It maybe some months away but Christmas is coming and as this was a popular article both on our website and people taking the link and spreading the word, I have decided to add this to the blog to reach more people. Please remember ‘We are the people that run the engine if we decide to stop running the engine the car won’t work’. (John Harris www.tpuc.org)
In every major store you walk into from about October onwards, (but it gets earlier and earlier each year its ridiculous) you will find a mass of goods with the tag at the bottom saying, ‘Made in China’. In TX Maxx the designer store in the UK almost all the goods are made in China. Next is another store, as is Argos and countless others. It seems these goods have been thrust upon us in nearly every High Street store and why because they are cheap to make but at what cost!
It is important to put into perspective how much the UK, Europe and the US import from China. Based on information from the Department of Trade and Industry, in 2007 Britain alone imported £16 billion worth of goods from China and to get these goods to us 33,000 containers leave Yantian per day bringing in 1,886,000 Christmas decorations, of that are 1,350,000 boxes of crackers and 12,800 MP3 and thousands of other goods including trees, lights – what Britain exports to China is minimal and the empty containers are sent back on ships that can hold a 44 mile long train. America alone imported $205 billion of goods exporting just $41,230 million whereas back in 1983 imports and exports for the US and China was practically equal, standing at $3,855 million. Europe imported 1,916 billion euros worth of goods in 2006 and this is continually growing. Total foreign trade in 2007 was a massive 2.17 trillion dollars.
So what’s the problem you ask, we import a lot of cheap goods saving us money throughout the year and especially at Christmas
Human Rights Abuse
Well what is the matter is the cost of these imports on the people of China. China is renowned for its human rights abuses which include sweatshops, workers get paid pittance and work in appalling conditions, they have unprotected work clothes laying them susceptible to injury and toxic chemicals. The majority work a sixteen-hour day and many die from these conditions, yet there is no room to complain, there are countless others who can take their place to make a few Yuan to feed their family. Many of the factories are sourrounded by barbed wire and workers are often forced to sleep on floors and wake to continue their jobs. Many are unable to communicate with each other and often have to use sign language, pregnant female workers have been forced to get abortions and when some have refused they have worked up until the baby has been born – One of these places makes Ralph Loren T.Shirts! Other designer names that use sweatshops are D&G ( workers in China, making D&G bags, it is said by management, are paid £2 per hour, whether this is true or not, workers live and eat on the premises – D&G sell their bags for up to £1000 each) and Prada, Paul Smith – and yes it may say made in the uk or USA but if the garment is finished in one of these contries they can legally state it was manufactured there even though it wasn’t. The samje for foods, they can be made in another country butwhen it is imported to the country it is supplying to it can aslo state produced in the UK or USA etc.
There is such a high demand for toys, clothes and other products required by the western world especially in the run up to Christmas that the work is always there but there are no laws to safeguard and care for these people as long as we continue to buy these products and the governments turn a blind eye to human rights in China, nothing will change.
abuse by officials which go unreported, severe restrictions on freedom of speech and expression. Many Tibetans have been tortured and most of you may recall the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 which called for democracy, 200-300 civilians were killed and thousands were injured. The abuse of women in their own homes where many cannot escape. Women abducted and sold into prostitution. The figures are not accurate but there is reported to be around 15,000 cases of kidnapping and trafficking of women and children.
In 2006 3,400 executions took place in China but this is a closely guarded secret and could be as much as 8,000 prisoners with 6,000 prisoners on death row, many for minor offenses. These people will more than likely face a firing squad or electrocution and it does not end there for the people whose lives have been taken. In June 2001 Wang Guoqi, a Chinese former military physician had worked on executed prisoners removing the organs of 100 patients without any consent from relatives. According to Wang and reported in the Guardian (UK), along with organs being used for ‘paying foreigners’, the use of skin from these bodies were used in the cosmetics industry for sale in Europe and the UK in development of Collagen – used in the Western World for diminishing wrinkles and to puff up thin lips, second to botox as the most popular cosmetic surgery.
Links for more human rights abuse stories:
Unhappy Disney Workers in Hong Kong and China
Toxicity And The Cheap Goods
Is your ‘must have toys’ from China? And more importantly are they safe and even more importantly with recent checks coming in amid fears of toxic chemicals in toys being recalled, how safe were last years toys that are still hanging about the house? Next time your child asks for their favorite toy tell them they can’t have it and explain why, be proud and allow them to feel good as well – your guilt will then feel like achievement and they will respect you for it.
With companies outsourcing their production to China no one seems to be monitoring the end product. With recent recalls of products such as melamine-tainted cat food found in at least a hundred pet food brands killing a number of cats and dogs in North America, a dye farmers used to improve the look of their eggs was found to contain cancer causing properties – in response 5,000 ducks were culled!. In Panama fifty people died last year after using cough syrup containing diethylene. An industrial grade chemical used as glycerin was found to be in toothpaste, soaps and cosmetics, another incident was of toothpaste laced with antifreeze.
So the governments say that China needs to clean up its act especially as Christmas is on its way and orders have been placed. The most recent case was where 250,000 Sponge Bob toys were found to be laced with lead in the US. The company, HK Shenzhen Industries whose products are sold at US ‘Toys R us’ and ‘JC Penny’, invests in dozens of factories in China – Are they safe!?
It has been reported that the water has been to blame in some of these productions and is heavily polluted. Once the product has been made it is hard to get the toxins out. In June of this year inspections were carried out on products such as foods, fertilizers and machinery. Toxic levels and bacteria were mainly found in food items such as canned and dried foods and juices. Worth noting that a staggering 200,000 people in China die of food poisoning each year and in 2006 150,000 food production factories closed.
Links for more Toxic China stories:
China Made SpongeBob Products Toxic; Recalled
Do You Have A Pet Cat Or Dog – Read On And Act
Just recently on Spetember 9th 2009 China have asked people to round up stray dogs and kill them this is they say to quell rabies and to reduce the population of stray dogs. One of the links are here, be aware graphic images http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14181622/. This is not an isolated case though, mllions of cats and dogs are slaughtered and treated inhumanely every year in China for their fur and meat – it is too awful to describe how these animals are treated and it breaks our heart knowing as we sit here more evil is being done to these lovely animals. So next time you buy your fur boots, gloves, rugs and whatever is described as fur, whether its advertised as faux or real, China does not differentiate between the two in production so be aware and don’t buy any of it because it could have come from these beloved pets. These images are upsetting and are very graphic so please be aware of that for children. But adults please take the time to read and look as it will compel you to act.
Links for more fur:
The Environment, The Rainforests And A Global Catastrophe Waiting To Happen
China’s record on illegal timber imports is reaching catastrophic levels but is China to blame for this as the demand for fashionable furniture such as ‘the shabby chic look’ is bought by the West. Ebay is being flooded with new furniture being sold with this ‘shabby chic’ tag – the majority of the new furniture sold with this title is mahogany and from China. We contacted eBay a while ago and asked them to ban new mahogany from its site stating that it was illegal and from an unsustainable source causing destruction to the Rainforests – they never replied. We wondered if the people buying these goods actually knew what destruction they were contributing to!
Here is a list of the countries and their forests which China imports from – As you can see the majority being from sacred Rainforests, unbelievable considering the world is trying to save them to combat global warming and protect its inhabitants to which more and more animals and insects are becoming homeless and extinct each day. So remember next time you want that dresser, chest of drawers, ‘shabby chic’ chair, dining table and even sofa, chances are unless stated it will be from China and that means a Rainforest. can you live with that? RECYCLE and REUSE.
Burma (Myanmar): >90%
Congo (Brazzaville): 90%
Equatorial Guinea: 90%
Indonesia (timber): 90%
Indonesia (pulp and paper): 90%
Papua New Guinea: 90%
Russia (timber): 60%
Russia (pulp and paper): 10%
Solomon Islands: 90%
China is now the biggest polluter in the World just above America and their growth is due to soar as companies in the west outsource their product base. With this demand, China is becoming a land of polluted water, noxious air and acid rain. Parts of China are suffering from drought which leads to erosion of the soil. Eighty percent of China’s electricity comes from coal! This is a country who’s technology was second to none and you would expect far reaching ideas of how to power China but it seems we are returning to the 1800’s and we can see by the films and records why the people then were glad when other forms of power came in. The smog and pollution must have been so great. China knows about the pollution and you would think that they would have looked at new ways to supply that 80 percent of electricity right – wrong they are opening 554 new power stations to meet the growth of the country. We know in the west what mistakes we have made and are trying to change that and are trying to encourage China to act more responsibly with regards to its energy and coal fields but the West is also dependent on oil and China is using that as a ‘if you aren’t changing why should we’ card. God only knows what the costs will be worldwide on the environment.
The Olympics Beijing in 2008 saw protests be people all ove the world, China has cashed in on destroying peoples’ homes and their lives with abuse and murder to get the people of China out of these old homes to make way for high rise flats and houses for the rich, foreign investors and visitors. These people, many being over sixty, have lived in these homes all their lives and are tossed out on the streets with nothing and no-one to listen to them – if they try to act they are punished and threatened. China needs to be stopped before it self destructs, taking many of us along with it.
We must stress that this campaign is not an attack on the people of China rather an act of support for all the people and animals being abused systematically every year. We want to show China we don’t want their goods until they clean up their act on the above issues. Please do not stop going to your local Chinese outlets whether they be restaurants or shops as many of these people have left their country of origin to escape persecution – show your support to them.
What You Can Do NOW
“Some people wonder and even ask what difference a few individuals can make by not buying ‘Made In China’. What we can gain or achieve through this campaign is not our primary concern. The first and most important consideration is that it is morally wrong to support in any way such an oppressive regime — especially one that is becoming an increasing threat to global peace and stability. But even from a practical point of view — just as the longest journey must begin with a single step so also a mass movement can only begin with a few or even a single individual”
– Lhasang Tsering, Advisor to MIC Boycott Campaign
DON’T buy goods made in China or at the very least cut down and this rubbish – it is going to be hard but do it and be proud because if what you have read and researched yourself does not make you want to change what is happening then nothing will.
This Christmas tell your family about this campaign and ask them not to buy you goods made in China. If you can do it now for Christmas and we can show the governments it is morally wrong to support such a regime country.
Email your MP, your Prime Minister, President and demand an end to Chinese goods and tell governments to make products from your country of origin available in the shops and for these products to be of a reasonable cost and that manufacturers must state if the product was assembled or produced in another country. (This is a fact – in the UK it is not illegal to not state that a product from say Devon was manufactured in China or anywhere in the world and then shipped back to Devon, and then state that the product was made in Devon even though it was not). This law needs to change.
Write to the President of China – Web link here for the email addresses to all leaders of the world: http://www.saveourearth.co.uk/soead/soe_leader.php
Below are some sites where you can get involved, sign petitions and send support.
HAVE A TRULY TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS
AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT
Please do your bit,
Denise and Mark
Something to think about……If I owned all the water in the world and supplied it to the rest of the world – look at what power I have and look at what chaos I can create if I turned it off…
– Denise Tansley
Good Guide Shopping – More coming soon
Have a look at some of the links for Good Guide Shopping, Toys, gifts and general:
If you have a business anywhere in the world and are environmental, ethical, fair trade or manufacture goods in your country, GET IN TOUCH and we will add you to the list of good shopping.
List Of Companies That Make Toys In America
Sorry we cannot list every country, please use internet search for ethical goods, fair-trade goods and made and produced in your country of origin.
Lists Of Companies That Manufacture Their Goods In China – More coming soon
House of Frazer
Jusco (They say there is no way they can screen unsafe children’s clothes)
Marks and Spencer (some items do not state country of origin due to china worried about goods being boycotted)
Miss Selfridge (Part of the Sears group includes – Richards Shops, Wallis and Warehouse)
Sainsbury’s (Some items not stating country of origin – due to worries of boycott)
Toys R Us
Wal-Mart (They say there is no way they can screen unsafe children’s clothes – 42% found to have formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.)
Mattel – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=475314&in_page_id=1811
Bassett recalls 8,900 cribs due to entrapment risk
THE LIST GOES ON, IF IN DOUBT ASK THE STORE, YOU CAN CHECK THE LABEL BUT THIS IS ALSO MISSLEADING AS STATED ABOVE. IF THERE IS NO LABEL OF ORIGIN, CHANCES ARE ITS FROM CHINA…