Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on November 27, 2007
Back in 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned against the first President Bush by attacking his coddling of “the butchers of Beijing” in the aftermath of June 4th. Today, after countless Made-in-China scares, Team Clinton believes that there’s little downside in again criticizing the Chinese. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, a blogger on Hillary Clinton’s website posted a long statement from the candidate attacking the Chinese.
Earlier this week in Iowa, I discussed the continuing threat of unsafe imported toys and laid out a strategy to confront it. In response, the Chinese government called my criticisms ‘slander.’
This is the same government that just this month revoked the licenses of more than 750 of its toy companies because of quality control problems and ordered another 690 to renovate or improve their facilities….And the Chinese government’s watchdog agency reported earlier this year that 20 percent of the toys made and sold in China pose safety risks.
That’s prompted some surprising pro-Clinton praise from, of all places, the National Review, where blogger Jim Geraghty writes “Boy, I’d like to see a Republican candidate kick around the Chinese for lead-paint-tainted toys the way Hillary Clinton does.”
Just wait, Jim. We still have over a month to go before the Iowa caucuses.
Meanwhile, Hillary’s not the only Western politician who’s peeved the Chinese lately. Peter Mandelson, the former Tony Blair cabinet member who’s now the EU’s trade commissioner, was in Beijing yesterday and criticized China for not doing more to stop a “tidal wave” of fake goods from Chinese factories flooding into Europe. According to the South China Morning Post (registration required), he added that Chinese officials say that more than 99% of Chinese-made products are safe, yet “Europe imports half a billion euros worth of goods from China every day – so even 1 per cent is not acceptable.”
Vice Premier Wu Yi, in charge of tackling the safety problem, was not pleased. “I am extremely dissatisfied,” she told reporters. Mandelson, to his credit, not only didn’t back down but cleverly ramped up the pressure by borrowing a famous line from Deng Xiaoping. The fact is, China is the source of much of the world’s counterfeiting, Mandelson said. And, as Deng used to say, “We must seek truth from the facts.” I’m sure Wu was just thrilled to hear that.