Monday, August 13, 2007

Chinese Suicide And Cute Furry Monsters

Unless you’ve been living in a cave in Afghanistan, chances are you’ve heard about the numerous and increasing examples of recalled products from Chinese manufacturers. I recently posted a list of many of these toxic, hazardous, or misleading product warnings, everything from tires, to toothpaste, to toys. It seems China is trying to kill us.

Then it seemed they were trying to kill each other, when they executed their food and drug chief over these scandals and the bribes he was taking. Another official, who was at the heart of the recent dog food melamine poisonings, has been detained and may face the same fate.

Now they’re killing themselves:

One of the most recent massive Chinese product recalls was for 967,000 Elmo, Big Bird, Diego, and Dora toys that had been painted with lead-based paint. Any children who may have stuck these toys in their mouth could have poisoned themselves, causing vomiting, anemia, learning disabilities, neurological conditions, or even death. I’ve paid close attention to this one, given that I have two small children who love those products with a cult-like devotion.

But I haven’t heard of any children actually known to be injured by these toys.

Nonetheless, Zhang Shuhong, co-owner of the Chinese company that manufactured these toys, Lee Dur Industry Company, hung himself in one of his warehouses this weekend. According to the article, it is common for disgraced officials to kill themselves in China. Hell, it’s probably better than letting the government execute you!

I can only guess what was going through his mind at the time of his death (other than a sudden desire to breathe and a wish that he’d used cheaper rope). Doubtless Zhang had lamented his role in potentially poisoning thousands of children to make better profits, though, ironically, it was his best friend, the paint manufacturer, who is probably the source of the issue. Had Zhang known the paint had lead? It remains to be seen. If he’d been in America, he would have simply professed ignorance and blamed his best friend. It’s the American way, don’t you know.

Now, being the father of young children who fawn over everything that bears the likeness of Elmo and Diego, I suspect there may be another cause to Zhang’s suicide: Elmo Overload.

Yes, overload of all things Elmo. Nothing new to parents with small children, only magnified. Can you imagine it? Going to work, day in and day out, seeing the little red monster everywhere you look, hearing that high-pitched laugh with every movement of every crate. Heck, he probably dreamed about Elmo. Only in his dreams the little beastie’s fur was probably blood-red, it’s laugh echoing across the caverns of his mind, its silly little voice chanting demonic curses. What’s the number of the day, Zhang? 666! It’s enough to drive a man to suicide.

I’m guessing Zhang isn’t the last Chinese official to face death over these scandals and recalls, either at their own hands or those of the government.

In the meantime, I recommend checking the source of your imported products. Oh, and don’t go sucking on any Diego toys, okay?

Image taken from HERE.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting thoughts!!! But don't forget that the World is still depending on a lot of products that are currently being manufactured in China. That seems to be an inescapable reality!!!



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