Sitting on the back porch of my Albuquerque home, nestled in the soft light of the American Southwest, I casually put down my newspaper, looked at my son playing with his toy train and suddenly realized: China’s corruption could kill him.
I had just finished reading about the latest tainted product from China—Thomas the Tank Engine toy trains—only to realize that was the exact train he was playing with there on the deck. Needless to say, the train is now in the garbage and I washed my son’s hands with soap—three times.
Shoddy products from China are nothing new, but how do they come to be that way, and why does it seem they are on the rise even as oversight processes are supposedly improving?
Poor manufacturing is partly responsible, but there’s something more pervasive and sinister happening in China: an erosion of basic morals. It’s not that products are merely made of poor quality material. They are made with hazardous material and consciously so.
During the 1990s, China, though still autocratic, saw advances in freedom, law, and the economy. When the persecution of Falun Gong was launched in 1999, however, it threw many institutions back several decades.
Tyrannical officials were promoted and kind ones were purged in a cleansing of the Communist Party ranks. Policies were implemented with oppressing Falun Gong as the core objective, disregarding their implications for social and economic wellness.
In short, the persecution of Falun Gong spawned an enormous backslide in morals. CNN’s senior analyst Willy Lam called it the greatest crisis facing China.
So long as such a systematic persecution persists, Chinese officials and common people will continue to lose sight of our common humanity and responsibility for each other’s wellbeing. That moral crisis will result in more and more dangers being exported from the world’s factory.