China

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Corruption; A Fact of Life

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Hong KongTags: , ,

From an article in The New York Times comes these two paragraphs:

For decades, corruption was accepted in Southern Europe as a fact of life, a way to distribute the spoils, and few people — including, in many cases, prosecutors — gave it a second thought. But the grinding economic crisis, which stalled projects and ended the flow of cash, has helped lift the veil on corrupt officials, exposing graft, bribery, payoffs, secret favors and other misdeeds on a scale that few imagined.

At a time when Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal are imposing deficit-cutting austerity plans on their hard-pressed citizens, these revelations of widespread political corruption are stoking bitter resentment, destabilizing governments and undermining the credibility of the political class as a whole.

The first paragraph is interesting in that it reaffirms that corruption is commonplace in many countries throughout the world. I would go as far as to suggest that wherever there is a government, there is corruption, although we should remember that corruption doesn't necessarily involve the government.

"a fact of life" is pretty much the way corruption is considered in China as well; which is why Hollywood film companies buying their way into China are concerned about the Anti-Trust investigations currently underway in the U.S.A., but if Walmart can 'resolve' its anti-trust problems (related to transactions in Mexico and China), then the Hollywood companies can probably too.

The second paragraph highlights something else I've been considering lately. Corruption has allowed the gap between the rich and the poor to expand at an ever increasing speed. Corruption has allowed greedy selfish corporations (including many here in Hong Kong) to oppress their work force in return for higher profits that usually only benefit the rich. The strike currently being undertaken by the freight pier workers here in Hong Kong is extremely important in that their situation of working long hard hours without work considerations that shouldn't need to be fought for, and without any pay raises in the last 15 years, reflects the situations of many many working people here in Hong Kong.

When SARS hit Hong Kong, the government asked the people to be patient and work hard together to resuscitate the economy. What the government didn't tell the people was that even when the economy had recovered, pay raises and better working considerations would not recommence. Greedy corporations took advantage of the fear of not getting work, and the low levels of pay, to enslave the workers of Hong Kong.

The result is that there are now huge gaps in the standards of living between the average Hong Kong citizen and the rich. If the average citizen was living a comfortable and happy life, this wouldn't matter, but the average citizen is now working much harder for much less than is fair or healthy.

With so much pressure and unhappiness, and no apparent hope for a better future, any exposure of corruption and the riches obtained as a result will cause ripples through society. If the government and their greedy cohorts are not careful, civil uprisings will come.

Even China's government with its micro-management of its people, the media and social networks is getting nervous, and rightfully so. It will be interesting to see if a handful of public exposures and indictments against corrupt officials will be enough to calm the general population which is becoming more and more aware of the greedy selfish acts of their leaders.

But again, as the article points out, this type of corruption is not limited to China. It exists in possibly every country of the world (and absolutely in every country where its sovereign right to print and issue money has been ceded to a private entity, including the U.S.A., and every member of the European Union).

Too much to say on this topic. I'll leave the rest till a later time.

Royal Canin to produce pet food in Shanghai

Filed in Dogs of our Lives, GeneralTags: , , ,

I was at the vet today. One of our kids (i.e., our dogs) needed to have his bad teeth cleaned/removed. He now has considerably fewer teeth than he had this morning :(

While at the vet, I was informed that Royal Canin is moving its pet food production to Shanghai for local supply.

Most pet foods require meat as a vital ingredient.

In populous China where human life is not valued (eg, injured children are murdered by the culprit because compensation for a young life taken is cheaper than medical costs) and the concept of humanitarian treatment of animals is almost non-existent (eg, ripping fur off foxes while they are still alive and then dumping their bodies to one side to die of shock in the Winter cold; the online videos are too horrific to link to), the cost of feeding your pets with pet food produced in China would almost certainly be the inhumane, cruel and painful factory-style rearing and execution of other animals.

I won't be feeding pet food manufactured in China to our kids.

Notes:

  • Inhumane animal rearing and slaughtering absolutely occurs in most countries around the world. It could only be worse in China where financial wealth is important above all else.
  • Big pet food manufacturers around the world source a lot of the necessary protein from animals including road-kill, slaughter-house left-overs and dead/euthanised pets. The combination of these 'meat' sources in pet food is usually listed under the general term "meal"; eg "meat-and-bone-meal". Pets eating the pet food therefore unknowingly become cannibals. Here at home, we feed our kids Three Dog Bakery pet food because it's wholesome, natural and doesn't use any "meal" protein. The source of the protein is very specific for each kind of pet food; eg, chicken, fish, lamb or even sweet potato.
  • While most of our kids eat Three Dog Bakery food, some of them are now on prescription diets; renal protection, moderated blood sugar, etc. These are only available from the big companies such as Science Diet and Royal Canin although we'd like to investigate preparing our own food for them.
  • Royal Canin might claim that the quality of the pet food produced in China will not differ to the food produced in France. They might claim that production has moved to China to provide 'fresher' pet food for their customers. Will they report that moving production to Shanghai will reduce their costs (which unfortunately is necessary if you want to sell to the domestic China market)? I wonder. Can they guarantee that the animals slaughtered to provide the meat for their products are reared and slaughtered humanely? Can they guarantee that euthanised pets (or pets battered to a bloody death by the police) will not become an ingredient of their pet food?
  • In China, corruption allowed milk farmers and milk powder manufacturers to produce milk powder that poisoned and killed many human babies; without remorse. How much consideration would these same people give to animals that they rear and slaughter for profit?

Manufacturing leaving China?

Filed in GeneralTags: , , ,

Didn't see that coming, but should have! Foxconn is apparently planning to build a new factory in Brazil to build Apple products. The Chinese source article sites transportation costs as the reason for the move, but one can not discount the possibility that labour costs in China have now escalated too much to be competitive with other developing nations.

In Hong Kong, we've been hearing about the increasing costs of labour and the associated labour-protective contracts that must be signed. Now, we're beginning to see real effects of this.

Improved antenna, 4-inch screen, NFC e-wallet rumored for Apple's iPhone 5

China Times also noted that strong demand for Apple products, particularly the iPhone and iPad, has prompted Apple's manufacturing partner, Foxconn, to plan a new facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was said that the new plant will be specifically to build Apple products, and production will start in 2013.

iPhone 5 第3季現身

此外,為了解決美洲市場運輸考量並分散生產據點,外電指出,鴻海計劃在巴西聖保羅(Sao Paulo)市北方約60公里處的 Jundiai 市再度興建廠房,專門為蘋果代工產品,並計劃於2013年開始投產。 目前富士康在 Jundiai 市擁有兩座廠房,分別為Sony、惠普(HP)組裝產品。