BEIJING – Last August, the Chinese government unleashed its most extensive campaign since the 2002-03 outbreak of, the mysterious killer disease. The goal: to shore up ‘s battered reputation as a manufacturer of quality goods.
As the four-month initiative — part crackdown, part public relations drive — ended in December, experts say China has taken significant steps toward addressing product quality and safety problems. But they also note the risk of backsliding in a country with a convoluted bureaucracy and a well-documented history of local leaders ignoring edicts from the top.
“The events of the past six or so months do represent a watershed,” said Robert Kapp, a business consultant who headed the U.S.from 1994 to 2004. “But watersheds are not always forever.”
“The problem may be very systematic by now, and I don’t know if the Chinese will overcome it,” he added.