By Calvin Schoneck
I doubt that there is a single person reading this letter who doesn’t own at least a handful of products that were manufactured in China. I know that I myself do, and unfortunately it is nearly unavoidable since almost every cellphone, computer, and appliance on the planet is either made there or assembled of parts from the country.
There is a widely accepted stigma against Chinese products, typically involving their shoddy quality, or just plain impracticality. While 90 percent of the time this is true, the real reasons are far more detrimental than a the repercussions of purchasing an inferior product. Boycotting China is an issue of social, political, and environmental welfare not just for the people of China, but worldwide.
To start, China has one of the worst human rights records of any country in the history of the Earth. The “beloved” Mao Zedong sanctioned the worst genocide the world has ever known. Mao’s so-called “cultural revolution” that took place between 1966-1976 resulted in the murder of nearly 30 million people. For scale, that is more than The Holocaust, Stalin’s forced famine, and the Armenian and Rwandan Genocides combined, yet no one seems to remember.
Even though Mao died in 1976 (thankfully), nearly every Chinese leader since has embraced his ways and the current president Xi Jingping is no different. In truth, China is owned by business both foreign and domestic, and serves as the last stand of laissez faire economics, meaning that they state exists only to serve unregulated corporate interests. While one would assume that most of these corporations are domestically owned within China, the demand for cheaper products and labor actually comes from American companies such as Apple and Nike.
In fact, the Apple manufacturing plants in China are so bad that the company had to install nets around the plants in order to catch the absurd number of people attempting to commit suicide to escape the 16+ hour work days where they toil away for next to nothing.
Other than the fact that the pair of Nike shoes you’re wearing were probably made by a 7-year-old in a sweatshop here they will probably work for the rest of their short lives, China is by far and away the largest consumer of energy, most of which comes from coal that is mined in the United States. China is also expected to increase its energy consumption by 80 percent by 2035 and the hope that these needs will be fulfilled by sustainable sources is almost non-existent.
In 2014, there were 1.2 million deaths as the result of air pollution in China and that number is expected to rise over the next few years, especially in places like Beijing where the smog is so dense in some parts of the city that the sun won’t be seen for weeks. All of this is caused by the demand for cheap products in first-world nations like the United States.
Do you like Lions? Bears? Tigers? Well if you do and are at all concerned with the survival of some of the most endangered species on the planet, like the white rhino of which only one breeding male exists. You too will have reason to boycott everything Chinese, because China is THE NUMBER ONE consumer protected animal species in the world. The black market demand for ivory is almost exclusively from China since there are no regulations when a country with a moral compass isn’t involved in the transportation of goods, and even then, things fall through the cracks.
While this may sound like I am ripping on everything Chinese, it is really only their government and the American people who are at fault. Living in the age of the internet, all it takes is a simple Google search to figure out where things come from and whom they affect.
By boycotting everything made in China, we take away the initiative, and more importantly the profits that drive the need for sweatshops, horrible pollutions, and the general disregard for humanity and the environment that we see in China today.
All that I can hope that this letter has done is at least make you think about the real cost of the next thing that you buy, because it is certainly not you who pays the real price.