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An American in China

Archive for January 20th, 2010

Up Close and Personal- Panda Rabbit in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 20, 2010


Here is 2 2 the Panda Rabbit, the central government had not turned on the heating to all houses yet, so she found solace sleeping on a large plant holder filled with soil.

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Good Article, but a Caveat as well- Sweat Shops in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 20, 2010


Great article here from The National Labor Comittee. Basically it talks about the almost sub-human working conditions that people in a Dongguan ( a town close to Guangzho) work facility undergo while making electronics for the rest of us. It describes the strict, almost subhuman rules they are subject to, the poor housing conditions and rules that have unconscionable punishments for small issues such as talking on the job.

I am in no way condoning the heavy handed practices of these types of companies. One need only come here and will see the same in EVERY small restaurant and local company, ie. people sleeping in miliatry racks with conditions that would shock the rest of us. I think the Chinese justification is that they need to grow and thus provide jobs, no matter how sketchy or shady the working conditions. The fundamental problem with this is that basic rights of humanity are often ignored, but yet the corruption continues, this means that while these people toil away, cash is doled out for protection or special services of the government- absent these problems, I am sure the workers would receive more.

But that is another issue, so some observations on the article:
Two observations, 1-this poor treatment of workers is definitely true of indigenous (Chinese) companies, I have worked with them and although they treat foreigers relatively well, they treat the Chinese like absolute dirt.The fines, etc. for things such as talking, lateness are unconscionable ( I have a copy of a contract from a local firm). 2- The talk of low wages must be taken with a grain of salt. The company does treat the locals like lower forms of life, but the wage is not as bad as the story purports. For instance, the people are fed and given accommodations, as well as clothing so that is not an issue. And, as far as cost of living goes, ( I have been to Dongguan), it is very cheap- for instance:
meal of some meat and rice- from 7 to 35 RMB = 1 to 5 dollars
shoes 30 rmb = 4.2 U$
hair cut 3 rmb = 0.5 U$
coke 3 rmb = 0.5 U$
cell phone 200 rmb = 31 U$
When we look at it in light of these figures, it is not as bad as one may think. For instance, in order to eat (and remember they have their meals provided for them) a local employee must work about the same amount of time as we in the US will.
So before we get on our imperialist high horse and complain about these low wages, lets just consider how much we spend at Walmart, and what we are doing to help solve this problem. It is great and makes us feel good to send millions to Haiti to salve our collective conscious while the practices articulated in the article continue. Lets put Walmart under the microscope, as well as our selves, pay a little extra, move the manufacturing to countries that actually respect humanity- are you really up for it?

Posted in Cultural oddities, Let me educate you... | Leave a Comment »

China Fact- Unfact, Seeing the Great Wall from Space

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 20, 2010


Confused about this one, various sources say yes, just as many say no. I have not been there yet, figure, if you’ve seen one wall, you’ve seen ’em all. Actually went to the eastern most place of the wall, at a place pronounced like Bay Die Hu… And it was pretty cool, but as said, just a big hunk of stones. Maybe I am just insensitive to great creations. But, everything around the Forbidden City is really interesting.

Posted in China Fact | Leave a Comment »