As I See It

China’s Caught With It’s Pants Down Again

China’s caught with it’s pants down again. Just let the foreign media into that country for a few months… and all kinds of things get exposed which China would rather not have the world know. China invited the world to take a look at the glitz and glamour of the country by way of the Olympics… but really doesn’t want the world to see behind the scenes into the lives of the people. Can’t have it both ways “Big Red.” Now that you’ve opened yourself up to the world… look out… all eyes are upon you and your human rights infractions.

Take a look at these two gals. Do they look like they’re a threat to the national security of the country? Not! Wu, age 79 and Wang, age 77, had the audacity to repeatedly apply for permits between August 5 and August 17, to hold a protest against being force out of their homes during the China Olympics. Oh my! Apparently they were “disturbing the public order.” Sentence? One year of “re-education” in a China prison.

Well gals, you’re not alone in being sent to be re-educated. Deng, who was the Chairman of the communist party between 1978 to the early 90’s was packed off in 1969 with his wife. As a important member of Mao’s cabinet, he was evacuated to the boonies as an important political prisoner. Apparently, Mao and other members of the Party didn’t approve of his point of view. Needed to get this man’s head on straight ya know.

For three years, his and his wife suffered great hardships. His son, Pufang, 25, was a brilliant physics student at Beijing University. He was taken prisoner by the savage Red Guard and beaten into insensibility in an effort to make him “confess” to the “treason” of his father. When that didn’t work, his torturers took him to the fourth floor of a dormitory and some how he just landed on the ground below ….leaving his legs paralyzed.

After three years, everything changed. Guards appeared in the early morning of Nov. 8 and escorted Deng and his wife to a Party meeting and then took them to their home. Immediately Deng went to his study and wrote a letter to the Central Committee declaring his full support. He presented himself to Mao as being ready in spirit and strength to undertake any task Mao had for him.

So you see gals, no one is exempt from being re-educated… unless the world gets a peak at the injustice of such actions by the police. Re-education allows the police to side step any formal charge or criminal trial to send the offender to prison up to four years.

In the glare of international attention… it seems that the government has acknowledge that the punishment might be a little too harsh and inappropriate. So for the time being, Wu and Wang have been saved from hard labor in a far off prison.

I go nuts when I hear of such injustice. And we supported the Olympics in China? I’m grateful to be an American… even as unsettled as things are right now.

Till later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana.

P.S. I still fear for these ladies. One day they will just quietly vanish because they’ve brought negative attention to the government of China. Pray for them.

As I See It

Behind the China Olympics – China Factories

Behind the China Olympics, life goes on as usual for millions of people who work in the factories… producing goods for the world to buy. Most of China will not see the Olympic games because their villages don’t have television access. Besides… work does not slow down in the factories… except at Chinese New Year… when workers go home for a month.

Most company buyers of China’s goods don’t go into the interior of the country, where small rural factories produce much of the markets goods. Well lighted and clean shows rooms in cities such as Hong Kong and Shenzhen, represent most of the China factories. In other words… the buyers for Wal-Mart aren’t going to be bouncing around in an old van…hitting pot holes and… dodging folks who are on foot or riding bikes, in order to get out to where the goods are actually made.

My boss had been doing business in China for many years before the big market rush. He had developed relationships with many factory owners who invited him to come to their factories. For me to see the actual everyday workings of a factory was not only exciting but also quite disturbing. I mistakenly assumed the factories would be updated and automated. After all this country produces vasts amount of product for the world.

Boy was I wrong. Automation is the work of many human hands…. not machines. And, while some of the factories we visited were clean and organized… most were not.

The basket factory we went to was one of the most depressing sites I saw. Men and women were working in poorly lighted, dirty and cramped conditions. Each nail was hammered into the rim of the basket by hand…one nail at a time. No nail guns here!

Kiln dried basket slats? No way… how about sun dried…. thousands of slats drying out in the court yard.

The living conditions were deplorable… dirty open water next to the sleeping areas. No wonder they had mosquito netting around their make shift beds. Oh my gosh… and the flies.

When Chairman Mao, the leader of the Communist Party, initiated the Cultural Revolution… many of the teachers and intellectuals were taken from their classrooms and sent out to the country to be reeducated or in other words… “Agree with us or die.” Professor Tao was a Physics Professor at a university. He was whisk away into the countryside, locked in a closet for many weeks and suffered much persecution. When the Revolution was over… he did not return to the city but stayed in the country and built a factory. His factory produces small wooden trinkets that are exported to the United States.

Many of the factories are not equipped with good lighting. Notice, this woman is using the light to dry the goods rather than use the light to see by.

If the items needs to be painted… the worker methodically paints each individual item. Every detail is hand painted… one detail at a time.

Rusted metal was the rage. We designed small rusted shapes… stars, hearts, apples etc… that crafters could use to decorate with… (Some of the shapes were as small as 3/4 inch.) Problem… the rust would shed a little bit and leave a rust residue in the bottom of the package. Couldn’t have that…now could we?

So the factory was told that a sealer needed to be applied to the items so the rust would not come off in the packages. “O.K… no problem,”… came the reply from the factory.

When we came upon this scene… it broke my heart. These men were sitting in a small, poorly lighted room… applying clear shoe polish to each rusty star… both sides… one at a time. Thousands and thousands of 3/4″ stars were sitting in baskets waiting for the shoe polish to be applied. I couldn’t believe how cheerful and friendly the men were… pricked fingers and all. Go figure.

So… when I watched the Opening Ceremonies of the China Olympics… I thought of the thousands of hands it took to produce the show for our pleasure. Thanks… factory workers of China… You did a beautiful job… one bead… one stitch… one light… one firework at a time.

Till Later,
Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S. I would love to go back to China. A little of my heart is still there.