China Planning a Surreal Facade for Summer Olympic Games: Beijing 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 9, 2007

Few could have anticipated the run of bad publicity, crises and scandals that China has weathered since about last winter or spring.

First, pets in America became sick and many died. The illness was traced to Chinese-made pet food laced with a fertilizer component named melamine. Companies in China had illegally added melamine to wheat gluten and rice protein in a bid to meet the contractual demand for the amount of protein in the pet food products.

After that, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States began to take a harder look at a host of Chinese products imported into the U.S.

The FDA ended up barring most seafood from China (where we in the U.S. get about 1/3 of our shrimp, much of our catfish and other “farm raised” seafood products) because much of it contained drugs, bacteria or other suspicious or obviously harmful products.

Not only was imported seafood tainted, but the FDA began turning away tons of other food products – some of it contaminated, some filled with toxins and other products full of bacteria.

Products like toothpaste, chewing gum and even soy sauce were found to be made with toxic ingredients. Roughly 900,000 tubes of Chinese made toothpaste containing a poison used in some antifreeze products turned up in U.S. hospitals for the mentally ill, prisons, juvenile detention centers and even some hospitals serving the general population.

Then the Colgate-Palmolive Company announced that it had found counterfeit “Colgate” toothpaste containing the anti-freeze diethylene glycol, a syrupy poison.

Although tainted or poorly made and tested food from China was first noticed in the United States and other western nations, once China checked its own store shelves it found problems. 

Inspectors in southwest China’s Guangxi region found excessive additives and preservatives in nearly 40 percent of 100 children’s snacks sampled during the second quarter of 2007, according to a report on China’s central government Web site.

The snacks — including soft drinks, candied fruits, gelatin desserts and some types of crackers — were taken from 70 supermarkets, department stores and wholesale markets in seven cities in the region, it said.

Only 35 percent of gelatin desserts sampled met food standards, the report said, while two types of candied fruit contained 63 times the permitted amount of artificial sweetener.

And if substandard children’s snacks weren’t bad enough, China and the U.S. FDA uncovered a huge racket in substandard medicines. One manufacturer of medicines was implicated in 11 deaths.  Five manufactures lost the ability to continue in the business.  And 128 drug makers lost their Chinese government Good Manufacturing Practice certificates, a symbol of favorable performance, the China Daily newspaper reported on its Web site.

We also saw, thanks to an aroused international media, child laborers illegally producing Beijing Olympics 2008 memorabilia. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for China, a slavery scandal erupted. Slaves were found mining materials and making bricks inside China.

The United Nations condemned China for the worst pollution in the world. China also produces more greenhouse gases than any other nation by far.

Despite China’s long history for managing its media and controlling what the world learned about the People’s Republic, stories surfaced and were verified that showed an illegal trade in “harvested” human organs from inside China. Unscrupulous doctors and businessmen teamed up to create a thriving business in human organs. The problem was that the organs came from prisoners and the mentally ill, who had no say in the matter and died before they could become witnesses to this atrocity.

Add to this a long and unresolved dispute about the way China controls its currency and a thriving business inside China in counterfeit goods: everything from U.S. music and motion pictures to Rolex watches, books and, well, you name it.

China tried to market a new Chinese made automobile to the upscale European buyer but the vehicle disintegrated in a 40 MPH crash test. Now Europeans wouldn’t be, well, caught dead in the thing.

So from May until July 2007, despite the Chinese News Spin Machine going full tilt the bad news about China seemed to be spinning out of control.

Just today, July 7, 2007, the Central Committee of the Communist Party seemed to be threatening local leaders who allow social unrest.  “Officials who perform poorly in maintaining social stability in rural areas will not be qualified for promotion,” Ouyang Song, a senior party official in charge of personnel matters said, according to China’s Official Communist News media.

All these problems don’t even trump China’s most horrible foreign policy disaster: Suport for Sudan without taking action on Darfur.  The U.N. and others have referred to Sudan’s conduct in Darfur as genocide.  And Hollywood big shots are already calling next summer’s Olympics in Beijing the “genocide games.” 

Not to worry, though. China’s communist leadership still plans a masterful and error free Beijing Olympics 2008.

The communist government of China is taking action to streamline what the western media sees next summer. Smokey, coal-fired factories are even being moved out of Beijing and into the countryside because their effluent looks so disgusting there was fear these factories alone could cause a major embarrassment.

Beijing’s population had a practice “No Spiting Day” in an effort to reduce this disgusting habit common in the city. The test was a disastrous failure and a new training approach is planned. Beijing also had a day devoted to polite lining up for buses and trains. This worked out a little better with the obedient and terrified city workers not taking any chances.

During the Olympics, communist leaders in Beijing plan to remove from the city the hordes of vagrants, homeless people and orphaned children who live on Beijing’s streets. Some estimate that as many as 2 million orphaned or homeless children live in Beijing alone.

In order to assess what can be done about Beijing’s choked streets overwhelmed by traffic; and to see if a dent can be made in the choking air pollution, one million Beijing automobile drivers will have to stay at home or use mass transit on a day scheduled to test the impact of all of this. Beijing only has 3 million registered automobiles so inconveniencing one-third of them for one day should hardly impact the economy, right? But if the test is a success, one would have to remind China that the Olympics is not a one day event.

When all this is assessed together, one might ask, when we get to Beijing next summer for the Olympic Games, how much of what we see will be real? And how much is a product of the smoke and mirrors China often employs to produce the desired result.

Related:

Pollution Dangers Cast Shadow over 2008 Olympics

Chinese Government Staff: “Happy News President Hu Jintao; We Ready For Happy Time Olympics!”

Some National Cultures More Tolerant of Death?

Tricky Vietnamese Truth About Catfish
The Chinese are just as smart as the Vietnamese on how to work the American system….

China says food safety scares threaten stability

China’s “Drug Abuse” Problem: Below Standard Pharmaceuticals Have Been Deadly

China may need a fresh approach to regulating its often unruly economy

China tells local authorities to address social instability

FEEDBACK TO: jecarey2603@cox.net

From John Carey: A friend sent us this:

Friend:

I was in a Beijing hotel last year… A very upscale American style one near the Olympic area.Inside the hotel, it seemed identical to any nice hotel you’d see in New York, Dallas or LA… except for the big sign next to the faucet in the bathroom.

From John Carey: I had the same experience in Moscow.  Superior 4-star hotel  Water out of the tap was brown.

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14 Responses to “China Planning a Surreal Facade for Summer Olympic Games: Beijing 2008”

  1. Robert Ende Says:

    John, I am glad to see you going after this theme.

    I am one of those who believes we are abdicating our economic future to China, when we clearly should not be doing so.

    As my own career in electronics was winding down, every U.S. company was rushing to outsource to China… I have heard figures that support the assertion that 90% of electronics are being produced in China now.

    The same kind of problems you have quoted in your article will doubtless sting the electronics companies, and perhaps they will “smart up” when it happens. Theft of intellectual property, chiselling on contracts resulting in safety and compliance messes (read liability) for U.S. companies… I can only imagine the scenarios, and I suspect we will see them all.

    It will take a very long time for us to get on the same business wavelength with the Chinese, in my view. Meantime, we have been mesmerized by the superficial and short-term economics of doing business with them.

    I hope that, by the time we are in synch with the Chinese, it is because they have risen to higher standards, rather than our industrial leaders sinking to lower standards. Open and fair competition does have the potential, but not the certainty, of improving things to the ultimate benefit of all.

  2. Debbie Says:

    Glad to see the wordpress blog is working again. I tried several times yesterday and got a message that it had been taken down.

    I’m adding this one to the Sunday Reading List.

  3. Right Truth Says:

    Sunday Reading List, 7/08/07

    The world survived 7/7/07 and all the predictions of doom and gloom. You can sit back, have a cup of tea or your favorite beverage, and read some great articles. If you must choose only one article, let it be

  4. China: Guilty Again of Cruel and Unusual Punishment « Peace and Freedom II Says:

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  5. blogger Says:

    cross posted –

    http://madeinchinainc.blogspot.com/

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  10. John Morris Says:

    Dear Mr. Carey,

    I am an American expat currently living in Beijing, and constantly worry about the pollutants in the air, water, food and every other aspect of the environment here. The information in your article is quite interesting. The trouble with it is that it contains not a single reference to the source of the information, making it useless as far as citing it myself as a one-stop, this is the problem over here, source of information. Is there a chance you could go back and cite your references?

    At any rate, thank you for the good writing. After following the recent scandals where the Chinese responded to the US barring incoming toothpaste laced with diethylene glycol by banning US products entering China, I despaired that the current situation would remain unchanged. However, after reading your article, it occurs to me that because of the Olympics, Beijing officials will want to avoid this kind of negative press, and may actually take steps to remedy the situation (and in the process get in some good press for themselves).

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  14. Olympic Sports Souvenirs Says:

    I’m hoping the fact that the World spotlight is on China right now will make them take positive steps in the right direction to begin to correct many of the issues they are having. The whole World is watching.

    Mike Smith

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