CN — LARRY ROMANOFF: 在中国不合标准的外国商品–




Substandard Foreign Goods in China

中国不合标准的外国商品– September 21, 2020



          翻译: 珍珠

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The Western media inform us on a regular basis about cheap products sent to the world from China, and about the substandard and even dangerous content of some of them. Lead in paint, melamine in dog food, chemicals in drywall, glycol in toothpaste. We can be forgiven for thinking this is a one-way street, but the story has another side which the Western media cover with a blanket of silence. China is the victim of far more defective and toxic products, or prohibited goods, from the West, particularly the US, than it sends outward. Westerners may find this difficult to believe because this news is almost always censored in the US.



Modern Chinese consumers had initially developed trust in foreign goods from sophisticated marketing that implied Western brands and products were well-made and of high quality, and were expensive for a reason. That trust proved itself startlingly unjustified. Sales in China of foreign products had been growing at high rates until the revelations that many foreign companies and brands had so many severe quality problems that foreign goods were normally substandard. So many foreign firms have been repeatedly caught and charged, and fined, for transgressions, but their profits had been high enough to continue their illegal practices. It was an astonishingly short-sighted policy since, for an increasing number of American firms, 50% or more of their operating profits were originating in China. In several recent years, 50% of the operating profits of US-based Yum Brands’ came from mainland China, as opposed to 32% from the US, and I’ve noted elsewhere that General Motors and a number of other US companies would be bankrupt if not for their China sales. Even many US educational institutions are surviving only because of new money from Chinese students. Yet they all approached China with what appeared to be a fatally-short time horizon and stupidly decided to milk Chinese consumers as hard and fast as possible, and in every way possible. It didn’t seem to occur to any of them that their short-sightedness, coupled with an uninhibited greed, might one day be fatal.




Given the high profits originating in China, one would assume these firms would treat their Chinese customers with some consideration – if not respect – but the opposite is normally the case. Most foreign firms resident in China treat the country as a third-rate market, reserving their substandard goods for the China market and charging much higher prices in China than in the West for the same goods – which are mostly manufactured in China and should cost much less. Foreign firms had for years been treated leniently and even gently by the Chinese government, given substantial tax breaks and preferential treatment, yet they proceeded to break every manner of domestic law and generally treated China and their Chinese consumers with arrogance and open contempt. In China, many of these firms act with an almost complete lawlessness. Some firms that were forced to remove toxic or substandard consumer products from the US or Europe, would ship them to China for sale here. Sony, Toshiba, P & G, Volkswagen, and other multinationals have been accused of just such practices. The extent of substandard clothing imported by foreign multinationals has become an epidemic with at least 20%, and often 60%, of shipments failing to meet minimum standards. Chinese Customs now inspect every shipment and destroy all substandard goods.



Clothing manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers everywhere have problems with returned items or stock that is unattractive, dated, perhaps soiled from customer try-ons, left-overs from last year’s fashions, and just items that nobody wanted to buy. All firms try to take advantage of multiple locations to deal with these problems, and to escape their mistakes. Stock that doesn’t sell in one location might sell in another district or another city. But now Western firms have a new option: send it all to China – the world’s new dumping ground.



In Shanghai we have a huge shopping center known as an “Outlet Mall”, a high-class center consisting of many attractive low-rise buildings covering a large area, with shops carrying only major foreign brands, virtually every foreign brand you’ve ever heard of, and some you probably don’t know. It is presented to the public as a “50% discount mall”, but disappointingly is no such thing. In almost every store, the stock consisted of items that were dated, unattractive, out of fashion, or simply simply rejected in North America or Europe, in large part goods that were several fashion years old. It was only too apparent the executives of these brands had gathered their left-over fashion trash from the US, Europe and Japan, and dumped it all into China. And even at “50% off”, the stock was still priced two or three times higher than it would have been in the US or Europe. As one example I saw a pair of blue jeans of an expensive ‘luxury’ brand that appeared to have been either sold or tried on dozens of times and that I could document as a style from three years prior, priced at more than 1,000 RMB, twice the original new price. Following this trend, Nike advertised plans to open up to 50 new “self-supporting factory stores” in China to “dispose of inventory” and “clear stock”, stores that will most assuredly be used to dump Nike’s left-over worldwide junk into China.

在上海,我们有一个被称为 “奥特莱斯购物中心 “的大型购物中心,这是一个由许多漂亮的低层建筑组成的高级购物中心,占地面积很大,店内只出售主要的外国品牌,几乎所有你听说过的外国品牌都有,有些你可能还不知道。它向公众展示的是一个 “五折购物中心”,但令人失望的是,根本就不是那么回事。几乎每家商店的存货都是过时的、不吸引人的、不流行的,或者在北美或欧洲根本不受欢迎的商品,其中很大一部分都是几年前流行的商品。很明显,这些品牌的高管们把他们从美国、欧洲和日本剩下的时尚垃圾集中起来,全部倒进了中国。即使是 “五折”,其价格仍比在美国或欧洲高出两三倍。例如,我看到一条昂贵的 “奢侈 “品牌蓝色牛仔裤,似乎已经被卖过或试穿过几十次,我可以证明它是三年前的款式,售价超过 1000 元人民币,是原新款价格的两倍。顺应这一趋势,耐克宣传计划在中国开设多达 50 家新的 “自营工厂店”,以 “处理库存 “和 “清理存货”。这些商店肯定会被用来向中国倾销耐克在全球范围内剩下的垃圾。


On a daily basis, products manufactured in the US or other Western countries for sale in the West are discovered to have major defects or to be substandard or even toxic. Often, when that discovery is made and those products cannot be sold in the West due to government regulations or excessive warranty claims, they are gathered up and shipped to China for sale in the China market. Some years ago, Toshiba produced some lines of new products that had major flaws, and in the end had to pay out more than $1 billion in settlements to its US customers. Instead of repairing (or destroying) all those defective products, Toshiba shipped them to China for sale there. Sony did the same; after discovering manufacturing defects in millions of Japanese-made cameras on sale in the US and Europe, Sony withdrew the goods and shipped them to China for sale in the China market.



As well, many Western companies, including Apple, Sony, Panasonic, and many of the so-called “luxury brands” like Louis Vuitton, have been frequently accused of selling reconditioned or repaired items in China as new stock. An employee of one luxury brand acknowledged it is a routine practice for their stores in China to put repaired goods back on the shelves. “The shopkeepers are told to deliberately change the serial code of a returned item and make it look new.” In 2012, a lawsuit was filed in Beijing court on behalf of customers who bought “new” iphones for RMB 5,000 ($780) each at the Apple retail store in Beijing’s Xidan Street. On examination, the iphones proved to have been refurbished used items. Often, foreign firms in China simply refuse to deal with their defective products. Unlike their ‘customer first’ behavior in the West, these same firms in China either flatly refuse to provide replacement or compensation, or make the process impossibly difficult. They deny the existence of a defect or their responsibility for it, often flatly refuse refunds or replacements, and otherwise prolong warranty claims for months or even years until the customers lose hope and abandon the process. In Beijing, Ricky Zhang was furious when the locks broke on her LV luggage, since she’d spent 20,000 yuan ($3,200) on the item only a month before. Zhang wanted the bag replaced, but was told the shop was responsible only for sales. After a month’s wait, she was told the item could be repaired in three months, and that insisting on a replacement would require a difficult and time-consuming application to the Chinese government’s Quality Supervision Authorities for “an official review”. Even with media exposure, the brand defended its procedures and claimed it was providing “a standardized service”.

此外,许多西方公司,包括苹果、索尼、松下,以及路易威登等许多所谓的奢侈品牌经常被指控在中国将翻新或修理过的物品作为新库存出售。一家奢侈品牌的员工承认,他们在中国的商店将维修过的商品重新上架是惯例。“店主们被告知要故意更改退货商品的序列号,使其看起来像新的。”2012在北京西单街的苹果零售店以每台5000780美元的价格购买iPhone顾客向北京法院提起诉讼。经检查这些iphone证明是翻新过的旧物品。通常,在中国的外国公司只是拒绝处理他们的缺陷产品。与西方的“客户至上”行为不同,中国的这些公司要么断然拒绝提供替代或补偿,要么让这一过程变得异常困难。他们否认存在缺陷或对此负责,经常断然拒绝退款或更换,并以其他方式将保修索赔延长数月甚至数年,直到客户失去希望并放弃这一过程。在北京,瑞奇·张(Ricky Zhang)的LV行李锁坏了,她非常愤怒,因为她一个月前才花了2万元(3200美元)买了这件行李。张想换包,但被告知该店只负责销售。经过一个月的等待,她被告知该产品可以在三个月内修复,坚持更换需要向中国政府质量监督部门申请“官方审查”,这既困难又耗时。即使有媒体曝光,该品牌仍为其程序辩护,并声称其提供了“标准化服务”。


Shanghai’s port receives more than 30,000 shipments of imported clothes every year, the value of which accounts for more than 40 percent of the country’s total clothing imports. During the past ten years in Shanghai alone, at least 20% of all foreign clothing shipped to China, or placed on sale in Chinese shops, has failed government testing and discovered to be substandard or defective. In many cases, 60% of an entire shipment was substandard and had to be returned or destroyed, or withdrawn from sale, often repeatedly shipped by the same foreign brands. Clothes imported from some of the world top luxury brands, such as Hermes and Versace, have routinely proven to be substandard in quality control tests. The so-called ‘luxury brands’ are often the worst at shipping their substandard goods, those contaminated or failing quality control tests, to China. At one point, authorities collected samples from department stores and boutiques in many cities, and found such a high proportion of defective foreign “luxury products” that retailers were fined, and ordered to withdraw all foreign goods from their shelves. Many of these companies are such frequent offenders they are placed on the government’s ‘black list’, where no products will pass customs without a full examination at their expense, a severe restriction to be sure, but one that appears to produce no meaningful change. These companies are all recidivist; they are no sooner removed from the black list than they revert to their former practices and find themselves on the black list again.



The problem has become endemic of foreign firms shipping their substandard clothing to China from the US or Europe, or manufacturing in China and exporting the good products while reserving the substandard goods for sale in China, that local authorities now examine every shipment of so-called luxury goods entering the country. Market regulators in China have consistently reported numerous quality problems with high-end clothes of the more expensive brands including Burberry, Armani, Chanel and Dior, Hermes and Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Paul & Shark, Trussardi, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Fendi, and Lacoste Garments by all these well-known brand names have proven on examination to be substandard. Brands including Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss and Dolce & Gabbana have more than once been caught selling substandard shoes in China, and authorities in Zhejiang have destroyed thousands of pairs of expensive shoes because of serious quality problems. Many Western luxury products on sale in China are labeled by the companies as being made overseas, while they are actually produced in China, then sent to an overseas destination (or even just a Chinese export zone) for final adjustment or packaging, a practice clearly intended only to deceive the consumer. With these products then wearing foreign-made labels, Chinese consumers are unable to discern the origin or real quality of the product.

外国公司将不合格的服装从美国或欧洲运往中国,或者在中国制造并出口好产品,同时保留不合格的商品在中国销售,这一问题已经普遍存在,地方当局现在会检查每一批进入中国的所谓奢侈品。中国市场监管机构一直报告,包括巴宝莉(Burberry)、阿玛尼(Armani)、香奈儿(Chanel)和迪奥(Dior)、爱马仕(Hermes)和范思哲(Versace)、杜嘉班Dolce&Gabbana、保罗与鲨鱼Paul&Shark、特鲁萨迪Trussardi、雨果·波斯Hugo Boss、拉夫·劳伦Ralph Lauren、芬迪Fendi。路易威登(Louis Vuitton)、雨果·波斯(Hugo Boss)和杜嘉班纳(Dolce&Gabbana)等品牌不止一次在中国销售不合格的鞋子,浙江当局也因严重的质量问题销毁了数千双昂贵的鞋子。许多在中国销售的西方奢侈品被这些公司贴上了海外制造的标签而它们实际上是在中国生产的然后被送往海外目的地甚至只是中国的出口区进行最终调整或包装这种做法显然只是为了骗消费者。由于这些产品贴上了外国制造的标签,中国消费者无法辨别产品的原产地或真实质量。


The lower-cost popular brands are not better in any respect, brands such as Zara, Disney, Folli Follie, Anna Sui, The North Face, Nike, Puma, Adidas, Marks & Spencer, Diesel, have all experienced quality recalls. And it isn’t as if these are low-cost or discounted goods. Even the most basic foreign-branded items are expensive in China, with a simple $10 cotton T-shirt priced at $50, leading one to expect a high-quality product which is almost never offered. One of the worst offenders is Nike, who, in a long string of fraudulent activities, was recently fined almost US$1 million for fraudulent promotion and false advertising, selling an inferior product as a premium one. Large numbers of other Nike products, including men’s and women’s shoes, have been discovered to be substandard and were removed from sale. Often the distributors and retailers are fined, but American companies often subcontract their manufacturing and so cleverly craft their legal entities as virtual shell corporations, that the actual corporation has no legal existence in the country, and few or no assets.

成本较低的流行品牌在任何方面都不好,Zara、迪士尼、Folli FollieAnna SuiThe North Face、耐克、彪马、阿迪达斯、Marks&SpencerDiesel品牌都经历过质量召回。而且这些并不是低成本或折扣商品。即使是最基本的外国品牌商品在中国也很贵,一件10美元的棉质T恤售价50美元,这让人们期待着一款几乎从未提供过的高质量产品。耐克是最严重的违规者之一,在一系列欺诈活动中,他最近因欺诈性促销和虚假广告,将劣质产品作为优质产品出售,被罚款近100万美元。耐克的许多其他产品,包括男鞋和女鞋,都被发现不合格,并被下架销售。分销商和零售商经常被罚款,但美国公司经常将其制造分包出去,并如此巧妙地将其法律实体打造成虚拟空壳公司,以至于实际的公司在该国没有合法存在,资产很少或根本没有。


The quality faults are substantial in number and kind, including color fastness, dangerous and illegal dyes, excessive formaldehyde, high pH index, improper labeling, and toxic coatings. The chemical flaws are perhaps the most serious, much foreign clothing commonly containing hormone-disrupting toxins which interfere with human sexual development by simulating estrogen and which can be lethal. These man-made chemicals are so stable that they are difficult to remove from the environment, and tend to concentrate in drinking water and the higher levels of the food chain, and ultimately in human blood and breast milk, making them exceedingly dangerous for pregnant women and young mothers.



Flaws due to substandard manufacturing are a constant headache, largely due to the firms’ quality control scams, reserving goods with defects for sale in China. The flaws are not always immediately obvious and these products appear to present no danger, so are often overlooked by government investigators and thus remain on the shelves for purchase by trusting customers. As mentioned above, these can often be returned or repaired items that are sold as new, but most often simply contain manufacturing defects, goods that would normally be sold at high discounts in the West. But the problems are greater than this, with at least some foreign luxury brands manufacturing entirely different levels of goods. At a Coach store in Shanghai, a friend recently purchased an expensive leather handbag that, on cursory examination, proved to be made of plastic. She was of course horrified, but the shop persisted in its claim of leather. Another friend purchased an expensive Cartier watch, only to be later charged 600 yuan ($120) for a replacement battery on the grounds that a non-Cartier battery would destroy her new watch. Having no recourse, she paid, but both ladies, and many of their friends, are done with Coach and Cartier forever.



On the subject of fake goods, Jack Ma of Alibaba made an exceedingly important point in an interview in June of 2016 when he stated that often the so-called ‘fake goods’ are of equal or higher quality than the originals. He was telling the truth, but the Western media did their best to trash him and discredit his comments to protect their own high-priced channels. It often occurs that a factory in China will fill an order for 100,000 pairs of high-brand blue jeans or some such, but will necessarily over-produce to provide for the flaws. But sometimes there are no flaws and the brand will not pay for the excess production, so the factory will resell these goods through their own channels rather than absorb the loss. I’m not sure I can fault them. The factory often has no choice but to over-produce since shortages can incur a penalty, but has no recourse on the other side. Further, many of these factories are able to produce the highest level of goods to satisfy even the most critical purchaser, and take advantage of those skills to manufacture their own products, some of which will be very similar to the OEM goods they make on contract. Typically, the quality of these items is equal to, and sometimes even superior to, that of any luxury brand, a situation the foreign brands find distressing and try to kill. This is the source of most of the attacks on Alibaba by foreign brands, not that they are ‘fakes’ in any sense of the meaning of that word, but are in fact genuine and often of higher quality. The real issue is an intent to intimidate, if not terrify, all and sundry to stay far away from the international brands so as to limit any competition. It is true there are some firms who make copies of branded products to sell as genuine, but this is a rapidly-disappearing trade and should of course be stamped out.



Another consistent fault uncovered by local authorities is deceptive labeling by most foreign brands, with innumerable cases of false or misleading fiber content. Almost all of the well-known international brands are regularly discovered to contain less fiber content than claimed on their product labels in China, often claiming an 80% content of cotton or wool when testing reveals the actual content to be perhaps half that. There is no possibility these are errors; every company knows precisely the fiber content of its fabrics.



In one case, Hermes executives stated, “It is undeniable that we have made some mistakes in labeling …” No. There are no labeling mistakes here. Every company knows precisely what it produces and no famous brand has quality-control managers who mistakenly affix a label stating ‘100% silk’ on a product that is 50% acetate. All such events are deliberate frauds.



This problem had become so widespread and serious, the Chinese government passed a new series of laws stipulating substantial fines, and providing for compensation to consumers, for any retailers knowingly (and it’s almost all knowingly) selling defective products. These penalties are severe if the products cause health problems. The Chairman of a commercial association in Wenzhou, a major manufacturing area, supported the stiffer punishments, stating that, “Despite repeated bans [black lists], safety incidents caused by intentional contamination … did not stop. An increased penalty will work as a warning sign and is essential.” The regulations will also place an onus on distributors to accept responsibility for their products, forcing them to return substandard items to their suppliers, and celebrities will also be held liable for endorsing substandard products or participating in false advertising. This will also apply to firms like advertising agencies who craft the many misleading promotions, since the law stipulates that any “social group, organisation or individual” who endorses substandard products will share the responsibility. Celebrity endorsements are peculiarly American pathology that has been unfortunately transferred to China, a powerful one, since many consumers will purchase a product solely on the apparent testimony of a celebrity, creating a clear causal relationship. 这个问题已经变得如此普遍和严重,中国政府通过了一系列新的法律,规定对任何故意(几乎都是故意)销售缺陷产品的零售商处以巨额罚款,并向消费者提供赔偿。如果产品造成健康问题,这些处罚是严厉的。主要制造业地区温州的一家商业协会主席支持更严厉的处罚,他表示,“尽管一再禁止[黑名单],但故意污染造成的安全事件……并没有停止。增加处罚将起到警示作用,这一点至关重要。”。“这些规定还将规定经销商有责任为其产品承担责任,迫使他们将不合格的产品退还给供应商,名人也将因代言不合格产品或参与虚假广告而承担责任。这也将适用于广告公司等策划许多误导性促销的公司,因为法律规定承认任何认可不合格产品的“社会团体、组织或个人”都将承担责任。名人代言是美国特有的病态,不幸的是,这种病态已经转移到了中国,这是一种强大的病态,因为许多消费者只会根据名人的明显证词购买产品,从而产生了明显的因果关系。


Japanese Electronics



For many years, Toshiba had held a prized first place in China’s laptop computer market, an enviable position the company managed to destroy in less than a year. Toshiba had produced a laptop, primarily for the US market, one with serious design flaws which the company persisted in denying, leading to massive lawsuits and a settlement that totaled well over US$ 1 billion. Media reports were that Toshiba apparently sent these recalled defects for sale in China where the company refused any compensation beyond software patches. Countless thousands of incensed Chinese customers returned their defective computers, demanding full refunds, and the company’s sales collapsed nationwide, never to recover. Toshiba has virtually disappeared from the Chinese market. Incredibly, the company then issued a statement claiming it considered China “a crucial market” and remained committed to expanding in China.



In 2014, Nikon issued a new camera model, the D600, which was defective in its fundamental design and which the company was forced to scrap and replace with a new D610. In the US and Japan, Nikon immediately offered all customers a refund or free upgrade to the new model, but in China Nikon denied its product had a problem, with one factory shop blaming customers for carelessness in changing lenses. Chinese law stipulates a refund or replacement after two unsuccessful repair attempts, but Nikon refused even after five attempts, claiming its repairs did not really constitute ‘repairs’. In China, Nikon refused both refunds and upgrades, until CCTV got wind of the issue and featured Nikon in their annual Consumer Rights program. It was then the quality authorities took note of the matter, soon revealing that tens of thousands of customers shared the same problem. After ‘a few rounds of talks’ with officials, Nikon was ordered to remove the defective model from sale in China and to provide a free replacement. Online users expressed gratitude for CCTV’s intervention, stating “If Nikon insists on double standards for China and the US, it will be abandoned by Chinese users.” My information indicates Nikon, like Toshiba, has indeed been virtually abandoned by Chinese users. Nikon’s public response: “The company provides Chinese customers with high quality, standardized global service”.



A few years back, many digital camera and camcorder manufacturers experienced a crisis involving most digital camera models, camcorders and PDAs that suffered CCD (image sensor) failures, with cameras capturing either badly distorted images or no image at all. Since Sony was the CCD manufacturer for all other firms, it wasn’t a surprise that Sony had by far the greatest number of affected products. Commercial authorities in China discovered that 13 models of Sony cameras were more or less massively defective in terms of imaging quality and balance, white balance, automatic exposure and LCD screen brightness. In Western countries, Sony published advisory information on the defective models, with advice on how to obtain repairs or refunds, but media reports claimed that after the problems had been identified in the US and Europe, Sony quietly recalled those defective products and shipped them to China where they were on sale everywhere.



Many public complaints arose with Sony’s defective products in China, even more with the company’s refusal to deal properly with repair or replacement. For almost one year, Sony simply ignored the increasing complaints, the problem only reaching the public media when a Chinese news reporter finally put the pieces together in a story. At first Sony simply denied the existence of product flaws, then claimed the flaws related to only a few thousand out of millions sold in China, a claim quickly proved to be a lie. After a full year, Sony finally agreed to repair or replace the cameras, but they didn’t. Back into the media for another blast, after which Sony still defiantly refused to issue refunds but agreed to replace the defective cameras with new ones. But they didn’t. Customers discovered Sony were replacing defective products with reconditioned units from other countries. The Western media totally censored the matter, so no one outside China was aware of it. Incredibly, when news of the vast range of defects became public, and Chinese authorities attempted to contact the company to discuss the problems, they were refused admittance! A staff member said, “Before the announcement, we tried to contact the Sony branch, but were refused”. The government immediately made a public announcement, requesting all these models be removed from public sale.



Xinhua reported that following the announcement, Sony conducted a widespread campaign to squelch public awareness of its defective products, with many media and reporters receiving anonymous calls asking them not to make public the information. One editor reported, “We were asked not to report and promised a huge subscription to our newspaper. He (the anonymous caller) also said that all other newspapers had decided not to report it.” The callers also claimed the government’s commerce department had “adopted biased measures” in their investigation. After all this hit the media, reports were that Sony agreed to repair only two of the defective models, and at a substantial fee even though all products were covered by a full warranty. In other cases, where Sony was unable to repair a product in the first attempt, the company charged a substantial fee for a second attempt. Sony did pull its defective cameras from the market but at first defiantly refused to issue a recall. Chinese Customers also experienced problems with one of Sony’s laptops, with essentially the same service results.



Chinese consumers were naturally angry, claiming they purchased Sony products because they trusted big brands, but received only poor service and denials of problems. The immediate result was a 20% plunge in Sony’s total revenue, a loss of 100 billion Yen that year and more than 220 billion the following year, and a severe drop in its China sales. Sony blamed its troubles on a worldwide economic downturn, apparently unable to contemplate its own suicidal destruction of its brand and reputation partly by incompetent manufacturing but primarily from the company’s defiant contempt of its customers. As I discuss below, Japanese auto firms are sharing precisely these same experiences, including enormous loss of market share, all of Japanese manufacturing apparently determined to simultaneously commit hara-kiri.



Samsung, a Korean company, did something similar with its exploding Series 7 mobile phones, quickly recalling millions of them in the US, Canada and Europe, but ignoring its products in China. At first, the company claimed the batteries for the Chinese market were sourced from a different manufacturer but, when phones began exploding in China as well, Samsung made the bizarre claim that the Chinese phones had been incinerated ‘externally’, suggesting the owners torched their own phones. It was due only to increasing problems and pressure from regulatory authorities that Samsung finally made a recall in China. The double standard is absolutely alive and well in China and, as you will read below, applies to most foreign consumer products, including clothing, electronics, make-up, and even automobiles, which are consistently recalled in Western countries for safety hazards, but seldom in China without media exposure or government pressure.



And Worse



Many of the items listed above such as substandard clothing, dated fashions, defective consumer goods, are of course a nuisance and do constitute fraud. As well, many of these goods, including the medical waste discussed above, present varying degrees of danger to human health. Treating China as the world’s garbage bin has become almost an art form, but in some cases these product shipments cross the line to the point where they seriously endanger human life, are criminally reckless at best, and murderous at worst.



For background, the industrial facilities of many countries, including most Western nations, purchase shipments of various categories of waste materials for recycling, normally limited to items like scrap iron and other metals, pop cans, PET bottles and other plastics, glass and waste paper. This is a legitimate commercial business of considerable scale, but some countries, notably the US, engage in what Chinese authorities call the “widescale smuggling of foreign garbage”, concealing in their shipments of legitimate recyclable materials large percentages of unusable and hazardous waste such as slag, used tires, scrap batteries and electronic waste, and a wide range of hazardous medical waste. In the first six months of one recent year, China discovered almost 200 cases involving immense tonnage of such smuggled toxic garbage. My information was that almost all of this originated in the US.



The Japanese attempt such practices as well, though with more lethal materials. Soon after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdown, Chinese customs officials were repeatedly intercepting “scrap metal” shipments from Japan, each of which contained 10,000 tonnes or more of highly radioactive refuse from Fukushima. The reactor meltdown contaminated large numbers of automobiles and various categories of steel products totaling more than 4 million tons and, rather than deal with this problem domestically, Japan slips portions of this lethal material into waste shipments to other countries, especially to China, though Italy has also intercepted containers of scrap from Japan that were highly radioactive. It is not possible to claim these firms were unaware of what they were shipping to China, and of course metal recycling and re-melting plants are not equipped to test scrap metal for radioactivity. Direct exposure to such highly radioactive material, even if brief, can be almost immediately fatal or lead to life-threatening illness later. There is no way to know whether, or how much, radioactive waste slipped through customs channels undetected, but the mere fact of shipping them is indicative of an inhuman callousness, to say nothing of abject racism.



Most readers will recall the flood of media stories a few years ago of ocean pirates in small boats venturing into the seas near Somalia to hijack commercial ships for ransom. One part of that story that somehow escaped the Western media is that those pirates were converted fishermen, and that the main reason they were no longer fishermen was that the seas bordering Somalia were heavily contaminated with nuclear radiation and that fish were either non-existent or dangerously inedible. The reason, and the reason for the vengeful piracy, was that the US government, looking for a safe place to store tens of thousands of barrels of highly toxic nuclear waste, discovered a convenient depository in the ocean bordering Somalia where the Americans dumped all those barrels, many of which were old and leaking and many of which broke open on reaching the ocean floor, thereby contaminating everything including the fish. The piracy was largely payback, and Somalia isn’t the only place in the world’s oceans where the Americans have dumped toxic and lethal nuclear and chemical waste. One more reason countries like China, Russia, Korea, don’t want American ships anywhere near their ocean borders. It doesn’t help to know that the waste is dumped in “international waters” when those waters are only 12 miles from your shore.



The Americans’ usual method is to load an old and useless ship right to the gunwales with nuclear (or chemical) waste, sail the ship to a predetermined location, and scuttle it. Though this kind of information never passes the media censors in the US, the American military have done this so often they even have a name for it – Operation CHASE [1] – the name being Pentagon shorthand for “Cut Holes and Sink ‘Em.” In many locations around the world, the US has sunk ships, either by opening shuttlecocks to permit seawater to enter, or by detonating explosives, these vessels containing everything from thousands of tons of nerve gas or mustard gas, surplus or defective mines and bombs, radioactive waste and, on occasion, biological pathogens. In most every case, nobody knows, and those who do know would lose their lives if they spoke of it. If America ever needed another public Congressional hearing, it would be to reveal all the locations of these disposals and, in many cases, the payment of immense compensation to other nations. Public records alone reveal the US military sank at least 100,000 tons of munitions and chemical warfare weapons in various sections of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; almost certainly there were more that did not make the public record. As well, this program may have been a cover for illegal underwater nuclear detonations that were banned by treaty at the time. In one case, the USS Village [2], supposedly containing a typical load of about 8,000 tons of munitions, was towed out into the Atlantic and sunk. However, shortly after sinking, three massive detonations occurred that registered on seismic equipment all over the world, explosions far too large to have resulted from the stated content of conventional explosives.

美国人通常的方法是将一艘老旧无用的船只装载核废料(或化学废料),将其运到预定的地点,然后凿沉。尽管这种信息从未通过美国媒体的审查,美国军方经常这样做,他们甚至有一个名字——“CHASE[1],这个名字是五角大楼对“凿洞并击沉Em的缩写。在世界各地的许多地方美国击沉了船只要么打开羽毛球让海水进入要么引爆炸药这些船只含有数千吨神经毒气或芥子气过剩或有缺陷的地雷和炸弹、放射性废物有时还有生物病原体。在大多数情况下,没有人知道,那些知道的人如果说出这件事,就会失去生命。如果美国需要另一次国会公开听证会,那就是披露这些处置的所有地点,在许多情况下,还需要向其他国家支付巨额赔偿。仅公开记录就显示,美国军方在大西洋和太平洋的各个海域沉没了至少10万吨弹药和化学战武器;几乎可以肯定的是,还有更多的事情没有公开记录。同样,这个项目可能是当时条约禁止的非法水下核爆炸的掩护。在一个案例中,USS Village[2]被拖到大西洋并沉没,据称该船通常装载约8000吨弹药。然而,在沉没后不久,发生了三次大规模爆炸,世界各地的地震设备都记录了这三次爆炸,爆炸规模太大,不可能是由所述的常规炸药含量引起的。


Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).



His full archive can be seen at

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[1] OPERATION CHASE- [1] 操作追逐-

[2] CHASE 2– [2] 追逐2


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