Lessons learned from China's chokehold on America
Indulge me a quick personal story. Twice now, I've been duped by Facebook ads into ordering American-looking products (furniture polish and a blouse) that I later discovered came from China.
The packages arrived months late with return addresses written in Chinese that were indecipherable and unreturnable. The blouse was doll-sized with two different sleeve lengths. Instead of furniture polish, the crushed, toothpaste-sized box I received contained spackling compound with a pointed applicator.
I'm annoyed with Facebook for failing to disclose where their advertised products come from. I am angrier with the Chinese manufacturers who tricked me -- twice. Shame on me if I fall for that again.
This lesson strikes me as a metaphor for the long-standing relationship between the United States and China. Time after time, the Chinese have taken advantage, deceived and outright stolen from us. Our government response has been wishy-washy.
Chinese duplicity goes way back. Foreign policy experts figure that the Chinese theft of intellectual property from Americans costs the U.S. between $225 billion to $600 billion a year. The Chinese have long hacked into American computers, stolen software and trade secrets, and illegally infringed on patents. For years, they have counterfeited American goods and sold them around the world -- including right back here in the United States. If an American citizen had employed similar tactics, he or she would have risked a long prison term.
The Chinese have also long practiced unfair trade tactics by forcing their grossly underpaid citizens to produce products that other countries could never duplicate without resorting to slave labor. They have slapped exorbitant tariffs on U.S. goods headed into China, thus putting a chokehold on American companies hoping to tap into the massive Chinese market.
Now the United States is forced to kowtow to this predatory empire for sorely needed medical assistance as we struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic -- which came from their country. This is now the third pandemic/epidemic to have originated in China. Both the 1957 Asian flu and the 1968 Hong Kong flu started in China and together claimed about 3 million deaths worldwide. The milder 2003 epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, was also traced to China.
Now there's COVID-19.
It is clear we have allowed our country to become overly reliant on Chinese goods and services, and now the very health of America is at stake.
Realize that China controls production of a massive amount of the world's medicines, medicinal compounds and medical supplies and equipment. For example, 90% of our antibiotics, vitamin C, ibuprofen and hydrocortisone is manufactured in China. About 70% of acetaminophen and about 45% of the blood thinner heparin come from China. About half of the safety masks made in the world come from China.