CNN restores my faith in journalism with this article

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The way I see it, this to me is what journalism is all about; bringing truly remarkable stories to the public’s attention. Everything about this piece, from the way the story is told to the investigative work done by the authors, warrants accolades.

While normal working conditions in China can be brutal, forced labor at their prisons is on a whole different level. I recall when the story broke about a woman in Damascus, Oregon who found a note from a Chinese prisoner in her Halloween decorations purchased from K-Mart. Like many items in our news cycle it went viral then was forgotten about.

It turns out that the story still had some life to it and CNN kept it alive. Of course this was helped by the prisoner who wrote the letter reaching out to the network’s bureau in Beijing. He told his entire story to CNN providing that they protect his identity.

The gentleman was a practitioner of the Falun Gong a group that is brutally repressed by the People’s Republic of China. He was sent to a labor camp where he painstakingly crafted a letter to the outside world about the conditions at the camp.

Demonstrating his awkward position in bed, he continued: “I lay on my side with my face toward the wall so he could only see my back. I placed the paper on my pillow and wrote on it slowly.”

A college graduate, he said it took him two or three days to finish a single letter through this risky and painstaking process. “I tried to fill as much space as possible on each sheet,” he said. “Every letter was slightly different because I had to improvise — I remember writing SOS in some but not in others.

People don’t think about where their goods come from. This is why we need more stories such as these being told in the press.

photo by: dyobmit

The Internship: The Google Movie vs. Reality

English: Google Logo officially released on Ma...

Google Logo officially released on May 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night I saw The Internship at the Arlington Cinema “N” Drafthouse and had some thoughts about it. Obviously Google Inc. contributed heavily to this film. The PR boost from it had to be good for them, especially since the NSA spying scandals have broken. They come off as a people-centric company which creates products to change the world and make people’s lives better. Their tagline “do no evil” is clearly on display throughout the movie.

Some of their do-gooder behavior is welcome and should be applauded. But as their complicity in giving up information to the NSA or censoring themselves for China shows there are limits to their “googliness.”

On another note I found it interesting that the interns had to man a call center operation and learn how to do technical support. Since I’ve been using Google’s products I never knew you could call someone for tech support! It’s as if they present their products and sites as-is and then show the end users to a Google Group to seek help from others. No one I knew has ever told me that they’ve picked up a phone to call Google as opposed to Microsoft.

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World’s largest dairy exporter admits to contamination

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It’s pretty shocking to know that there are thousands who will be affected by the action of one multinational corporation’s malfeasance.

The company’s name is Fonterra and this is what they’ve done:

In late July the company disclosed that clostridium – a toxin associated with botulism – had been detected in tests on 38 tons of whey protein concentrates that had been exported to Australia, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam.

China, Russia and Vietnam reacted by imposing bans on several company products.

The sad thing is this isn’t the first time this company has brought deadly sickness to China. They had a subsidiary operating in the country where melamine was found in infant formula. If anyone gets sick due to this latest episode Fonterra’s CEO Theo Spierings should be held personally responsible. How can you run a company this way? China is your largest market and you mean to tell me that you are unable to provide a safe product to them?

Is it that Fonterra only cares about the revenue but not necessarily the safety of the consumer? There are a lot of companies that do function this way. For example, large pharmaceutical corporations will knowingly sell dangerous drugs to an unsuspecting marketplace without disclosing anything. To me this practice is self-destructive because you’re only thinking about profit in the short term.

GlaxoSmithKline in hot water with China

I wouldn’t be surprised if what China is accusing GSK of turned out to be true.

On Monday, Chinese police accused GSK of bribing officials and doctors to boost sales and raise the price of its medicines in China. They said GSK transferred up to 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to 700 travel agencies and consultancies over six years to facilitate the bribes.

China has gone ahead and actually prevented GSK’s head of finance from leaving the country. In America, Big Pharma is notorious for their legal bribery in the form of lobbying, campaign contributions and quid pro quos with doctors.

via China blocks GSK finance head from leaving country – Yahoo! News.

Dear China, stop hacking us and maybe the US would lift import restrictions

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China is being so disingenuous when it comes to denying allegations of the hacking of U.S. computer systems.  Google has publicly commented on its problems with China in the past. The Pentagon has also commented on this matter too.

It is because of these actions by the People’s Republic of China that the United States has implemented the following restrictions on the import of information technology.

The new provision, tucked into a funding bill signed into law on Thursday, requires NASA, as well as the Justice and Commerce Departments, to seek approval from federal law enforcement officials before buying information technology systems from China.

It’s easy enough for any software or hardware imported from China to have been built with a backdoor allowing access to all sorts of classified information.

WTO rules against China

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I read about this WTO ruling against China earlier this week and was meaning to blog about it.

The decision announced today by the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a huge victory for American workers.  In clear and unequivocal language, the WTO stated that China’s decision to limit the export of key raw materials violated the commitments China made when it joined the WTO.

People don’t realize how protective an economy China really is. They manipulate their currency and restrict imports. In this case China restricted exports of raw materials because it went against their national economic interests.

Another China food safety scandal: Deadly peanuts and cooking oil

From drywall to milk we now arrive at peanuts and cooking oil.

This is why corporations like to go to countries with lax regulations—so they can produce products that are harmful to the human race and make a profit at the same time. The only problem with this is that pesky thing called public opinion and it does matter even in China and their domestic market.

Chinese authorities in a southern boomtown have detected a cancer-causing toxin in peanuts and cooking oil that was only recently discovered in milk, in the nation’s latest food safety scandal.

The food safety regulator in Shenzhen said it had found excessive levels of aflatoxin in peanuts sold in three stores, and in cooking oil in four restaurants, the official Xinhua news agency said late Friday.

So the careless regulation around the milk issue has now resulted in Chinese authorities playing a game of catch-up. Where else will aflatoxin turn up?