Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chinese readers react to NYT Foxconn story

Via Forbes

Americans really don't understand China. That's my takeaway message. ["People Are Spouting Nonsense about Chinese Manufacturing," Forbes]

Corollary: Remember the New York Times's big piece to kick off its iEconomy series? Of course you do. Well, they've collaborated with Caixin to translate the article into Chinese, and here were some of the hundreds of comments from Chinese readers (translated, of course):

Without Apple, Chinese workers will be worse off. I hope China can some day soon have dozens of its own companies like Apple, who (only) work on high-end research and development and send manufacturing lines to Africa. — Anonymous

Even though Apple should be ethically condemned, the key point is: whether the working conditions inside the factories are supervised by law. This (supervision) is the duty of judicial officers and labor unions. Now everything is driven only by G.D.P., so which government official would dare supervise those companies? They (the governments) have long reduced themselves to the servant of the giant enterprises. — Occasional Think

If people saw what kind of life workers lived before they found a job at Foxconn, they would come to an opposite conclusion of this story: that Apple is such a philanthropist. — Zhengchu1982

When the explosion happened, I was working for media in Chengdu. Domestic media were all silenced and only allowed to use the (Xinhua) official report, because that (Foxconn factory) was a key project. Compare to what The New York Times wrote, the gap really saddened my heart. — Chen Qiye

Well worth a look. [The Lede, NY Times]

Also see: Stan Abrams, China Hearsay.

Firecracker kills 1 in Beijing. In classic Xinhua-speak: "The holiday firecracker casualties this year, however, were down nearly 50 percent from a year earlier, according to the municipal health bureau." [Xinhua]

Corollary: From China Daily: "On average, a family may spend hundreds of yuan on firecrackers during the Spring Festival, with some paying more than 10,000 yuan (about $1,500) for the seasonal spree." From China Daily Show: "Man blows family’s entire food budget on fireworks."

Wukan update. "It is too easy to assume that the initial resolution of a problem in China represents the last word. That’s almost never the case. Now we know that we should continue to pay attention to what happens in Wukan. It matters a lot -- not only for the people of Wukan but also for our understanding of the evolving debate and real potential for wide scale political change in China." [Elizabeth C. Economy, Council on Foreign Relations]

Flowers of War flops in U.S. "'The Flowers of War,' a dark and violent Chinese-language movie about the Rape of Nanking that cost more than $90 million to produce, grossed an anemic $48,558 in 30 U.S. locations last weekend. Its per-location average: A mere $1,619." [Reuters]

Twitter: China thinks you're doing something right. (Pssst... that means you're not.) "It is important for it to respect the cultures and ideas of different countries so as to blend into local environments harmoniously. This is normal practice. To some extent, it is a necessary step in the evolution of Twitter. But many of its users, particularly some political activists and dissidents, have found it unacceptable." [Global Times, via Sinocism]

If your sort of thing is an image of a doctor ("doctor"?) removing an organ from a boy's chest... Have at it [warning: GRAPHIC]. Via Seagull Reference.

NON-CHINA READ: "[Salman] Rushdie has had a flat in London for decades, but tells me he spends more and more time in New York. Like Martin Amis, he finds the viciousness of the British media towards writers mystifying. Journalists who rely on their exercise of freedom of speech to put food on their tables and clothes on their children's backs hate a man who had to risk his life to defend the liberties they so thoughtlessly take for granted. I am not going to go into why English literature's first great Asian novelist is the object of such venom, and was cheered to find that Rushdie did not want to speculate either. Aware of the danger of sounding like a moaner, he adds that Americans may not turn on their writers with the passion of the British because they care so little about what novelists have to say that they lack the energy even to loathe them." [The Guardian]

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