Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jumping for Joy

I read an article that basically said that a lot of companies are coming back to the US or going to other countries instead of continuing to manufacture toys and other goods in China. Read the article here

Why would this make me jump for joy? Well besides the lead paint in toys, the cheap labor force which reduces US manufacturing jobs, and carbon emissions from shipping, it's China's continued civil rights abuses that we are supporting by buying their cheap well...crap.

Let me start from the beginning, because as with everything in my life, there is a story. When I first moved to where I live currently (which was seven years ago, wow time flies), my first roommate was Taiwanese. When we first met, she felt awkward speaking English (it's normal for anyone who speaks a language and then travels to that country). We didn't speak to each other for a little while, but then when she grew more comfortable, we talked a lot. She was a business major and I was a music major. I learned that she cooked really healthy and that she was obsessed with staying pale and skinny (despite the fact that she made me look like a tub of lard even though I'm totally a normal weight).

And anytime someone told her that she was Chinese, she would get annoyed. I'm not Chinese; I'm Taiwanese, she would say. To her it was really insulting. All Taiwanese consider themselves to be part of a free country. China calls Taiwan a "renegade state." She also felt uncomfortable around Chinese students. The Taiwanese community felt that the students were spying on them. In our talks about China vs. Taiwan, she vehemently told me to not buy Chinese products. If I wanted to buy anything, buy made in Taiwan.

She wasn't my only exposure. One of the girls from the Music department was from the special region of Macau. It's technically part of China but didn't become so until 1999. Before Chinese rule, Macau was part of Portugal. My friend held a Portuguese passport. She wasn't as opposed to China as my roommate was, but she pointed out that Macau was allowed privileges that the rest of China isn't privy to.

So I started digging. Every one knows about Tiananmen Square. But the US has broken its frozen relationship with the still very much communist country for trade. Right now we owe China quite a bit of money. Not only that but China also believes that it has the right to Tibet. Tibetans are not Chinese in culture at all. They speak a completely differently language. China came into Tibet under the guise of freeing the Tibetans. The Tibetans have basically been treated like second class citizens. They aren't allowed to teach their children about their culture and their children are forced into public schools where they are taught the Chinese language and culture.

Most recently, Google has had to negotiate with China to keep it's browser up and running. In China, searching is heavily restricted. You cannot search for things like Tiananmen Square. Google, an American based company, wants Chinese money but at the same time doesn't want to be a part of civil rights restrictions. There have been a number of hacks into several human right's activists stemming from China. Here's Google's blog explaining everything.

So what does this all mean: Bottom line every time we buy a Chinese product, we are supporting civil rights abuses. We are giving money to China so that they can continue to restrict their citizens, to occupy Tibet, and call Taiwan a "renegade state." So it has been my fervent prayer that we stop supporting China, but the only way to do so is to stop buying their cheap products and literally put them out of business or urge US based companies to set up manufacturing in countries that do not have civil rights abuses like Mexico. Or better yet, tell the US companies to set up shop back at home. Right now our economy is suffering. This would be a great way to boost it back.

While I know it's nearly impossible to not buying something that has been made in China, I urge you to try to avoid buying anything made in China. If you have the option, buy something made in the US or Mexico or Canada. It's easy enough. Look at the packaging or tag and it will tell you where the item is made. Looks like a need a new blogger button. Buy made in the USA.

I bet my blog or at least this post will be banned in China. Sad but true. Thanks for reading if you are able.

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