12.11.2007

Kinda makes you think!

Saturday night as we were decorating the tree my 8 year old daughter commented, "The Chinese are so talented!"

It came out of left field, so I asked why she said it. "Well, it seems EVERYTHING is MADE IN CHINA!"

That innocent little statement opened a whole can of worms for me. As you know, I'm a gal who loves her trips to Target. My daughters' have little pink "Made in China" Christmas trees in their room from Wal-Mart. Our house is filled with toys, clothing and housewares which were all manufactured by people working for slave wages.

I remember a friend of mine traveled to China and told me about the teenage girls who put the hair in Barbie Dolls' heads for pennies an hour!

I got on the computer and of course there is a ton of information on the subject.

One movie, Mardis Gras: Made in China has won rave reviews for it's peek into the world of Chinese laborers"

"Mardi Gras: Made in China," looks at the conditions in a factory in the Chinese city of Fuzhou where young workers, mostly women, are paid $1.20 a day to work 14-to-20-hour shifts in enforced silence making the beads showered onto revelers in New Orleans in exchange for baring their breasts at Mardi Gras. The Chinese factory owner, who sees himself as a good guy and model manager, boasts of the punishments he exacts in wages from the workers toiling in sweatshop conditions when they don't meet their quotas. In a nifty turnabout, the filmmaker asks the revelers if they know where the beads come from. They don't, of course, and even when told, few seem to care.

Along with the whole lead paint scare there are a myriad of political reasons why many people are boycotting products "Made in China."

If you are interested here are a some articles highlighting this important issue!

The Seattle Times: "Mom's Web site lists toys not made in China"

The Christian Science Monitor:"A year without 'Made in China'"

I don't mean to be a bummer, but at his time of year I think it's important to think about how lucky we are. As the Christian Science Monitor article points out-it's pretty hard to avoid items made under the horrible conditions in China, but if we all try to cut down, maybe in some small way we can help these people.

FOOTNOTE: I think my 8 year old is getting REALLY suspicious about Santa. This afternoon she said, "What if I get toys from Santa that say "MADE IN CHINA?" That means they weren't made by elves." She paused, "unless they're Chinese elves!"




5 comments:

The 5 Bickies said...

Your daughter is very observant. I have been thinking more lately about everything "made in china". Especially after the run through the target toy dept. Have you been there lately and noticed the number of recall notices? Today's visit made me realize even more how little my children really "need" for Christmas. I can't bring myself to buy just for the sake of buying. See tonight's post...a few more evenings of bad behavior and I won't have to worry about it.

Avery Gray said...

What we need is a trade embargo with China. Only then will the Chinese government be pressed to make drastic changes. Unfortunately, things would have to get worse for the laborers before they get better. Just another reason for a foreign country to despise us...

Impoverished Preppy said...

The toy recalls have drawn attention to a really important issue. The conditions that these people work in are deplorable. Another good movie to check out is the recent documentary on Wal-Mart. (We just watched this the other night, but the name escapes me.) A lot of it was focused on the plight of employees here in the States, but there was an entire section on the factories in China. Really our government needs to get its act together and lay down the law to the Chinese. If they can't improve conditions for their workers, not to mention their environmental practices, then we won't import their crap. It would mean some serious sacrifices on the part of Americans for a while, but I think it would be for the best.

On a personal note, we tried to avoid buying too many toys this year for our girls, and I have actually made some of their gifts. (I will post pictures soon.) Not only does cutting back on what we give them avoid potentially dangerous toys, but it helps them focus on what they have been given and keeps Christmas from being so much about presents. It is seriously disturbing that more children can recognize Santa than can recognize Jesus.

Rachel said...

Wow. Your daughter is getting smart there mommy!
My dad used to tell us that sometimes even elves needed a little help, get that... elves outsourcing. Lord help us!!
That was really interesting! I'm going to have to look further into these items.
I'm very cautious about what I buy, but I know if I were to look closely... well, we won't go there.

Candace said...

yes yes and yes.
it's been a season of shopping awareness so far.
I'm getting there sans some diego shizz. oh, and my new j-crew shirt that when I went to wash it saw the tag said "MADE IN CHINA"....

 
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