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Boycott China

Original post made by concerned citizen, Vintage Hills Elementary School, on Oct 21, 2011

To any one who has seen or read about the tragedy involving the 2 year old girl who was run over I say this. Make no mistake. The Chinese government created the atmosphere of indifference and apathy in which this kind of crime could take place.

I find it hard to believe that the United States of America still has diplomatic relations and open trade with a country as amoral and shockingly brutal as the People's Republic of China. It is a communist nation that shows little regard for human life and treats its own citizen without respect or decency. It is time for the United States to isolate China and lead an international effort to force a change in government in that country. It will cause some economic pain for us and others in the world, but it is the only moral thing to do.

We will need a phased approach to allow manufacturing and services to be moved to locations having acceptable systems of government, and it will take some time. We will need to explain to the world why it is in their interest and in the interest of the oppressed Chinese people that we put these measures into effect. We are ourselves complicit in this horrible crime if our own greed compels us to continue to buy goods from this country. To we turn a blind eye toward murder so that we can save 5 dollars on a cell phone? The Chinese government has shown no signs that it will stop end its oppression of its own people. No amount of free trade will do that.

We need to petition our government representatives to get this effort started. I'll be saying more, but I want to invite people to comment.

Comments (45)

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Posted by lazzboy
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Oct 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm

The sad fact is there is just too much stuff made in China. Whether you like it or not, it would be very difficult to go for even a few weeks and not purchase something made in China. Expecting our government officials to care is a joke. They only thing they want to do is get re-elected. They will promise they are different during elections, but at the end of the day it is the same old thing...what can I do to get re-elected. Cutting off trade with China will not get any one re-elected. One big issue is, if we go to war with China, we lose. It really is a numbers game unless you bring nuclear weapons in, then everyone loses. it would be nice if we could be isolated, but that jsut isn't realistic.


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Posted by We don't care either
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 22, 2011 at 7:33 am

Ya want shockingly brutal and amoral, have you taken a gander at the GOP pres debates? If that little girl proved not to have health insurance, they'd be screaming to let her die. Not with my tax money!!!!!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 22, 2011 at 8:13 am

Concerned, Isolating China is most likely not in the best interest of the United States. There are issues of how much of our debt they hold, their being a nuclear power, and the other nations they trade with (and we are not so friendly with).

From what I saw, doctors did try to save the little girl. Tragedies like this occur every day everywhere in the world. I think I'd be asking about the mother before I'd be attempting to cut a nation off at the knees.


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

-- Tragedies like this occur every day everywhere in the world.

Maybe you haven't seen the video. Did you see the behavior of both drivers and all the people just walk past as a little writhed and cried out in pain? Did you see the van run over the child twice, intentionally the second time? There is something deeply wrong with that country and that culture and its source is the communist government. I'll let your callous statement pass and give you the benefit of the doubt for now.

-- Isolating China is most likely not in the best interest of the United States.

It is in the best interest of the Chinese people and the United States of America for them to be free. The people of China cannot be freed from oppression if we do not confront them. Our greed keeps them living in oppression.

-- There are issues of how much of our debt they hold

I'll again let such an insensitive statement pass this time. To allow our greed to justify standing by while that amoral government continues to oppress its people makes us just as guilty as the people who walked by and ignored that little girl. I am fully aware of how much US debt the Chinese government holds and it poses no significant national security threat to the US. Wall Street may not like it, but it can certainly be handled if we phase in tariffs and restrictions in a measured and controlled way.

-- their being a nuclear power

That is not an issue. They know if they attacked the US or its allies with nuclear weapons, China would be completely annihilated by the US and European nuclear response. They wouldn't try it for the same reasons the Soviet Union didn't try it. It would be suicide. They are amoral but rational.

-- I think I'd be asking about the mother before I'd be attempting to cut a nation off at the knees.

The mother is not the issue here. It is the government. The Chinese government does need to be cut off, but at the head. The US and her allies have the economic power to do it. We may see a small drop in a precious standard of living. We may upset a few Wall Street bankers. But in the long run it will be a small price to pay for the liberation of a billion people and will probably ultimately result in greater prosperity for the World as fifth of its population embraces freedom.

We need to get it done. Boycott China.

More to come.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

I saw. I don't know if it's an entire country or the actions of a few individuals. I also saw Chinese parents grieve when their children were crushed in substandard schools. They are not an uncaring people. Do you have the same outrage for every place/country, including the US, where similar and even worse tragedies occur?

Freedom--the US's concept of freedom? Isn't one of our flaws as a government our arrogance in insisting that everyone be like us? We provide jobs that are lifting them from oppression (I realize there is a longer, different topic on American jobs). Shanghai is already very Westernized. It's not likely to stop.

Debt--not trying to be insensitive. It's just one fact in a complicated issue. Tariffs are different than boycotts.

Nuclear power--you assume we wouldn't be wiped out in their first strike? Clearly there is a reason for detente.

Mother--really? How does a 2 year old get in harm's way? How can you hold an entire government responsible and not the individuals?


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm

300,000 babies were kidnapped by Catholic clergy/nuns in Spain. It all started during Franco's regime. There's hardly a peep from the world community? Similar events happened in Argentina.

I have the impression that many adults in the world view children as subhuman.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Here's a post that reports the story of Spain's stolen babies. Very very sad story. Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Concerned Citizen,

And what should the concerned citizens of China do in response to our worst example of behavior?

Mike


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Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Concerned, I understand your outrage. I have seen many instances myself in China since my first trip there in 2006 that have outraged me and offended my sensibilities too. If we do not take a stand as individuals regarding China's horrific human rights record, nothing will every change. We can not rely on our government to think for us when it comes to moral choices -- that is not the function of government.

Yes, it is almost impossible to turn the tide for all the reasons posted here, but I am with you, Concerned. Count me in.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Neighbor, I don't personally believe a boycott is going to make a dent, but no reason not to try. Here is a link to individual countries and individual states records with child mortality. Web Link It could be better to take up a cause FOR children rather than against China.


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm

"And what should the concerned citizens of China do in response to our worst example of behavior?"

This is not an isolated incident, but an illustrative example of just how wrong things have gone from an ethical and moral viewpoint in communist China. International organizations have found widespread examples of unspeakable atrocities still occurring. Infanticide, especially of girls is still a not uncommon happening. People are arrested and abused in inhumane prison systems for simply disagreeing with government or practicing a forbidden religion. Nothing happening in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, or many other countries even compares.

Read what people said in response to what happened to this little girl. People sided with the passersby, saying they didn't want to risk incurring debt, or were to busy with there own endeavors to bother helping a little girl writhing in pain in a pool or her own blood. That is how bad things have gotten. Many in China are so brainwash by their government that they can justify the actions not only of the indifferent passersby, but even the drivers of the vans that ran the little girl over! Something is badly wrong.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm

The United States is one of the MOST violent countries on planet earth.

Millions of indigenous people have been murdered and continue to be murdered in the Americas. In my opinion, the violence in the Americas equals anything that has ever happened in China.

You seem ready to trash China but it seems to me that you have an axe to grind.




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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm

-- Do you have the same outrage for every place/country, including the US, where similar and even worse tragedies occur?

As I said above, similar tragedies don't occur in the US and other countries that I mentioned above. I couldn't imagine a scene like that happening anywhere in modern Japan, for instance. People even wrote and called in to Chinese news programs to justify the actions of the people who wouldn't help this girl.

--Freedom--the US's concept of freedom

I'm not a moral relativist with regard to freedom. We have it in the US. They don't have it in China.

-- We provide jobs that are lifting them from oppression

We are providing them toys, gadgets, and Starbucks but we have done little to relieve their oppression, and we are paying a very high price for it.

-- Shanghai is already very Westernized.

I'm guessing you may have visited Shanghai, but haven't spent a lot of time there? Next time you're there, try finding an uncensored bookstore. See if you can find a Wall Street Journal or New York Times. Try setting up a branch of your favorite church. Try publishing a newsletter expressing concern about what happened in Tienanmen Square. The oppression goes far deeper than that too.

-- Debt--not trying to be insensitive. It's just one fact in a complicated issue. Tariffs are different than boycotts.

We can do a lot more than tariffs and boycotts. We can work with our allies in the free world to build replacement factories for what are now operating in China, if China refuses to reform its government. The US and her allies can subsidize our own factories even more heavily than the Chinese do theirs. This isn't an American jobs issue. This is an issue of basic human rights and human decency.

--Nuclear power--you assume we wouldn't be wiped out in their first strike?

Not only do I assume it, and it is a very safe assumption, the Chinese assume it as well. The US and NATO have an elaborate systems of sensors both ground and space based that could track any missile the Chinese could launch. Our retaliatory forces comprise both land and submarine base missile launchers. The positions of those submarines are very well guarded secrets. The Chinese know full well that any nuclear attack on the US would be suicide.

-- How can you hold an entire government responsible and not the individuals?

Because that is how communism works. It undermines the responsibly of the individual. Communism belittles the individual and devalues human life and human dignity. Communism creates that atmosphere in which atrocities like this can happen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm

"Millions of indigenous people ... continue to be murdered in the Americas."

Let me know where this is happening and I'll happy to work with you to expose it and do what it takes to put a stop to it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm

"You seem ready to trash China but it seems to me that you have an axe to grind."

I have no problem at all with the Chinese people. I have a major problem with the Chinese government.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

-- If we do not take a stand as individuals regarding China's horrific human rights record, nothing will every change.

Exactly. I agree completely.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mai
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 23, 2011 at 6:05 am

There are millions of children in the US who go to bed hungry at night. Many are denied medical and dental care, and many more receive care that is substandard. This is a problem that could be corrected with collective action with political aim. Yet something tells me that "concerned citizen" is more concerned about flogging his Chinese whipping boy than he is uplifting conditions of impoverished children in his own backyard. It tempts one to comment on the kinds of twisted values that are at the base of some of these posts.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2011 at 7:35 am

Link to US information on children: Web Link

Seems we need to clean up our own backyard, as Mai points out. There are plenty of organizations to channel your concerns about China and all the other countries in the world with issues regarding the status of children's rights, which appears to be all the other countries in the world. If it is communism you blame, you could start closer to home with Cuba.

People agree what happened in China is egregious, but why this one incident in this one country now? Why not all the children in every country?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 8:22 am

Battered women: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 8:24 am

Imact of Alcohol Abuse on American Society: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 8:28 am

Cruelty to animals: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 8:31 am

FBI Uniform Crime Reports: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 8:37 am

Southern Poverty Law Center/American Hate Groups: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

SPLC: Anti-Immigration Groups


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 8:47 am

World Hunger: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2011 at 10:26 am

You can find this one on can.com today: Web Link

I also recommend "What is the What" by Dave Eggers, a fictionalized account of one of The Lost Boys of Sudan (based on Eggers' interviews of Valentino Achak Deng).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

--Seems we need to clean up our own backyard, as Mai points out.

To suggest that we ignore the monstrous human rights violations taking place in most populous and second most wealthy nation in the world because there are other human rights violations taking place in other parts of the world is not rational.

-- If it is communism you blame, you could start closer to home with Cuba.

Why closer to home? What has geography go to do with it? Cuba is a minuscule country in comparison with China, and the US already severely restricts trade with Cuba. To ignore the communist menace and terrible atrocities taking place in China because Cuba is closer geographically to the US makes no sense to me at all.

-- with issues regarding the status of children's rights

I'm not talking about children's rights alone. I'm talking about men's, women's and children's rights to live free from oppression.

-- but why this one incident in this one country now

This incident should be a wake up call. It is so illustrative of what has gone wrong in China and how China's government has undermined basic human dignity on a grand scale. It is a good starting point for people to discover more about what is going wrong there. It is the largest country in the world, and has the second most powerful economy. The world should first focus its efforts on the country where it can potentially effect the greatest results, and that country is China.

China is also the country that is benefiting the most from its financial relationship with the US and other countries. Our influence on them can be quite strong because of that relationship. The Chinese government has so much to lose that it will be far more likely to accede to our demands than other countries with looser financial ties. We can make a difference in China and we should start there for all these reasons.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

-- There are millions of children in the US who go to bed hungry at night. Many are denied medical and dental care, and many more receive care that is substandard.

OK, and what are you proposing to do about poverty and uneven access to medical and dental care in the US? Are you making some kind of comparison? Are you suggesting that because the US has these problems that the US ignore what is happening in China?

-- It tempts one to comment on the kinds of twisted values that are at the base of some of these posts.

"Twisted values"? Please spell things out for me. What are you talking about?

-- is more concerned about flogging his Chinese whipping boy than he is uplifting conditions of impoverished children in his own backyard.

Again, what makes you think that? Please spell it out. I give whatever I can to charities and encourage others to give whatever they can. I have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, donated time to Meals on Wheels, and have personally delivered food and gifts to needy families.

The aim of my "Boycott China" post was not to emphasize of promote charitable giving. My aim was to promote financial sanctions such as tariffs, trade restrictions, and industry subsidies. I think the time has come to begin phasing these measures in. Nothing else has worked.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm

"emphasize of promote"

emphasize or promote


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm

yup...you have an axe to grind!

ta-ta...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Cholo,

I thank you for posting the link to Action Against Hunger and other worthwhile charities. I'm happy to support them.

If I have an "axe to grind", please spell it out for me. You'll be doing both of us a favor. What would my ulterior motive be?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

While you have a valid point concerned citizen, it would behoove you to at least hear the point others are trying to make with their posts.

I find it rash to be advocating an all out ban of China over this incident, which is what you started in this thread, and what people are responding to. As you continue to post, more comes out, but what you are not acknowledging from others is the irony they see in calling out a country for things that also occur here!

Every day I read about this happening in our own backyard- just yesterday in Castro Valley a motorcyclist was a victim of road rage and dragged miles under a van to his death.

Your reaction, although valid with many points, also has many sides to it, sides that you could also listen to. Especially when you present such a leap to an extreme response.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm

No one is suggesting we ignore what happened; I am disagreeing that a boycott or even restrictions will have an impact.

Geography/Oppression in General--first, there is plenty of crime in the US. It makes it difficult to point a finger at another country. As to Cuba, restrictions against that country haven't changed anything: Web Link And children there are considered the property of the state.

Perhaps you can contact the US Ambassador to China and see what he thinks is a viable response? Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm

-- While you have a valid point concerned citizen, it would behoove you to at least hear the point others are trying to make with their posts.

I'm probably not making this clear, but I am hearing them, and in many cases I do agree with what they are saying. An atrocity is an atrocity is an atrocity. Heinous crimes happen even in our little town.

Web Link

The point, that I'm probably doing a bad job of getting across, is reactions of the people who saw this girl and did nothing, and the response I've seen and read about from Chinese citizens, and even some in my own family who sympathize with them or justify their actions illustrates something that is profoundly wrong here.

Reading back over my responses, I see that I do come across sounding one sided. I don't claim to have all the answers, by I do know a decent amount about current government in mainland China, what it is like to live there as a citizen, and what effect some of the dehumanizing policies of the government have on people. People in the US other industrialized countries seem all to eager to look the other way when they can get cheap flat screen televisions, open low cost factories, or sell government bonds. For me, enough is enough. Something needs to be done.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

[Removed because it was a website with no explanation]


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Posted by Mai
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 24, 2011 at 1:18 am

I have a sneaking suspicion that "concerned citizen" knows as much about China as he knows about USA. Just goes to show you that living in a country is no guarantee that you have a reasonable view of it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Mai,

Please let me know what I've got wrong. I can only promise that I will listen with an open mind.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mai
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm

@"seem all to eager to look the other way when they can get cheap flat screen televisions, open low cost factories, or sell government bonds. For me, enough is enough. Something needs to be done."

Like I say, you might try looking in your own backyard. Many if not most of the toys, for example, that are manufactured in China and exported to the US are fraught with chemicals that are bad for our children. Yet, China cannot export those same toys to Europe or Australia, because nations on these continents have safety- and health-conscious provisions that prohibit them from importing China's chemically saturated toys. China has, in response, set up special factories to produce toys that are safer and healthier, albeit they continue to flood US markets with their unhealthful crap (with companies like walmart only too eager to oblige).

Rather than boycotting China, the US could, as does Australia and Europe, simply stipulate through legislation and policy that China's goods must meet newly instituted, higher safety and health standards. Of course GOP would never think of doing such a thing; and since they're out to make Obama look bad, we could hardly expect them to jump aboard to support as any measures.

Meanwhile, and ironically, we have the hand-wavers demanding something be done in response to China's consciousness of selfishness. Go figure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Thanks Mai,

I agree that we should steps. I would just ratchet up the pressure even more. I don't think Australia and Europe do enough. I believe we should regulate food and toys for safety, whether produced domestically or imported. I blame American greed for many of China's problems and American problems. I also blame Chinese greed and the Chinese communist government as well. I think it is the time to apply more pressure.

"...demanding something be done in response to China's consciousness of selfishness"

But this is a huge problem. It cries out for a solution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mai
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Where we disagree is that I don't think US has any right attempting to change the consciousness of citizens of another nation, and in this case especially because we've got enough of a problem with 'consciousness of selfishness' at home. (See GOP pres candidates and how they pander to this warped consciousness of a sector of US citizenry.)

I don't think we need a trade war or any other kind of war with China right now. Change has to begin at home. Let's begin by pressuring our govt to strengthen it's regulations re. trade products, whether it be toys for kids or food products.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I could not disagree more with Mai's position that we have no right to try to influence the consciousness of the citizens of China. Human rights abuses in China are daily and pervasive affronts to all the world, and are crimes against humanity. How can you suggest that we make no effort to push an agenda on the international stage to shame China into treating its citizens with respect and dignity?

Changing China's understanding of basic human rights is profoundly important and should be the focus of increased pressure from all world leaders, and ever consumer of Chinese manufactures products.


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Posted by Mai
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

"Neighbor," you have rightly criticized what I stated. We have every right to change the consciousness of citizens of China. What I was trying to say, probably too glibly, is that there is more consciousness-changing that is required in the US which should have priority before we start boycotting another nation because of its human rights abuses.

Should we boycott Saudi Arabia also? (See, for example, treatment of women in Saudi Arabia.) Should we boycott all of the dozens of other human rights-violating nations with whom we deal?

That said, I agree that political/diplomatic pressure can be an effective tool -- at the United Nations, for example.

With China, specifically, there needs to be a more effective 'spring' movement formed by its oppositional peoples, which as we have seen can happen in even the most repressive regimes (e.g., Libya). Then, at a certain point, a boycott might be a desirable tactic. Until, then, no boycott.

Beyond this, I'm not certain a US boycott of Chinese products would have much effect on the consciousness of folks who ignored the little girl while she laid so tragically in the street after being run over. I think it would have a tremendous effect on US markets, however. Where would the Walmart workers all go?


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Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm

"Should we boycott Saudi Arabia also? (See, for example, treatment of women in Saudi Arabia.) Should we boycott all of the dozens of other human rights-violating nations with whom we deal?"

Are you suggesting that countries other than China are also violators of human rights and therefore we should ignore China's wrong doings? That non sequitur is just one example of the faulty thinking that has muddied the American debate over China since the Nixon administration. One country: China. One issue: human rights.

I am not going to wait for the UN to act. I am acting on my own conscience now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Oct 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Please send obama over to China to work his diplomatic magic. It worked so well in Libya that now the guys running things can have multiple wives, chop off the hands of thieves and mutilate their wives and kids. Egypt is next. Sharia law taking over.
The problem with the so-called 'spring' movement formed by its oppositional peoples', is that it leaves a vacuum to be filled by even less desirable miscreants. But that could never happen in China...obama wouldn't let stand for it. Besides, we owe them too much money paying for our failed stimulus plans.......


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Posted by Mai
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm

@ "Are you suggesting that countries other than China are also violators of human rights and therefore we should ignore China's wrong doings?"

No, Neighbor, I am suggesting no such thing. I am suggesting that a US boycott of China would be less than prudent, indeed, it would be counterproductive.

It's a matter of conscience for you. Are you planning to mount a one-person boycott of China? And why China instead of Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan? Or are you calling for a boycott of them all?


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