“Not Made in China”

Interesting. The sign has all kinds of implications, though we’d probably never agree on what they are.

______________

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.

The Discussion: 31 Comments

It’s just clever marketing. No implications that I see.

April 27, 2007 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

Actually, this pet food thing – if you aren’t in the States, I don’t know how much press it’s gotten – people are extremely angry about it. It’s interesting because it points to much larger problems with our food supply and issues around globalization – but just as the crackdown on dogs in China mobilized many middle class people in China, this contamination scandal hits people in the States in a way that they really feel it.

Of course the FDA and the larger politics of globalization and industrial food manufacture are as culpable as Chinese manufacturers who cut corners and adulterate their products – but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another one of those tipping points that causes a backlash.

April 27, 2007 @ 4:04 pm | Comment

Dave, when you put up an ad for a product with the key selling point being the fact that it is “not made in China,” there is, I think, a pretty strong implication, namely that there’s something negative about things made in China, or at least something more positive about things made elsewhere. After all, it doesn’t say Made in the USA. it could have been made anywhere, with the implication that anywhere is better than China.

Lisa, i will be on NPR’s show Marketplace Friday afternoon in the US talking about the pet food issue (and this time they promised me it would play; my earlier interview on Chinese signage got bumped and will play later).

April 27, 2007 @ 6:05 pm | Comment

Funny – I shot a similar picture just days ago in HK.
See : http://www.ze-lab.com/zelab/2007/04/100_made_in_chi.html

April 27, 2007 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

I thought it was mainly a cute word play. But I do recall having mixed feelings when, several years ago, I went to buy a colonial-style table and desk in an “Americana” store and found that the best-quality items (quality wood, good craftsmanship) were made in Taiwan.

April 27, 2007 @ 10:20 pm | Comment

Brand new car; same old Bricklin by Kevin Steel

http://www.westernstandard.ca/website/index.cfm?page=article&article_id=597&p
agenumber=1

Excerpt:
Last year, Anhui factories were caught making substandard baby formula that led
to deformities in 200 infants and 50 deaths. Anhui officials reportedly knew
about the fake baby milk for at least 11 months but failed to act. A report
from a Chinese dissident publication, The Epoch Times, quoted an area health
department manager, Zhao Jianguo, admitting that the province’s hunger for
industrial growth at all costs made them turn a blind eye to the dangers. “We
loosened the requirements, because of the pursuit for foreign investment,” Zhao
said. Anhui Communist provincial party secretary, Wang Taihua, is also the
target of a lawsuit filed in Boston last year by practitioners of Falun Gong, a
religion outlawed in China, alleging murder, torture and genocide at the Female
Labour Re-Education Camp and mental hospitals in the province.

April 28, 2007 @ 12:55 am | Comment

The low cost of products made with slave labor has attracted great demand for them around the world. For corrupt officials, the forced labor camps are such a profitable business that they care little that the millions of inmates in the estimated 1,200 camps nationwide have never had a trial or a chance to defend their innocence.

http://www.flghrwg.net/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1461&Itemid=

“”"I was imprisoned between November 2000 and November 2001 for refusing to give up practicing Falun Gong. During that period of time, I was held in servitude at the Tuanhe Prisoner Dispatch Center and the Xin’an Forced Labor Camp in Beijing.

Products Made

1. Beijing Tuanhe Prisoner Dispatch Center
* Packaged large quantities of disposable chopsticks. Most of them were for use in restaurants and hotels, while some were exported.
* Made “Florence Gift Packages”
2. Beijing Xin’an Labor Camp
* Packaged large quantities of disposable chopsticks. Most of them were for use in restaurants and hotels, while some were exported.
* Knit sweaters.
* Knit woolen gloves (exported to Europe).
* Crocheted cushions for tea sets.
* Crocheted hats for a company in Qinghe Township, Beijing.
* Knit seat cushions.
* Re-processed sweaters; removed sundries from yarn.
* Made large quantities of slippers. The job was mainly gluing the sole and the instep together, and the labor camp demanded a high-quality product. When I was there, it was the hottest time of the summer. Many practitioners and I were working in our prison cells. Working in a humid prison cell full of irritating glue odors was suffocating. We worked until midnight or one o’clock in the morning every time there was a shipment.
* Made stuffed animals, such as rabbits, bears, dolphins, penguins, etc. Major steps included putting the stuffing material inside, stitching the doll together, sewing the eyes, stitching the mouth, etc.”"”"”"”

April 28, 2007 @ 1:24 am | Comment

The ad is by a historic Maine furniture manufacturer that is proud of its locally produced products. They’re aware that consumers have noticed that much of the cabinetry sold by Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and other American companies is imported from China. I personally don’t admire the contemporary imports but if you take the time to browse through some of the web sites that sell rustic (but hardly antique) Chinese country furniture you can find some incredible bargain priced pieces that are a hell of a lot more interesting than anything that Chilton is selling.

April 28, 2007 @ 2:40 am | Comment

@ o’lisa

That is my thought, and concern, as well. Coming as the anger over the contaminated pet food — reportedly contaminated by wheat gluten from China — continues, my sense is that it might be the early signs of a China backlash. I hope I’m/we’re wrong in this apprehension. I say it bears watching, at least.

The anger at our own FDA and individual manufacturers of pet food is also a factor in the entire issue, as much, if not more, than the anger at a possibly deliberate corruption of the content of the imported wheat gluten.

I believe this story is still developing and we’ll get more information as time goes by.

April 28, 2007 @ 4:41 am | Comment

Hmm, I see an interview segment about tracking melanine in China but you aren’t mentioned, Richard…I’ll keep checking.

April 28, 2007 @ 5:13 am | Comment

well, people do love cheap labor. until the they realize that the 50%+ price reduction isn’t always just there magically.

April 28, 2007 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

The melamin thing is starting to turn up in food meant for human consumption, as pointed out in WSJ a couple of days ago.

That is going to be the tipping point because the US has so much food that much of the excess rots while we buy polluted, substandard garbage from China to put into our bodies…and US farmers loose out on the extra income as well.
Buying wheat and processed foods from China is absolutely nothing but a political handout for Beijing and expat exporters. They can both suck a Sudan Red egg.

US and Japanese PC and laptop makers have been telling N. American, Japanese, Korean and EU computer makers that “buying Lenovo supports the PLA” which is true and all Lenovo can do is whine about it.

I and others I know go out of our way to buy things NOT made in China including everyday use items.

April 28, 2007 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

yes, maybe people will learn things about intelligent consumerism and cost-efficiency.

“substandard garbage from China to put into our bodies”

on the bright side, it’s not like any of the blue whales you see trundling out various mcdonald’s really have all that much to lose.

April 28, 2007 @ 8:46 pm | Comment

And what is wrong with “supporting the PLA”?? Does any product purchsaed support that country’s army? What a silly point. Such poor logic. The parties involved are best served by working import export problems out.

April 28, 2007 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

nhyrc has a boner for the “PLGay” as he calls them, so I suppose so.

April 28, 2007 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Hi, I cannot post in the forum anymore, so I’ll post here.

This post wants to express this opinion, and the opinion is: a bad society produces a lot of great artistic works, and a good society produces very few good artistic works. I’d like to call this the theory of artistic inversion.

I remember in the mid to late 80′s, when American hollywood films first got introduced to Chinese cinemas, all of us watched American movies in wonder and when we left the theather, we used to exlaim, “Those American movies are so good! Compared to them, our movies are crap!”. I still remember the American movies I watched in China like the Terminator and Bridges of Madison County. Those were great movies.

But as I lived in America all these years, I realized that the reason American movies are so good and American artisitc works are so good, is that America is fundamentally a bad society. If America were a good society, then its artistic works would not be so good.

First, let’s look at a good society. In a good society, there’s very little prostitution, very few drug users, very few murders, very little gap between rich and poor, people live in harmony, neighbors don’t fight, families don’t get divorced, all education is free, all housing is inexpensive, medicare is universal and free, environment is clean. Under this society, what kind of movies do you think it can produce that will draw in audiences? For movie makers, there simply won’t exist enough material from the society to draw inspirations on. There’ll be no good crime thrillers, no good gangster films, no good disaster films, no good terrorist films, no good spying films, etc. Even the worst bad guys in a films would be a relatively good, law-abiding guy. How boring and unexciting would such films be!

If you look at great writers in the past, like Balzac, Hugo, Tolstoy, Gorky, Dickens, etc. Their works were famous and good because they lived under very bad societies and harsh times. All of their works were about the sufferings of the people and the dark parts of the society. If they lived in hamonious and good societies, then they wouldn’t have the chance to show their talents.

For example, the UK has this famous movie series called “007″. This is a very good series and I enjoy all the movies in this series. But China does not have the ability to produce a similar series. Why? Well because the Chinese society is already better than the British society. There’s no cold war against China by any country, no evil terrorists trying to blow up buildings in China or steal its nuclear devices, no spies trying to assasinate Chinese leaders. So there’s simply no inspiration and material draw on in the Chinese society. So how can China make a similarly good series like “007″? Of course it cannot.

If a Chinese director were to go to America or Britain, then of course he’ll also be able to produce many exciting and high quality movies. But if he were to go to North Korea or Iran, he would not be able to produce anything good or exciting.

In other words, my original opinion that “a good society produces very few good artisitic works” can be re-stated as “a good society is a boring society. if you want an exciting society, it must be a bad society.”

But the problem is, people living in a good society would quickly be bored, and being bored leads them to admire and envy the bad societies. Especially when they watch those cop chases, murders, explosions, in movies produced by the bad societies, they feel an illusion that those societies are good societies. Therefore, they’ll want to abandon their current good boring society to chase after a bad exciting society. And the bad societies always tempt the people of the good societies to feel that their society is too boring, too unexciting. This is simply the nature of human beings. For example, women feel bored with gentle, peaceful and law-abiding men. Many women seek out criminals, rapists, and gangsters. The bad societies would say “Look our exciting our movies and our artisitc works are, aren’t you envious of us!”. And as a result, the good societies collapse because of such temptations. The USSR was a most recent example of such.

April 29, 2007 @ 1:25 am | Comment

Okay, that’s a little wacky.

How do you explain the high quality of the contemporary Chinese art scene? Contemporary Chinese art, which frequently expresses themes of alienation and deals with wrenching social change, has become world-renowned and is fetching record-breaking prices.

I should mention that much of that work has a political aspect.

So either China is not a “good” society or this theory is pretty much off.

I would argue that popular movies nowadays are rarely examples of “good art” anyway.

Actually I’d suggest you rent the DVD “Third Man,” a truly excellent post-WW2 noir film starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles. The Orson Welles character, a shady black marketeer, has a great speech in which he talks about how the disruption and violence of Renaissance Europe produced all of this incredible art and culture. Then you’ve got Switzerland – “400 years of peace and what do they have to show for it? The Cuckoo clock.”

April 29, 2007 @ 2:41 am | Comment

“What a silly point. Such poor logic. The parties involved are best served by working import export problems out.”

Not really, Lenovo’s Chinese parent company is majority owned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, itself the official R&D branch of the PLgay and PAPsmear.

As for the death and suffering caused by China:’
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18335887/wid/11915773?GT1=9246

WASHINGTON – Several hundred of the 6,000 hogs that may have eaten contaminated pet food are believed to have entered the food supply for humans, the government said Thursday. The potential risk to human health was said to be very low.

The government told the three states involved it would not allow meat from any of the hogs that ate the feed to enter the food supply.

No more than 345 hogs from farms in California, New York and South Carolina are involved, according to the Agriculture Department. It appears the large majority of the hogs that may have been exposed are still on the farms where they are being raised, spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said.

Story continues below ↓
——————————————————————————–
advertisement

——————————————————————————–

Salvaged pet food from companies known or suspected of using a tainted ingredient was shipped to hog farms in seven states for use as feed.

The government will compensate farmers if they kill those hogs, said Kenneth Peterson of department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The department knew of no countries moving to suspend imports of U.S. pork products.

Also, a poultry feed mill in an eighth state, Missouri, also received possibly contaminated pet food scraps left over from production. The fate of the feed made from that waste was under investigation.

The pet food sent to the farms later was discovered to have an ingredient, rice protein concentrate, imported from China that was tainted by an industrial chemical, melamine. Testing also revealed other related and similarly banned compounds, including cyanuric acid. Food and Drug Administration inspectors were preparing to visit China as part of the agency’s investigation.

Melamine is not considered a human health concern. But there is no scientific data on the health effects of melamine combined with the other compounds, said David Elder, director of enforcement for the FDA.

Likelihood of human illness low
Still, the FDA and Agriculture Department believe the likelihood of someone becoming ill after eating pork from hogs fed contaminated feed is very low. Meanwhile, the University of California, Davis, is developing a test to measure melamine levels in tissue, Andrews said.

Since mid-March, pet food companies have recalled more than 100 brands of dog and cat food and treats; more recalls were announced Thursday. An unknown number of cats and dogs have fallen ill or died after eating products made with contaminated rice protein concentrate or a second tainted ingredient, wheat gluten.

Some pet food, while unsuitable for sale for that purpose, was still considered safe for animals to eat as it had not been recalled at the time it was forwarded to hog farms. Its use at hog farms raised the possibility that melamine entered the human food supply.

The department on Thursday released the following state-by-state breakdown of its investigation into farms thought to have received the contaminated pet food for use as hog feed. The farms were not identified.

Click for related content
More pet food made with tainted protein pulled
Pet-food tainting raises food-safety questions
Hogs quarantined after eating tainted pet food
Discuss the possible spiking of pet food

From a literary sense, the CCP is the House Harkonnen and China is Geidi Prime.

April 29, 2007 @ 2:50 am | Comment

@Math – little tip for you.
Your writing is interesting, and I don’t think your logic is any more messed up than anyone else’s – though it is messed up, see lisa’s point.
But on forums that are not occupied mainly by mainland nationalists, conclusions like “my country is better than yours” are just a big no no.
They make us (all rational people and most westerners) think you’re a crackpot.

Actually, rereading your post, you are just a crackpot. Levels of prostitution in the US and China? Free education? Fighting neighbors? Bad Iranian cinema? And were you actually trying to imply there that Iran and North Korea have “good societies”?

I think I’ve been had. You’re a wind-up.

April 30, 2007 @ 10:40 am | Comment

Math’s theory is really corny. But otherlisa, the high price Chinese contemplate art pieces are fetching nowadays is more due to China’s increasing wealth, and more importantly the likely continuing growth of wealth in the future. Many who are buying these art pieces are pure speculators. To a less degree, Indian contemplate art is getting hotter.

April 30, 2007 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

Not so sure, JXie. The biggest collectors of contemporary Chinese art are foreigners, though finally the local market is beginning to catch up. I have friends involved with the scene, and although there is certainly an element of speculation, a lot of the art is considered significant.

April 30, 2007 @ 5:01 pm | Comment

Exactly, otherlisa. Many major foreign business publications, such as Forbes, Businessweek, have had extensive coverage on Chinese contemporary art. The main theme is speculation on the future price.

What is to say a Picasso masterpiece worth $100 mil or $100k? There is no intrinsic pricing mechanism built in in art appraisal. What’s a fair price is more about what the next buyer would potentially pay, than anything else.

You have been to China since a long time ago, and understandably Chinese contemplate art resonates with you (or me for that matter). It’s ultimately the collective wealth of the like of you & me that determines the price.

May 1, 2007 @ 4:55 am | Comment

Richard wrote:

“when you put up an ad for a product with the key selling point being the fact that it is “not made in China,” there is, I think, a pretty strong implication, namely that there’s something negative about things made in China”

The only negative I read into the ad is that so many things we buy are made in China. Even my fourth graders are aware of this in a neutral (not postive or negative) way. If the furniture is hand-crafted, then “not made in China” may just be a more vivid way of communicating that the products are not factory-made.

“In a good society, there’s very little prostitution, very few drug users, very few murders, very little gap between rich and poor, people live in harmony, neighbors don’t fight, families don’t get divorced, all education is free, all housing is inexpensive, medicare is universal and free, environment is clean. “

I think this is first time Math has been critical of China’s development, albeit in an indirect way.

May 2, 2007 @ 6:56 am | Comment

“The biggest collectors of contemporary Chinese art are foreigners”

In 100 years time they’ll be calling these collectors thieves and demanding the return of all pieces to the motherland – assuming there is still a motherland, that is.

May 2, 2007 @ 10:47 am | Comment

“In 100 years time they’ll be calling these collectors thieves and demanding the return of all pieces to the motherland – assuming there is still a motherland, that is.”

Are you stupid? Most of the antiques outside of China were looted, or looted and then pawned to someone for 2$.

May 2, 2007 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

richard wrote

“when you put up an ad for a product with the key selling point being the fact that it is “not made in China,” there is, I think, a pretty strong implication, namely that there’s something negative about things made in China”

sonagi wrote,

The only negative I read into the ad is that so many things we buy are made in China. Even my fourth graders are aware of this in a neutral (not postive or negative) way. If the furniture is hand-crafted, then “not made in China” may just be a more vivid way of communicating that the products are not factory-made.

There are for sure implications of wanting to buy something not made in China. You’d have to be living in a cave or under the CCP to not know that

-Americans arent to fond of slave labour and would not want to support it (if it wasnt so temptatiously cheap)

-America is selling out its economy to another country which has long tern negative implications

-selling out your economy and using “the worlds factory” in a country that tramples human rights is not good. I think most Americans would not want to sell their economy to a country with so much lust for political persuasion, if only people understood what was going on behind closed doors.The more economic dependency on China, the more political coercion the CCP can accomplish which is terrifying.

May 3, 2007 @ 6:03 am | Comment

“-Americans arent to fond of slave labour”

good one.

May 3, 2007 @ 6:23 am | Comment

Any corporation is fond of slave labor, Americans aren’t.

May 3, 2007 @ 11:29 am | Comment

Chinese contemporary art and high quality don’t go hand in hand…Slap a “traditional” Chinese them or art technique alongside some Commie kitsch or modern element and collect your huge paycheck because some stupid foreigner is willing to lay down thousands of dollars for something they and their little circle deem “edgy.” There is so much crap being sold for big money because it has an overt “political” message, while the high quality and more interesting works are being passed up…

As to the actual ad, we’re talking about a very small company that has 2 stores in Maine and has been building furniture in Maine for over 100 years. Maine’s a state that has been hit pretty hard by globalization and the people there are concerned with buying local. I’m not sure where this ad was, but I’m guessing it was some local Maine or New England publication, no? Ithink the fact this is a local Maine institution is something most people in the viewing audience of this ad would know, and the “not Made in China” line just works as a nice play on words that isn’t necessarily an attack on China (though it may earn them points with a certain segment of the population), but more highlighting that its made locally.

May 4, 2007 @ 12:09 pm | Comment

“contemporary art and high quality don’t go hand in hand”

you’re learning this now? urine-Jesus and feces-Mary have a lot to tell you.

modern art makes me sad.

May 4, 2007 @ 1:07 pm | Comment

“”"”"”"”"” urine-Jesus and feces-Mary have a lot to tell you.”"”"”"”"

What the heck?

Modern art makes me sad too

May 4, 2007 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.