result was chronicled back in 2007 on the blog of Kerry Stiles (wicked name), who photographed her feet after wearing the flip-flops and developing a wicked rash/chemical burn that corresponded to the straps of her flip-flops. Over the course of a number of photos, you can watch her skin redden, bubble, lizardify, scab, slough, necrotize, and declare war on all things that walk in the light and embrace goodness.
How’s that for a chemical tan for your feet?!
And what of the “Made in China” food that permeates almost every supermarket in America. Cracked reported:
In my town, there’s a river that runs right through the center of everything and is pretty impressive at some points, with waterfalls, lots of wildfowl, and all that nature-type crap people love. It’s also notoriously polluted, and for as long as I can remember, people have joked about how awful it would be to eat any fish you caught in the river, because the decay of the environment around us is worth a chuckle or two. But then in China they raise fish in untreated sewage, so check and mate.
It’s not difficult to find videos of products shipped from China that were unfit for consumption. Be happy I saved you from videos I found.
But it’s not just food, as we found out in 2011.
Back in 2011, China had been manufacturing some pogo sticks, which for the sake of argument we’ll assume were all made from lead paint, but which also had an issue with the frame. The bottom of the frame tube could break. Based on what I read, I think this is pretty much what happened — you get on the pogo stick, you start to pogo around. You’re saying “pogo, pogo, pogo” in your head each time you bounce up and down. Then, on one fateful “po-,” the stick buckles like a pilgrim’s shoe and your feet keep hurtling toward the ground as the rest of the stick flies up and plants an aluminum kiss square in the center of your face.
This resulted in 123 reported injuries, mostly broken teeth and busted-ass faces. The entire run of 169,000 pogo sticks was recalled, but hopefully one or two are still out there, held in rooms like that one from the movie The Conjuring where the psychics kept the creepy doll, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to run afoul of it.
While there are many other examples, I leave you with one of my favorites.
A company in China marketed a brand of skin cream that was widely used to treat eczema in babies. The ingredients supposedly consisted of 25 all-natural products. However, the manufacturer laced the cream with an extremely dangerous (particularly for infants and children) steroid hormone.
The steroid should be recommended by a licensed physician. He would advise you to use the drug sparingly and not for a long time. Further, it should not be used by children at all.
And here’s why you would be warned.
The steroid used in the ointment can cause things like excessive hair growth in women and in children. Ironically, the ointment can induce hair loss. Also, it can cause Cushing’s syndrome, which is characterized by a big, swollen, moon-shaped face. Other side effects include emotional instability, acne, muscle weakening, and truncal obesity–truly junk in the trunk. Finally, it can cause buffalo hump–that big boss that appears on the upper back and neck of people.
So much for “natural products”.
America needs to consider the source in bringing certain products into the country. And while we certainly should use China as a trading partner on some items, on others we might look to alternative sources.