business, censorship, economics, Stephen Harper

China in the Bull Shop

So, I’m supposed to take the word of the Chinese government, one of the most repressive and brutal regimes in history, that the Dalai Lama is a dangerous insurgent? That’s what they’re asking me to accept – that this self-deprecating, eternally cheerful, thoughtful and gentle individual is a danger to anyone?

Not gonna happen, sorry.

I for one am a bit dismayed that China expects us to solemnly accept and take seriously the fact that they threaten ‘repercussions’ to Der Harpenfuehrer’s meeting with the Dalai Lama. Can they possibly expect us to accept this and do as we are told? Can they realistically expect Canadians to even listen with a straight face anymore?

Seriously, the rest of us, outside a small cadre of power-brokers, have long ago figured out that the ‘Chinese Century’ now refers to the number of beer shots it takes to believe that China is in some way an economic driver of the world of the future. You can bet your investing dollar that the lead-paint sweetness of the initial rush to embrace China has turned somewhat sour. I’m interested in how quickly Mattel was able to shift blame away from their own leadership and onto the Chinese people – the decision to offload manufacturing of Barbies to the cheapest common denominator was not made there, but here, in the corporate boardrooms of America the grasping and avaricious. Nobody but the U.S. parent company is to blame if there was no proper oversight of manufacturing  – although, as a mode of conquest, gradually poisoning and reducing the intellectual capacity of the next generation of your enemies stands right up there in the annals of long term planning. Maybe there is enough blame to go around.

Now, as I understand it, there are athletes from several countries currently in China, acclimatizing themselves to the conditions there in advance of the Olympics next year. Just about anywhere else outside of China, and perhaps Eastern Europe, that would be a sound strategy, but in this case some of the athletes are getting sick because of the absolutely horrible air quality. China, as it is becoming obvious, is somewhat lacking in the stewardship department on a number of levels. The coming Olympics, I believe, will be a fiasco, and I, for one, will be watching the action between the sporting events.

So, in terms of an example for the world to follow should we choose to execute and harvest the organs of our own citizens, China stands as a shining beacon. To those of us who think we have a terrible track record with the environment, you can at least take temporary respite in the knowledge that there is someone far worse. Again, setting an example for the world. I would ultimately dismiss China completely as having any realistic chance of maintaining influence on the world stage before everyone there dies of a combination of lead poisoning and terminal asthma, except for…

That one guy.

The one guy, in the white shirt, carrying a shopping bag.

Staring down an entire row of tanks. Tienanmen Square, 1989.
I don’t know if ultimately that guy survived beyond the events of Tienanmen Square, but I hope he did. And that he reproduced, and his children all become teachers. That’s the guy, one of many, who may have died for what they believed in, not because it was doctrine, not because they were threatened with a horrible fate if they did not ask for basic human freedoms, but because it was the right thing to do.

China, and the current Chinese leadership, meh. Who cares what they think in their Animal Farm palaces while others die around them.

But that guy. I’ve never met him, I’ll never know him. But he inspired me like very few others have. That’s the type of person I’d listen to. Thanks, man – wherever you are.

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9 thoughts on “China in the Bull Shop

  1. Terry told me yesterday (I think it was Terry…apologies if it was Kevvy or someone else) that Harper’s response to the Chinese government should have been:

    This is an internal matter for the People’s Dominion of Canada. China has no right to comment on the internal workings of Canada’s sovereign government. Oh, Snap!

    You are right on once again, Flash. I wonder which Free Trade Zone is now making our lead-coated baubles? I wonder what happened to the indentured servants in the FTZ that supplied the tainted goods? I wonder if I actually want to know?

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  2. And one has to wonder: how many things like this have happened without our knowledge? I would be naive to think this is the one and only time harmful chemicals/elements have been included as an ‘added bonus’ by the generous Chinese…

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  3. Flash,
    I think that you do yourself a disservice by minimizing the importance of China in the world. Yes, they have an abysmal human-rights record and their environmental policies are disasters, but at the end of the day, they have two billion people and in a few years will have the world’s largest economy. Their statements about Canada’s welcoming the Dalai Lama are, if nothing else, totally consistent with their internal politick.

    To answer the question that you asked, no, I don’t think they expect us to accept their argument that the DL is a rebel separatist leader, because if they really meant it, it might be attached to specific economic threats. This is a political stance only, and one that they feel they will not bend on. They can’t afford to alienate Canadian resources any more than we can alienate their deliciously lickable lead toys or their cheap electronics – this is politics only.

    As for the ever-cheerful Dalai Lama, well he’s leading a pretty sweet life, don’t you think? I’d be cheerful, too. Wined and dined by the elites of the world, apartments everywhere, all the best hotels, and yet still able to wear the mantle of the (cheerfully) burdened victim. Mother Theresa without all the poverty and heavy lifting – nice gig if you can get it.

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  4. True enough, but the fact of the matter is that we are an important factor in the surge in Chinese prosperity. We provide critical resources to fuel, and markets to sell, their products. Jean Chretien and Paul Martin tied the Canadian economy closer to the Chinese for purely economic reasons via the “Team Canada” approach to trade. They then went on to hide the human rights sins of the Chinese government with the old fig leaf that improving the Chinese economy would raise the standard of living there and, inevitably, human rights would improve as a result.

    Of course it’s utter horseshit – why would a government that is effectively the largest corporation in the world change the way it generates revenue when it appears to work so damn well?

    Nevertheless, we are left with the current situation – we go to Walmart, Costco, and Zellers to buy the cheapest shit we can, which inevitably comes from China, and thereby support the abuses of, and enrich, the very regime we then complain about. If we can piss and moan about Chinese human rights while winking at it when we shop, then let the Chinese government drone on about their breakaway provinces like Taiwan and Tibet.

    It’s all the same if nothing is going to be done about it by anyone.

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  5. I think the word you’re looking for Kev, is “hypocracy”. I, myself still frequent “Mallwart”, and the rest, for the cheap stuff – despite the fact that I cringe mentally (morally?)every time I see the place. I feel bad about the slave labor, but apparently not bad enough to shop elsewhere, pay more, or make do with less stuff. You are correct, moralizing about how China conducts itself is just so much oral methane, unless we are willing to put our money and resources where our mouths are.

    Not that flash is wrong, just that we (the national, collective ‘we’) oughta practice what we preach. I DO like briguy’s suggestion for a response, though…

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  6. Don’t assume that I by any means disagree with you, my friend. I didn’t get as deep into it as that, and what you see is the extent of the commentary I intended to make. I support your assertion that we should do things differently, but being unable to spend the extra money currently to support my beliefs, I’m stuck with doing what little I can when I can – buying Canadian goods when possible, and sticking to free-trade coffee when we buy whole beans, etc. As the nest egg grows to an appropriate size, the ability to follow my conscience to the degree I would prefer increases.

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  7. Flash,
    I suppose I should have prefaced my comments by stating that I’ve been reading much into the Western/Sino relationship lately and have been snowed under by the hypocracy of it all – I didn’t mean to single out your comments. Having said that, disagreement is fine, and here we will probably disagree – it’s all good as they say.

    I am not convinced that it’s necessary to make a certain amount of money to buy local, or non-slave for that matter, it is a matter of choice. Yes, buying Canadian- or American-made is more expensive, but if the politics of the situation are important to you, then buy less altogether so the dollars spent are more targeted. Yes, it means getting buy with less stuff, but it will likely be better stuff that will last longer in the end. I’m sure there are some things that we can only get from dubious places overseas, and that’s okay, but we can do better with the little spending power that we have.

    I don’t pretend to extract myself from this argument – I’m certainly as guilty as anyone. I shudder to think of the number of “Made in China” labels I’d find in my house, and I honestly don’t know if I want to know how much of my pension money is tied to investments in that country.

    Nevertheless, money makes the world go round, and if we want to make a practical and real statement, the only vote we have is with our wallets. Yes, we’re just grains of sand on the beach, but we can form dunes in time.

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