China or Not China?

I’ve been trying to keep this to myself–to paraphrase Muhammad Ali–I don’t have anything against people from China.  It’s just that I don’t like China’s oppressive government.

Yesterday the Nobel Peace Prize was given to an empty chair, the chair representing Liu Xiaobo who is in prison in China for advocating human rights and democracy.  According to The Guardian, “China is still furious” at the committee in Norway for giving the prize to someone they regard a criminal.  NPR reported yesterday that China bullied 18 other countries into boycotting the award.

I don’t have anything against anyone from China, but it does bother me that we, US consumers, are making China rich and financing the buildup of their military.

Does anyone ever look at country of origin labels?

For over twenty years I have been buying New Balance running shoes because they have the “Made in the USA” label.  My wife recently bought me two new pair.  One said, “Made in the USA with domestic and imported parts” (I thought, at least that’s more than Nike can say) and the other pair simply says, “Made in China.”

Facebook led me to an add for a cycling clothing company.  The kids in the photo above are a likable looking bunch, and there cycling apparel appears to be of high quality.  I would be willing to give it a try.  As their web page says (in typical translated Chinese):

As you know , many big companies (NIKE , Adidas , etc..) usually build some factories in China , Thailand to product the clothings for them , because the labor costs is very low.We are the one of these factories.

All the clothings which producted by our factory , once they are delivered to US , UK ,  these price will grow up , but its real price is low.

Because we sell them to you directly , so the price is lower than official price!!

There is also a company that makes high quality cycling clothing, and sells them at a reasonable price, within the US, Voler.

The above photo shows the solar panels on Voler’s factory, accompanied by a statement on their policy of being environmentally responsible.

I’m not in favor of trade wars or boycotts.  I wish the kids at MUPi cycling well.  But this year I am going to try to help out some of my neighbors who are trying to hold on to their jobs.  As far as I can, I am going to buy products made in the United States, or at least somewhere beside China.

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4 Responses

  1. Mark, I’ve been saying this for years. Were you not listening to one of your best friends? I love Ruonan, she’s my best girlfriend, but I am not happy w/ the policies of her country. In fact, I worry that when she returns next week after almost 4 years in Lawrence she may not be able to come back. Now, seriously, if you start looking at labels you will be able to pare down your purchases significantly. Good luck… B

  2. Being a tech guru, it is difficult to NOT buy stuff from China. However, through the years, I have built relationships with Americans who work in China helping with trade and manufacturing issues for the stuff American’s buy.

    My conclusion is that there is something of a catch .22. While there are cons to sending so much money to China, there are pros. The question we have to ask is: do the cons out weigh the pros?

    While the money we spend in China does help the Chinese government do its evil, some of the money also finds its way into the hands of Chinese citizens. While poverty in China is an immense problem, the problem is, by many accounts, not as bad as it has been. As the country organizes, more and more people over there are finding it easier to take care of needs.

    Then there is the freedom of speech issue. While it doesn’t exist in China, having Americans over there has done a lot to irk this problem. We are a sneaky bunch and have figured out many ways to help the Chinese citizen get the information that is important for them to have, including the Gospel.

    • Cory,
      Thanks for your comment. It’s not a simple issue. Nixon was the one who opened the door to China, and it’s probably better to be trading partners than active enemies.
      The trade is a two way street. I recently heard that have of the soybeans grown in the US are sold to China. For the first time in my lifetime, farmers have been getting good prices for their crops, consistently over the past two or three years. Hopefully, that will create a general prosperity in agricultural states that will trickle down.

      • We had a pretty good relationship with them during WWII didn’t we? I know we did quite a bit of fighting in and around China to help defend against the Japanese.

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