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One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the progress-marches-on dept.

China 412

eldavojohn writes "A report form China's Environmental Ministry reveals that one tenth of China's 1.22 million square kilometers of farmland are polluted with heavy metals and other toxins. The AFP lists 'lead, mercury and cancer-causing cadmium' and points to the rapid pace of China's industrialization as well as factories and their operators flouting regulations and laws. Cheap batteries and lead refineries are slowly turning China into a land where whole villages are poisoned (11 incidents so far this year). According to Human Rights Watch the government's response to this scourge is laughable. The poisoned are denied treatment and China's Environmental Ministry offers no possible help: 'The report documents how local authorities in contaminated areas have imposed arbitrary limits on access to blood lead testing, for example by permitting only people living within a small radius of a factory to be tested. When tests are conducted, results have often been contradictory or have been withheld from victims and their families. And children with elevated blood lead levels who require treatment according to national guidelines have been denied care or told simply to eat certain foods, including apples, garlic, milk, and eggs.'"

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412 comments

It was that way in the U.S. in the late 80's (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974174)

Heavy metal was everywhere back then.

If you need to get rid of it, just bring in some grunge and hip-hop groups.

Re:It was that way in the U.S. in the late 80's (4, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974334)

Heavy metal was everywhere back then.

If you need to get rid of it, just bring in some grunge and hip-hop groups.

The cure was worse than the disease!

Re:It was that way in the U.S. in the late 80's (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974858)

"The cure was worse than the disease!"

There's always Disco! (runs)

Re:It was that way in the U.S. in the late 80's (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974842)

In Chinese Democracy, Guns & Roses contaminate YOU!

The United States of China (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974196)

This sort of thing combined with Chinaâ(TM)s very questionable use of banned pesticides and other sketchy farming chemicals is why I do not by food products marked as being from China. I know that many of the other âoeready madeâ food that I eat probably has ingredients from China, but at least I can reduce the amount of poisons I intake. I try to buy local produce, organic when I can, but this tends to be a little spendy. And of course avoiding processed foods and actually making real food in the kitchen goes a long way to avoid the poisonous crap that China exports.

Of course, there are some of the same issues here, but far far fewer.

Without the kind of government regulation that the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to do away with, this is how the United States would be as well.

Re:The United States of China (5, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974276)

Your comment about regulation is nonsense, there is too much importation from China to inspect and regulate, it's impossible. And note we've already had numerous instances of food poisoning and heavy metal contamination in consumer products (found long after the fact of their being let in).

I'd suggest a more sensible approach, don't do business with China at all. Let their system collapse. If the dollar devalues and forces us to become more self-sufficient, that's a good thing that will dramatically increase employment and internal economy.

Re:The United States of China (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974348)

Thats not the kind of regulation hes talking about. He didn't say anything about import regulation. He's talking about pollution and environmental regulation within the US that prevents our farmland from being poisoned with heavy metals. L2comprehend

Re:The United States of China (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974608)

Yep.

The sort of "Job Killing Regulation" the idiots of the Retardican party have been screaming about this year.

When they talk about abolishing the EPA, I take one look at what goes on in China, remember that this is what the Republicans want to let happen in the USA, and I know why nobody who loves their kids should EVER vote Retardican.

Re:The United States of China (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974698)

China is the Republican Paradise.

Re:The United States of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974740)

China is the Republican Paradise for authoritarians.

FTFY

Re:The United States of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974926)

China is the Republican Party's Paradise
since they are both fasicst

Re:The United States of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974786)

Getting rid of the EPA, does not equal, getting rid of the rules that the EPA has in common with 10 other federal agencies. Somehow you seem to think getting rid of the EPA equates to allowing food supplies and the environment to be poisoned. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Re:The United States of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975052)

He's not talking about about abolishing what the EPA does but the agency itself.

You have Joe watching to make sure Seth doesn't cross the line to the North and James making sure Seth doesn't cross the line to the East.

To have Joe and James is redundant. Seth will continued to be watched.

Re:The United States of China (2)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974536)

there is too much importation from China to inspect and regulate, it's impossible.

It's hard so let's just give up? Wow I gotta remember this excuse the next time I forgot to do my homework.

Re:The United States of China (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974854)

should have continued reading. He says quit trying to regulate and inspect; instead, just don't buy anything from China. Don't need to regulate or inspect what you don't import. He's not saying "give up" he's given a solution that would work. The effects of such an action are hard to predict, though. So it may not be as simple as quit importing Chinese goods.

Re:The United States of China (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974564)

"don't do business with China at all. Let their system collapse"

We'd collapse too based on our dependance on their cheap labor costs (and obvious lack of any consideration for the environment). We'd already handed off most of our manufacturing overseas with a good chunk of it to China. We'd see a dramatic increase in unemployment, not employment, as business are starved for parts. It would take generations to rebuild manufacturing here and see a net growth in jobs. Good luck in the meantime.

I also have a nagging suspicion that lots of people here would scream bloody murder if they saw prices shoot up at their Target-Mart from having to pay American wages to feed their consumer habit.

Re:The United States of China (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974668)

Funny thing about that... 20 years ago, Wal-Mart was all about "Buy American."

Of course, 20 years ago, American manufacturing meant something. Nowadays, you're right, we'd have to find workers to re-fill the factories. Like, say, the 15-20% of workers unemployed today (if you follow Real Unemployment rather than the government's "officially skewed" numbers that lose a lot of people).

Hey, wait a minute. We could actually employ people in the USA by rebuilding the manufacturing sector. Shocker of shockers... of course, that would require placing tariffs on dumped goods and stringent requirements of quality standards, in order to account for the price discrepancy of Chinese slave labor and complete lack of environmental regulation. Which is the last thing the current group of people running the House want to do, since it would be a popular move and they don't want to share any of the credit with the other side even though it's something probably 90% of the USA can agree to.

Re:The United States of China (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974974)

Tariffs create artificial markets completely divorced from reality, and the cost of that is passed on to the consumer. Purchasing power parity in this country would zoom straight into the sewer, and we'd end up paying 10x as much for basically everything, which would destroy the middle class.

Re:The United States of China (2, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974902)

"Don't do business with China" is sort of like proposing "don't breathe" as a solution for air pollution.

Do you have ANY IDEA how reliant we are on their manufacturing base? Do you have ANY IDEA the HELL that would come about in this country if we stopped trade with them? Any whatsoever?

I'm not just talking about consumer gadgets either. I'm talking chemical feedstocks, electronics, machine components, and much, much more. Are you willing to pull the trigger that starts a trade war that ends with a US with no medicine?

Re:The United States of China (5, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975112)

This ^

Only a damned fool is going to buy stuff made in China. And, only a double damned fool is going to buy food products from China. FFS, did no one's parents teach them about QUALITY?!?!?! WTF are they teaching in home economics today?

Ohhhh - let's say that you want some bottled water to take on a camping trip or something. Where can you learn whether one brand or another is better than the others? How 'bout a google search. Oh, wow, look what I found!

http://www.ewg.org/reports/BottledWater/Bottled-Water-Quality-Investigation [ewg.org]

Based on that one report alone, I'd probably be better off allowing the kids to drink from the streams where we camp. Crap, I can just boil the water, and have safer water than I can buy!

Do you think anyone looks at reports like that though? Not only "NO!", but "HELL NO!" People are chumps. They buy that bottled water because some MARKEDROIDS told them to buy it!

Americans are just chumps - no research, no comparison, nothing. Whatever is advertised on television is good enough for them. At the market, whichever brand is cheapest and/or comes in the prettiest package is good enough. DUHHHH.

Hey - if you won't shop intelligently for yourself, or your children, maybe you'll at least treat your dog right.

http://www.dogfoodscoop.com/dog-food-comparison.html [dogfoodscoop.com]

Notice that some of the best known, and most expensive, brands of dog food are less nutritious than a shit sandwich. Some of the unknown and cheaper brands are actually pretty good. The cheapest brands are what you would expect - worthless. Give Fido something decent to eat, alright?

Re:The United States of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975118)

Why do you hate global trade innitiatives with countries of differing environmental regulatory standards?!? //tongue firmly in cheek

I have to wonder if this is how China, and the likely coming strain on global food supplies, will keep population at a plateau. Will this be the limitor before disease or other natural stop-gap kicks in?

Re:The United States of China (4, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974340)

This sort of thing combined with Chinaâ(TM)s very questionable use of banned pesticides and other sketchy farming chemicals is why I do not by food products marked as being from China. I know that many of the other âoeready madeâ food that I eat probably has ingredients from China, but at least I can reduce the amount of poisons I intake. I try to buy local produce, organic when I can, but this tends to be a little spendy. And of course avoiding processed foods and actually making real food in the kitchen goes a long way to avoid the poisonous crap that China exports.

Of course, there are some of the same issues here, but far far fewer.

Without the kind of government regulation that the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to do away with, this is how the United States would be as well.

It's scary and even regulations on labeling can't be imposed thanks, apparently, to the need to keep the government out of the way of business. According to the USDA, in 2007 50% of the apple juice consumed in the US came from China. That number is sure to increase.

Re:The United States of China (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974824)

It's scary and even regulations on labeling can't be imposed thanks, apparently, to the need to keep the government out of the way of business. According to the USDA, in 2007 50% of the apple juice consumed in the US came from China. That number is sure to increase.

Things I buy often say things like "contains Thai chicken", but I had a look at UK law and can't see where this is required. The best I can find is a proposed bill [parliament.uk] to change the law to require it to be said, but Parliament ran out of time to debate it.

Does anyone know?

(Actually, I very rarely buy the kind of processed food that would say "contains Thai chicken", but when I do, most of the time the origin of the meat is clear. Fresh fruit and vegetables in the supermarket generally say "Grown in Kenya" or "Grown in the EU". All fish and dairy things say where they're from. But there isn't much consistency. Some things just say "Produce of several countries.")

Re:The United States of China (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975108)

Based on this report (PDF) from USDA [usda.gov] , "Apple juice imports from China totaled 420 million gallons in 2007, which was 60 percent of the U.S. supply. Industry reports suggest that the share of garlic imported from China exceeded 50 percent in 2007"

But "Food imports from China as share of U.S. food supply" is 0.4%.

More like a repeat of Eastern Europe (2, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974500)

under Soviet rule. You haven't seen environmental horrors until you see what they did under Soviet rule, where not only the people bend to the will of the government so will the land. Of how production results are all that mattered, not how it was done. Where you had rivers you could not walk next to. (some might point to Cleveland and such but we ain't holding a candle to some places I have seen over there).

So, keep your derogatory and misinformed slights about the Tea Party and Republicans out of this, what you are witnessing is the same thing that happened under the Soviets in the 50s through 80s. You are witnessing so much government that it is not answerable to anyone.

Let me give you a hint, our government is close to that now, the only difference is not so much environmental impact but the damage it is doing to our society.

Re:More like a repeat of Eastern Europe (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974776)

The view that we need NO government regulation (e.g., get rid entirely of EPA and replace it with nothing) is roughly as stupid as saying that the government can fix anything, we just need to give it the power to do so (which does seem to be a very real viewpoint).

Re:More like a repeat of Eastern Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974806)

You are insane.

This is what happens when business or ANY enterprise is NOT accountable.

Our government is headed TOWARD this type of environmental nightmare, by allowing, nay using unconditional tax breaks to ENCOURAGE this sort of behavior. And tools like you are responsible - and I am CERTAIN you will find some way to avoid responsibility for your actions. That IS the modus operandi of the Republican Party after all - and don't bother with the nonsense about tea partiers not being Republican. EVERYBODY but tea partiers sees through that lie.

Re:More like a repeat of Eastern Europe (5, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974852)

So, keep your derogatory and misinformed slights about the Tea Party and Republicans out of this, what you are witnessing is the same thing that happened under the Soviets in the 50s through 80s. You are witnessing so much government that it is not answerable to anyone.

Exactly... when the people can't regulate what the government can do, you get into trouble (as in China, and in the USSR). The same is true of corporations though; when the people can't regulate corporations (through the government) you get into the same sort of trouble.

The truth is that regulations were put into place for a reason; to protect people and the environment. They were put in place because industry was poisoning the earth... in spite of the "protections" of a free market. Removing regulations may have a positive impact in the short term (may, I have yet to see proof of this), but whatever benefit is far outweighed by the long term negative impact.

Re:More like a repeat of Eastern Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974906)

Way to ignorantly defend the teabaggers and their lapdog republicans. They DO want to repeal all environmental regulations and talk constantly about closing the doors of the EPA. How could you not have seen tape of the current leaders and the republican presidential candidates making the same threats against EPA?
 
The "damage" that environmental regulations are doing to our society are a figment of your imagination, stoked by Fox and Friends and other propagandists.
 
Just like poor people, you are voting against your own interests. Unbelievable.

Re:More like a repeat of Eastern Europe (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974998)

You are no witnessing government, you are witnessing corpor/fascist state, the conjunction of corporations and autocratic government. In the Soviet era is was the police/autocratic state, where it was all about individuals gaining and maintaining power and everything else was subjugated to that.

The psychopaths in charge of those corporation also have another objective in mind, the complete breaking down of the US labour market and the extinction of the middle class. A new three class structured America and the rest of the West, 1% with everything, the enforcement class and the working in poverty class.

Reality is of course, whilst the 1% will create the police state, just like the Soviet Union, the enforcement class will soon enough turn their power on the ones that gave it too them, the 1% will find themselves in the gulags along with the protesting intellectuals (those that give power can take it away, hence they must be eliminated to maintain that power).

The rich and greedy of course never learn, that is not the nature of psychopathy, basically damn the consequences I want everything now. Sparta was a classic example, their were no rich helot merchants, any uppity helots will simply executed as combat practice for the warrior class, the Spartans, the class created to protect those that owned the land and the resources.

Re:The United States of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974568)

The Tea Party and the Republicans do *not* want do get rid of regulations concerning uncontaminated food and a clean environment. They do want to get rid of ***hats like yourself who think more government equals effective government.

Re:The United States of China (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974778)

Then they can start by removing themselves from the House and Senate; the asshat ( this is Slashdot, not Sesame Street - you can use the fucking word here ) quotient will drop considerably and the gov't can start getting shit done.

Re:The United States of China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974794)

I know you want to believe that, but their words and actions speak completely counter to your claims. The parent poster is actually being pretty forgiving.

Sorry, you picked wrong this time. Time to admit it. You fuck up? You man up! Then you shut the fuck up, man.

Was that Chicken I was eating (4, Interesting)

Kagato (116051) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974586)

One of the interesting aspects of globalization is a lot of restaurant food (Mostly Asian for now) is starting to come from china. There's no disclosure requirements there. Makes one think twice before heading off to the low cost Chinese buffet.

I would also say, don't assume organics gets you out of dodgy Chinese agricultural goods. At one point Whole Foods was sourcing their frozen "Organic" vegetables from China. An acquaintance of mine with USDA out of Beijing mission finds that extremely laughable. Since it's their job to visit farms and see the conditions they won't eat any of the food in China. Everything they eat is imported from US or Europe.

Re:The United States of China (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974690)

This sort of thing combined with Chinaâ(TM)s very questionable use of banned pesticides and other sketchy farming chemicals is why I do not by food products marked as being from China. I know that many of the other âoeready madeâ food that I eat probably has ingredients from China, but at least I can reduce the amount of poisons I intake. I try to buy local produce, organic when I can, but this tends to be a little spendy. And of course avoiding processed foods and actually making real food in the kitchen goes a long way to avoid the poisonous crap that China exports.

Of course, there are some of the same issues here, but far far fewer.

Without the kind of government regulation that the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to do away with, this is how the United States would be as well.

Um... yeah! Because China is the right-wing "city on the hill" that all "teabaggers" wish to emulate.

Actually, what TEA Party members want is less government power. The example you ares seeing in China is fine example of why less government is a good idea. See, the all-powerful government that leftists like you want allows a government to set up all the regulations required to keep a population safe from those evil capitalist pigs. Unfortunately, it includes government power to choose who to apply those regulations to and when.

TEA Partiers are very similar to Libertarians when comes to central government power. They both want the 10'th Amendment followed. The Constitution grants the federal government to regulate trade, meaning that the TEA Partiers agree that the federal government has the power to inspect and regulate trade with China. In other words, your entire argument against those greedy "teabaggers" is nothing more than a red herring. If you argument was sound, you wouldn't need to resort to lies and distortions to make your point.

Re:The United States of China (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975102)

Indeed, what people are blind to in this matter is that China is demonstrating what happens when government is doing everything. People are so ignorant they think there are no environmental regulations in China, but China has regulations and equivalent of the EPA (even mentioned in the summary, the Environmental Ministry).

The problem is that because China's industries are still significantly state-owned there is an insurmountable conflict of interest. The state is effectively asked to prosecute itself, and in a one-party authoritarian system where all dissent is violently crushed, the motive to protect profitable state industries is higher than the motivation to protect citizens from harm. The Chinese regime is not sufficiently accountable to its people which it more profitably subjugates than protects.

Re:The United States of China (0)

SuseLover (996311) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974874)

You are completely off-base with that comment about the Tea Party. I (as a tea partier) have no problem with unions in general except for public position unions and the ridiculous demands and perks they get paid for by the taxpayers. Unions are unnecessary if they work for the government since it is the government that sets most of the workplace environment regulations to begin with which makes unions redundant.

Add to that the fact the union dues are used to support or lobby for political positions that all the members do not necessarily agree with but are forced to pay into and therefore support.

Re:The United States of China (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974900)

Without the kind of government regulation that the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to do away with, this is how the United States would be as well.

One of the most idiotic partisan debates in the US is whether regulation is 'good' or 'bad.' There is no disagreement that causes dumbness on both sides. Both sides are wrong. Regulation is neither bad nor good by itself, it depends in great measure what regulation is in consideration. Some regulation is clearly good, some regulation is clearly bad. If you want to know, you have to investigate the particular regulation and consider whether it is good or bad. But go ahead, jump to your party line, it will keep you from needing to think.

In this case, the problem is caused partly BECAUSE of bad government regulation, look at this awful one from the summary:

The report documents how local authorities in contaminated areas have imposed arbitrary limits on access to blood lead testing, for example by permitting only people living within a small radius of a factory to be tested.

Makes you wonder if the average people will find out about this, or if another Chinese government regulation, against free speech, will prevent people from finding out and creating the kind of regulations that can actually fix this.

Re:The United States of China (3, Insightful)

Artraze (600366) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975038)

> Without the kind of government regulation that the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to do away
> with, this is how the United States would be as well.

There's no nice way of putting this: You are retarded and whoever modded this nonsense "insightful" should be denied mod points indefinitely.

This comment is nothing but baseless bashing of 'them' without any thought at all. You don't even have a pretense of understanding the Republican or Tea Party (real mature BTW) points. Has it never occurred to you that there's a middle ground between where we are and no regulation at all? Or that one can go about regulation differently? Or, geez, that even if there was _no_ regulation how public outcry from everyone would still provide a good deal of incentive to not do it? Not that I'd rely on that, but still we wouldn't be half as bad as China.

But of course, because you have no clue what you're talking about you don't get that. Did you know, for example, that China only recently phased out leaded gasoline? And that it's still being produced in rural (e.g. farming) areas? Well, yeah, probably, because I bet your point was that the "Tea Baggers" wanted to bring back leaded gas.
(and I could go on about why China isn't like the US and how the differences are much more cultural than regulatory, but I made my point.)

How sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974252)

All I can think is how sad it is. Poor people.

1 10th of China's Farmland Polluted with Heavy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974296)

Its called "POPULATION CONTROL" because China is bursting at the seams with too much population growth. They are going to let a percentage die off in order to further control population growth by denying health care and so on to those affected by it all.

Re:1 10th of China's Farmland Polluted with Heavy (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974444)

Implausible. Heavy metal poisoning is only modestly fatal, either at alarming doses or if you draw the short straw in the carcinogen lottery; but has a huge band of unpleasant but nonfatal effects at lower doses.

With uncontrolled emissions into the environment, you would likely see a uselessly small die-off, largely among people with occupational exposure, and a huge number of subtly to seriously impaired people with cognitive issues, chronic health problems, or both. Killing nearly nobody and creating a large number of chronically sick people is not exactly a clever population control strategy, even if you don't have any ethical reservations about it...

Re:1 10th of China's Farmland Polluted with Heavy (1)

sgbett (739519) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974938)

Stories of nature finding a way in places thought uninhabitable due to radiation [slashdot.org] . Of fish that have modified proteins to live in water thought too toxic to sustain lives [slashdot.org] .

Or not? [bbc.co.uk]

Perhaps humans are more complex and it won't work the same way. I'm certainly not saying its the chinese government are right - its a pretty ghoulish social experiment - but I wonder if the law of unintended consequences might apply.

Imagine a nation with not only economic superiority, but also a genetic advantage of living in hostile environments!

Re:1 10th of China's Farmland Polluted with Heavy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974454)

This really isn't a good way to control the population... This sort of contamination just makes people sick, weak, or chronically ill. I'm sure there will be higher incidences of cancer, but its only a blip on the radar of China's population problem.

Re:1 10th of China's Farmland Polluted with Heavy (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974756)

Stuff like that kicks in after 30-40 years. They already had their kid. "Population Control" Failed. You did however manage to kill of your most productive segment of your population.

Feed the Poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974316)

Most Dog food and bargain foods come from China. Good way to reduce population, feed poison to the poor!

Unions (4, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974318)

Look for Chinese labor movements. The Poles were able to do it in the face of oppression. Maybe the Chinese can also.

And to think some working men think unions are a bad thing.

Re:Unions (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974504)

The only reason the Poles were able to do it is because they were getting money and help from the CIA (ironically, even as the same administration was fighting against unions at home).

Re:Unions (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974792)

And there was a pretty good PR campaign going on. St. Ronald Reagan and the Pope were out there helping the image of the Polish workers.

The main difference as I see it, the Soviets were broke and couldn't really address the Polish problem. In this case, the U.S. is broke and probably couldn' t address the Chinese problem, even if the G20 let us. In Soviet Russia you try to buy American jeans from the Americans. In 2011 American, you buy American jeans from the Chinese. That pretty much sums up any chance of a workers revolt.

Uh, umm The government is a labor movement? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974540)

You know what happens when you create a labor movement in a communist country? You get shot by the competition.

Re:Unions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974716)

"And to think some working men think unions are a bad thing"

yes, the heavily indoctrinated ones who are still asleep.

Re:Unions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975042)

Not likely when there are billions of desperately poor Chinese standing in line for any job. Go ahead and strike, you will all be replaced without any trouble.

Re:Unions (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975048)

Unions are valid gatherings of people. Unions in this nation, however, have degenerated to a sort of mafia, that forces people to join, uses their influence to corrupt government and legal structures, and basically become bloated parasites, all while citing instances of abuse from a hundred years ago or more.

Yes, China needs unions, but not for long. Already, working conditions are greatly improving. Instances of (real) slave labor have all but disappeared. Pay is rising. These are natural processes that do not require unions. But unions are good for stopping abuses, and enforcing safety regulations (which need not be government based).

Low prices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974344)

They don't keep down manufacturing prices in some magic way, those cheap gadgets do have their cost.

Can't see the point of the article (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974364)

China doesn't care what anybody else thinks, we can't realistically threaten to boycott them (what are you reading this on, and where was it made?) and they essentially control the dollar and are making big inroads into the Euro as well.

This is a domestic Chinese problem, and it will be solved when the people of China decide to deal with their government one way or another. Until then all we can do is wring our hands and cry "Oh, the seething hordes of yellow sort-of-humanity! Oooh, new iPads!"

Re:Can't see the point of the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974664)

I personally care about this article as Canada is a major importer of food (both processed and raw ingredients) from China.
If you live in the US you should be even more concerned, as China is now the third largest source of U.S. agricultural and seafood imports. Have a look at this article from the Federation of American Scientists [fas.org]

Don't be fooled; China's food problems are OUR problems until we refuse to accept their food imports.

Re:Can't see the point of the article (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974960)

I personally care about this article as Canada is a major importer of food (both processed and raw ingredients) from China.

Canadians should be equally concerned that Canada is a major importer of Chinese officials' ill-gotten gains. Many of them feel safe to exacerbate the pollution and corruption problems in China because their families (and bank accounts) are safely accepted into Canada.

Re:Can't see the point of the article (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974798)

This is a domestic Chinese problem, and it will be solved when the people of China decide to deal with their government one way or another.

I wonder when the Chinese people will remember this quote? "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." - Mao Tse-Tung

Re:Can't see the point of the article (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975034)

This is a domestic Chinese problem, and it will be solved when the people of China decide to deal with their government one way or another.

Hardly a domestic Chinese problem. A number of foods in my grocery store -- particularly spices and fish -- are labeled "Product of China".

I'm not "boycotting" their food to get them to change their ways, but for somewhat more personal reasons.

Re:Can't see the point of the article (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975050)

Or when the government decides it's serious enough to deal with, or when low level officials stop taking bribes. The people in china are part of the pervasive corruption, not the solution.

Like most developing countries, it's not china's laws that are the problem. It's the fact that an envelope full of money will make the law disappear.

Sure, in the US it's the same way, but the amount of money required is extraordinary. In the US (and the EU and canada) you pay off members of parliament, congress, the senate, you don't pay off the local mayor, city inspector, city engineer in cash, on a daily basis.

In rich countries you pay to have the law rewritten, which at least has the benefit of everyone seeing the new version of the law. In developing countries the law just melts away.

Re:Can't see the point of the article (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975068)

Do you mean my computer or monitor? My monitor was largely made in Korea. It is an LG Displays IPS panel, which are made in Korea. The electronics were made in Japan. final assembly was done in China but could easily be done elsewhere.

The computer is made from parts all over the place, few from China. The power supply is the only component I can think of that was made in China. The CPU was fabbed in the US, packaged in Costa Rica. The SSDs were made in the US, the HDDs in Malaysia. The memory was made in Taiwan. The graphics card was fabbed in Taiwan, assembled in the US. Final assembly of the system was done in the US since I put the thing together myself.

I'm not trying to argue that China isn't a massive producer of goods but please let's stop the stupidity of "China makes everything the US makes nothing!" Computers are largely NOT made in China.

Check your preserved/frozen fruit labels. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974390)

one tenth of China's 1.22 million square kilometers of farmland are polluted with heavy metals and other toxins

Ah, that explains why food has begun to appear at my local store from China. I knew it couldn't be any good, just wondered about the details.

Vermont Village Organic applesauce is "canned" (is fruitcupped a verb?) in Barre, Vermont, according to the label on my desk (guess what I'm eating for lunch today?). Not sure where they're grown, Vermont is so small it probably only has like two trees. The fact they don't say where they're grown is disturbing.

Generic/big corporate apple fruit cups are proudly labeled as made in China. Frozen fruit comes from China also. I have stopped buying that for health reasons. Read your labels, or suffer the consequences...

Re:Check your preserved/frozen fruit labels. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974796)

I'd feel safe eating your VT applesauce (New England has more than two apple tree I can assure you) but the fruit cup label gives me the creeps. I wouldn't trust any food product coming out of that cesspool of a nation.

The people of China are going to regret their "progress at any cost" mentality for many generations to come. The Soviet Union made the same mistake but it seems they mainly polluted some areas with nuclear waste and fertilized most of Siberia with human corpses. Lead pollution alone will drive down average IQs in children.

EPA (1, Insightful)

radaghast (1672864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974452)

Meanwhile in the U.S. the EPA must be abolished if we want jobs again. Maybe so if we want more oncologists.

Mercury (2)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974460)

Do you know that the average Chinese farm contains more mercury than a rectal thermometer? Would you EAT a rectal thermometer? Well I would. Ah, mercury, sweetest of the transition metals.

Re:Mercury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974660)

Do you know that the average Chinese farm contains more mercury than a rectal thermometer? Would you EAT a rectal thermometer? Well I would. Ah, mercury, sweetest of the transition metals.

Source?

Re:Mercury (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974950)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18396555 [nih.gov]

Claims 111 to 213 mg of Hg ions per Kg of soil, which seems a wee bit high. mg per Kg is basically a wordy version of PPM. I'm not sure if that scales, that would imply all of China's dirt added together would be some multiple of the total planetary store of Hg, wouldn't it?. Note this is the dirt that is washed off the mountains annually, so its probably the highest possible soil concentration.

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2005JG000061.shtml [agu.org]

Claims plain ole Canadian forest dirt has 200 ng/g aka PPB. That seems like a reasonable number. High enough to fit with historical coal burning, low enough not to instantly kill anything grown in it, etc. Note this is just "bulk dirt"

I suppose soil levels in China could very well be 1000 times higher than in a forest in rural Canada.

As for the thermometer, fever thermometers used to have somewhat less than a gram of metallic non-ionized mercury. I am no expert on rectal thermometers. But I'm willing guess "somewhere in the gram level" is about right. Think about it for a second, goatse aside, the orifice is usually smaller than the mouth the oral thermometers use.

So to make one thermometer, you need something like all the soil in an entire medium sized Canadian farm, or a couple shovel fulls of Chinese dirt.

The big problem is liquid thermometers were made with Hg decades ago, alcohol solutions a decade or two ago, and are electronic now. Somebody putting Hg in your rear in 2011 is making a weird internet video, not doing a legitimate medical procedure.

Re:Mercury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37975088)

Sealab 2021, I believe the episode is Waking Quinn.

Re:Mercury (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974802)

Do you know that the average Chinese farm contains more mercury than a rectal thermometer? Would you EAT a rectal thermometer? Well I would. Ah, mercury, sweetest of the transition metals.

Would you (could you possibly) eat and entire Chinese farm? Would you be hungry and hour later?

The US will catch up soon (-1, Troll)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974468)

Once President Perry eliminates the job-killing EPA!

Re:The US will catch up soon (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974800)

Once President Perry eliminates the job-killing EPA!

President Perry? Why wait? President Lawnchair will beat him to it! Just wait until the rest of the conservatives tell him that he is being unpatriotic by not eliminating the EPA and that they won't talk to him about anything at all until he does and then ... POOF! Gone is that pesky EPA, courtesy of President Lawnchair.

Q: Mr. President, can you collapse under pressure?

A:Like a Lawnchair!

Re:The US will catch up soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974882)

Check your freezer, I bet half the produce in there has the ol' Grown in China label. The size of your government pales in comparison to corporate greed.

Easy win to the new Cold war (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974470)

Looks like China may have figured out how to win the next Cold War before it even begins. Poison the citizens of the US with contaminated foods. Glad Russia didn't think of it.

Re:Easy win to the new Cold war (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974600)

Russia thought of it, but we were big exporters at the time, so they couldn't implement it.
They're lucky we didn't think of it, or the soviet union probably would have collapsed.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974516)

So what if some chinks get poisoned. I need the latest iShiny!

More like China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974530)

And still people look at China and say that we should be more like them. They say its cost to much to build a company or factory here in the U.S., too many regulations. Its funny how easily people forget. The majority of the rules and regulations are there for a reason. Its may be cheap to build a factory in China but I can guarantee someone is paying a hefty price for it.

Re:More like China (4, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974616)

The simple solution would be instead of "all goods manufactured in US must obey blah blah blah regulation" we use "all goods sold in US must obey blah blah blah regulation".

Of course our corporate overlords will never allow this pass to in congress.

The U.S. is better? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974576)

"The poisoned are denied treatment and China's Environmental Ministry offers no possible help."

Dude, I HAVE HEAVY METALS POISONING. I've been in chelation therapy for 14 years and NOBODY does anything to help. Check Medicare, Medicade, any insurance company and you will see that support for heavy metals poisoning is nowhere to be found. Ask your doctor to do a simple RBC minerals assay to check for heavy metals and watch the blank expression on his face in reaction. I'm doing my therapy all on my own.

Heavy metals CAUSE CANCER. Why aren't people being screened for heavy metals when cancer is suspected?

UN FUCKING BELIEVABLE.

Lemmy Von Kilmister for Chinese Secretary of Ag. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974582)

His moles clearly indicate he's been eating tainted produce (not to mention shitting rock 'n roll) for years now.

Apple Juice (4, Interesting)

Tighe_L (642122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974624)

Almost all the apple juice sold in the United States has some concentrate from China. And SO many people give apple juice to their children. Also apple juice concentrate is used to sweeten other beverages "naturally" like cranberry and lemonade and fruit punch. Fortunately Ocean Spray recently switched to using cane and beat sugar to sweeten their cranberry juice. They previously used high fructose corn syrup which can contain mercury depending on how it is manufactured.

Maybe I won't buy those oranges this time... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974666)

I have been wondering about the safety of the Mandarin Oranges I have been buying (in cups) at the grocery store. They say product of China right on the package (regardless of whether they are name-brand or store-brand); maybe I'll switch to pears and/or peaches instead.

Are you interested in lessening your impact? (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974672)

Maybe:
- stick with your current phone for 4 years?
- skip your next computer upgrade for 5 years?
- settle on a 24" LCD instead of the 92" plasma? ..Not a chance

It's disturbing that we've put our own neck in the noose but just keep tightening the rope.

And this is suprising how? (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974694)

China has no pollution controls installed AND RUNNING. They purposely disable pollution controls contrary to their agree with Japan.

Offshoring (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974744)

I blame offshoring of manufacturing services. Offshoring has proven a boon to industries that wish to export their toxic manufacturing processes and slave-labour "wages" to foreign countries. Can you think of any cases where the "cheap" manufacturing wasn't accompanied by lax employee and environmental safety regulations?

The answer is more industrialization (2)

Freedom Bug (86180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37974826)

Paradoxically, the answer is more industrialization, not less. History shows that pollution reaches a maximum for a country around when GDP per head reaches about $10,000. Below that number, citizens care more about the fundamental basic needs, and would rather have more money than a cleaner environment. As the citizenry gets richer, they start to care more about the environment they live in and demand that their government does something about it, and are willing to sacrifice some income to achieve it.

Luckily, China can take advantage of technological process, and will likely never be as bad as countries that industrialized earlier. No place ever has been or ever will be as polluted as London was in the late 1800s.

kewl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37974886)

Lets import some food.

See what happens in a Commie Country? (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37975030)

If only China were capitalist, the Invisible Hand would take care of those poisoned people right snappy.

or maybe...

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