July 05, 2007

China: Where Image is Everything

Guardian Unlimited: China: Media Is Hyping Safety Issues

BEIJING (AP) - China warned the media Tuesday against exaggerating its food safety problems and stirring consumer panic, even as officials announced dozens of snacks for children had failed standards and more fake blood protein was found in hospitals.

China's dismal product safety record - both within and outside its borders - has increasingly come under the spotlight as its goods make their way through global markets. Major buyers such as the United States, Japan, and the European Union have pushed Beijing to improve inspections.

``I think it would be better if the media would stop playing up this issue,'' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular news briefing. He warned the widespread media coverage would ``lead to panic among consumers.''


Fears that China's chronic food safety problems were going global surfaced earlier this year with the deaths of dogs and cats in North America blamed on Chinese wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine.

U.S. authorities have also turned away or recalled toxic fish, juice containing unsafe color additives and popular toy trains decorated with lead paint. Chinese-made toothpaste has been banned by numerous countries for containing diethylene glycol, a toxic ingredient often found in antifreeze.

Qin acknowledged there are ``some illegal and unscrupulous retailers'' and also attributed the problems to differences between China's monitoring systems and those of other countries.

I heard about this story on CNN Headline News this morning and I was struck again by China's preoccupation with their image, but of course they couch it in terms as if they are concerned about "panic" among the public.

Riddle me this: Who cares if the public panics and stops buying products made in China?

Do you think it's the public? No. Do you think it's the government of any relatively free countries? No.

It's a China!

If you read the rest of the article, they cite NUMEROUS examples of how products made in China fail minimum standards for health and safety. And we're not talking about band aids that are just a little too sticky. We're talking about toothpaste that contains poison and bad blood plasma. We're talking about acts of criminal negligence and fraud.

Consumers have a right to know about these things and should be left to manage their panic on their own.

The other part of this story that strikes me as odd is the use of the term "warned." "China warned the media"

Warned them about what? What will happen if they don't listen?

Typical of The People's Republic of China to threaten the media for reporting on the very real threat their products present to consumers. Lest we forget: China is a communist state, a tyranny. They maintain their power only by violence and fraud and millions are suffering the consequences.

Freedom-minded companies should not do business with Chinese companies or the Chinese government.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at July 5, 2007 04:52 PM | TrackBack
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