The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Really Big Trouble in Mainland China

Pet food, people food, toothpaste, toys-- it's been a difficult year in trade with China. I haven't been hearing much of anything from American corporations with manufacturing operations there, but that's been true for well over a decade. Hell, Tom DeLay was lobbying hard to maintain sweatshop conditions in a US protectorate.

Now there's another problem-- heavy metal. As in cadmium, copper, lead. And it's found its way into more than 10% of China's cultivated land, which produces 13,000,000 tons of grain.

Then there's the whole slavery thing:

Rescue teams comprising a staggering 35,000 police officers in Henan Province have freed 217 people, including 29 children, from slavery in illegal brick kilns - but more are believed to be held captive, provincial police said yesterday.

The laborers were abducted by human traffickers and taken to the kilns, where they were beaten, starved and forced to work long hours without payment, according to the police.

Up to 120 suspects have been detained. . .

Police freed 31 workers from the kiln late last month, with the youngest aged 14. One worker was earlier beaten to death, the report said.

Not good, but between these stories and at least a token attempt to crack down on unsafe food production, the Chinese government is clearly hoping to stem a backlash against exported goods.