The rights of 44% of Chinese consumers, says the official Consumers’ Association, have been â€œseriously violatedâ€ in the past year. It has recommended a ten-point action plan to tackle the problem. The uninitiated would be forgiven for thinking that its campaign was aimed at local firms, which are notorious for churning out shoddy or dangerous goods. But much of the venom in the press, at any rate, is directed at big multinationals.
Read the whole thing. It’s very interesting and to my mind serves as an excellent example of the selective reporting one finds increasingly in China, as well as the selective criticism there. We all know domestic firms get exposed from time-to-time, but generally only when people die. On the other hand non-Chinese companies are put through a microscope. These are the sort of hypocritical comments I come across from too many Chinese (never at the same time, of course):
Foreign companies rip off workers, but domestic ones are fuelling the economy.
Foreign companies make imperfect goods, but domestic ones provide cheap things for people on a low budget.
Foreign companies are neo-colonialist exploiters, but domestic ones are unfairly attacked by the evil Westerners because they cannot compete and they hate China.
Here’s the summary at the end.
Makers of designer goods, of course, are no more infallible than other firms, but the companies concerned cannot help wondering whether they are victims of a new form of protectionismâ€”bad publicity.
It’s either that or some sort of commerical xenophobia spread by the populist media. Either way it isn’t good.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.