Home > Analysis, culture, Opinion > 127 Hours – Why the China Bashing?

127 Hours – Why the China Bashing?

Over Thanksgivings weekend, my family and I went to watch “127 Hours.” “127 Hours” is a movie about the inspiring story of Aaron Ralston – who after five days of getting pinned by a falling boulder while hiking in the desert in the Utah Canyons had to self-amputate his arm to save himself.  The movie is made by Danny Boyle – the same director who made Slumdog Millionaire.  While the movie itself is not particularly well-made (in my personal opinion, the music was too loud and the story telling comic-like), I’m writing because the movie apparently reduced Aron’s experience to a single “Lesson: Don’t buy a cheap made-in-China multi-tool!”  If Aaron had just brought along a set of non-Chinese-made swiss army knives – according to the movie – all would have been well…

I had read Aaron’s book and did not recall Aaron ever mentioning his made-in-China tool as a lesson of his experience.  So I went to Amazon and did a sanity check by searching for the term “china” in the book – and nothing turned up.



So it appears that this slight against China is not written by Aaron, but inserted for dramatic effect.

What a disappointment….

Has bashing China become so fashionable that even a director who is out of ideas can resort to ranting against China to attempt to pass a work of art?

Clearly the script writer knows the slight is not fair.  In the movie itself, Aaron (starring James Franco) had acknowledged that short of a miraculous supply of equipments including power equipments, nothing could have saved Aaron’s arm.


Aron speaking to the video. He is beginning to fray at the edges a bit. Thinner, hollow-eyed. Still holding it together, but there are hints of darkness in his occasionally wayward delivery.

It’s Monday. All day. Late for work…So. I spent the morning trying to rig the pulley again. Different anchors, worth a try. But there’s so much friction and it’s climbing rope. Too much bounce. What I need is a twenty metres of static rap rope. Nine point eight mill. Two grigris, a rack of carabiners, slings, a power drill and a bolt kit.

A wry smile.


That would do it.

So why cheapen the story just to make a politically expedient shot at China?

There is a practical side to Aaron’s story: never hike alone – and if you must – let others know where you are going.

But there is a deeper, spiritual story, too.  As Aaron wrote in his book:

For all that has happened and the opportunities still developing in my life, I feel blessed.  I was part of a miracle that has touched a great number of people in the world and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, not even to have my hand back.  My accident in and rescue from Blue John Canyon were the most beautifully spiritual experiences of my life, and knowing that, were I to travel back in time, I would still say “see you later” to Megan and Kristi and take off into that lower slot by myself.  While I’ve learned much, I have no regrets about that choice.  Indeed, it has affirmed my belief that our purpose as spiritual beings is to follow our bliss, seek our passions, and live our lives as inspirations to each other.  Everything else flows from that.  When we find inspirations, we need to take actions for ourselves and of our communities.  Even if it means making a hard choice, or cutting out something and leaving it in your past.

Saying farewell is also a bold and powerful beginning.

That is a powerful message – though unfortunately, it’s a message that never made it to the final cut of the movie.

I am still very touched by Aaron’s story.  But my advice is: skip the movie; read the book. And I hope you too – like Aaron – find bliss, passion and purpose in life…

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  1. November 29th, 2010 at 00:39 | #1

    Too bad. Aaron Ralston’s story is indeed uplifting and grand on its own. Now that they have cheapened it, I’ll abandon my plans to see the movie.

    This reminds me of a documentary film made few years ago: “Slanted Screens.” (Synposis below, and I recommend getting a copy of the DVD.)

    I do think there is a resurgence of everything “China” or “Chinese” being bad in the U.S.. See my earlier post, “Opinion: Citizens of Chinese heritage in the West to also bear the brunt of Western media bias.”

    Especially as Americans perceive America is on a decline where the Democrats and the Republicans are unable to solve America’s problems, blaming outsiders is especially expedient.

    There is a self-reinforcing phenomenon with the “hate” in America for everything “China” or “Chinese.” The media pushes it. The public become more polarized for it. Hollywood banks on it. U.S. politicians jump on the bandwagon as we saw in the 2010 mid-term elections. Rinse and recycle.

    They call Hollywood a “dream factory.” And it’s an appropriate metaphor. Like dreams, the stories we watch in the dark express our fears and desires.But unlike dreams, they have a powerful and lasting effect on social reality. Movies and the mass media help form our worldview, shape our identities, and define our roles – on screen and off.

    Unfortunately, these effects frequently work to the detriment of some groups – including Asian American men. Too often, film and television misrepresent the world they claim to reflect. Their stories revise history, and rationalize inequities. Rather than to portray three-dimension individuals, their characters often manifest prejudice and reinforce bigotry. Moreover, their ubiquitous and persistent messages encourage viewers to internalize confining definitions of identity and self-worth.

    Ironically, film and television images extol our fundamental ideals of democracy and equality, and at the same time, betray them.

    Through interviews, voice-over narration, and a fascinating array of film and television clips, The Slanted Screen chronicles depictions of Asian American men and the culture that shapes them. The one-hour documentary presents film and television images from the turn of the century to the turn of the millennium. The Slanted Screen properly situates these images through historical narration, clips and photos.

    In addition, The Slanted Screen presents candid interviews with actors, filmmakers, and scholars who share their unique insights and illuminating perspectives. Scholars provide their informed analyses of the interplay between images and attitudes. Veteran actors comment on their role in shaping the way Asian Americans are perceived in mainstream media. Newer talents give their account of the current cultural climate, and contrast their situation with that of their predecessors. Producers, directors and writers comment on their contributions and voice their opinions. Emerging independent filmmakers discuss how their work challenges conventional depictions of Asian American men. These participants not only share their anecdotes and “insider” views, but also reveal disarmingly candid sentiments and personal insights.

    The Slanted Screen integrates these diverse voices to offer a rich and thorough exploration that is, by turns, enlightening, amusing, and disturbing. Above all, The Slanted Screen entertains — and ultimately, inspires.

    This synopsis was written by Antony Bolante.

  2. December 1st, 2010 at 10:56 | #2

    Here is Aron discussing his amputation – in his own words … with Tom Brokaw (it’s on youtube).

    We’ll work on uploading and linking to another site that people can access from within China.

  3. Pete jones
    February 12th, 2011 at 18:31 | #3

    Somewhat ironic given the blatant jingoistic (if not racist) rhetoric so prevalent in many recent Chinese mainstream blockbusters. I recently watched a pirate version of 127 Hours. During the segment where he mentions the multitool and flashlight, the Chinese subtitles read (不要买美国的垃圾产品; ‘Don’t buy rubbish American products’) followed by ‘我用的东西都是中国生产的,性能很好’ (I use things made in China, high performance) then follows up with ‘Do not look down on Chinese people.’

    Are you not struck by the irony of the fact that you can’t inform people in China of this outrageous slur on their national character – because they’re not permitted to view Youtube?

  4. r v
    February 13th, 2011 at 10:32 | #4

    I don’t know what Youtube has to do with anything.

    127 is not a “Chinese mainstream blockbuster”.

    If say China did actually allow the accurate translation of 127 in the subtitles, it would be likely characterized as “fanning nationalism”.

  5. Pete Jones
    February 13th, 2011 at 17:58 | #5

    The previous post wanted to link a Youtube video of Ralston discussing his amputation, presumably to refute suggestions he used a ‘cheap Chinese multitool’.

    Correct, 127 is an American mainstream blockbuster – which you’re accusing of China-bashing for one throwaway line, while equivalent Chinese films are (increasingly) guilty of a blatant jingoism, portraying foreigners (both Western and Asian, i.e. Japanese) as buffoons or cruel oppressors. Your apparent determination to ignore this point makes you look foolish and petty.

    I’ve yet to finish the book so can’t say whether Ralston refers to a ‘cheap Chinese multitool’, but he does refer to it at least once as a ‘Leatherman knock-off’ (i.e. a cheap copy) and is on record as saying it’s ‘what you’d get if you bought a $15 flashlight and got a free multi-tool’. Given manufacturing reality, it’s pretty much a given that the tool was, indeed, cheap and made in China. More importantly, Ralston worked closely with Boyle on the screenplay and has stated the film is factually correct except for one incident which was changed for cinematic effect (he took the two girls through canyons but not to the plunge pool).

    The outdoor gear shops in China are full of expensive imported hardware from the likes of Victorinox, Leatherman and Gerber. It seems even Chinese people don’t trust cheap Chinese multitools!

    Your last sentence is not worthy of comment.

  6. February 14th, 2011 at 01:24 | #6

    @ r v,

    It’s weird how some people buy a Honda and throw a tantrum swearing how they are cheated it’s not a Lamborghini. Well, you paid for a Honda.

    If you want to buy a Coach, you get a Coach, not a LV. if you want to buy a knock-off, you get a knock-off, not the name brand.

    Many Chinese buy the the likes of Victorinox, Leatherman and Gerber because they want to buy those and not some cheap multi tools. They know what they want: they want to buy the name brand, the luxury items. If you want the dependable stuff, buy the dependable stuff. Plenty of those are made in China (iPad and iPhones, for example) – unless you think most of international trade involves trading of junks.

    Reminds me of some racist who go to a black owned store and asks for the cheapest thing sold, and upon buying them and finding how cheaply made they are, brag to his friend that black people are just unscrupulous people who sell cheaply made stuff, without mentioning of course that he specifically bought the cheap stuffs…

    Ralston’s has talked of his cheap, knock-off tool – but he has never bad-mouthed China. It the cheapness of the tool he was lamenting about, not the Chineseness of the tools … although to the likes of Pete Jones, he is so biased he reads that in…

  7. r v
    February 14th, 2011 at 07:45 | #7

    I still don’t know what Youtube has anything to do with this discussion (other than another linked video).

  8. Pete Jones
    February 14th, 2011 at 08:30 | #8

    As Ralston states in the movie: he didn’t buy the tool, it was a gift from his parents, grabbed in haste. This was the throwaway line, a joke to lighten the mood in an emotional video message to his parents. And that was the whole thrust of the movie, Ralston’s journey of redemption away from being a selfish egotist who neglected his friends and family. This theme is constantly developed, right through to the end shot.

    ‘The movie apparently reduced Aron’s experience to a single “Lesson: Don’t buy a cheap made-in-China multi-tool!”‘

    To draw this conslusion, you would have to be either delusional – or absolutely desperate to find anti-Chinese bias where there is none. It’d be funny if it wasn’t sad.

    My Chinese friends, living here in China, enjoyed the movie very much.

  9. nod
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:02 | #9

    well..it just goes to say. anything sub-standard now adays comes from china. i mean even 7 years ago. c’mon… its a fact..and if aron would have had brought anythin better? would it have changed the outcome of his life? no..even he himself admits that what happened to him was bound to happen to him … poor choices as he have said. neglecting his mother’s call..not telling his friend where he was goin..and even buying cheap, knock-off & substandard multi-tools. all of which where elements of an unfortunate event that was bound to happen to him. sorry the script writer had to put china into it. but, it does make sense, substandardized tools and what nots flow from there.

  10. r v
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:35 | #10

    I don’t see too many films with dialogs of “Stupid Me and my stupid cheap-ass Walmart-shopping American logic.”

    I mean, to be fair, it’s a fact that he has acknowledge, so why don’t they write the truth into the movies?

    That’s sort of the point isn’t it?

    I wait in vain for a balanced honesty.

  11. SilentChinese
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:52 | #11


    Yeah and IPOD, Iphone and IPADs are crap too aren’t they? they are made in china too.

    Sure there are substandard tools and whatnot flowing from china.

    but you get what you paid for.

  12. SilentChinese
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:58 | #12

    also, nod,
    if you are using a 3G mobile network in Czech to access this website, chances are your access has been carried by Huawei’s network equipment. not crappy I assume.

  13. Pete Jones
    February 22nd, 2011 at 15:52 | #13

    Nothing wrong with being made in China at all (although most of the climbing kit I buy these days seems to be coming out of Vietnam). Things made by foreign owned companies with decent QC (and, incidentally, policies which mean their workers feel safe enough to protest about conditions without having the shit beaten out of them by Party affiliated thugs) – fine. But…would you feed your baby Chinese milk formula? None of the Chinese people I know do, they’re all buying Japanese (oh, the irony). It’s the only the poor, lacking choices, that buy the cheap local stuff. Hmmm, there’s a theme developing here.

    It’s clear from this site that you’re not remotely interested in ‘balance’ or ‘harmony’.

  14. Pete Jones
    February 22nd, 2011 at 16:03 | #14

    Oh, and your comment “If say China did actually allow the accurate translation of 127 in the subtitles, it would be likely characterized as ‘fanning nationalism'” – the only problem with this ludicrous statement is that the official DVD release is months away. Are you suggesting the Chinese authorities might be actively engaged in piracy and theft of intellectual property? Shurely shome mishtake…

  15. February 22nd, 2011 at 16:21 | #15

    @Pete Jones,

    Look, what we are trying to do is to counter the misinformation and bigotry in the Western media to mislead the Western public into thinking everything made in China is “bad” and as if done willfully.

    China Hacking, Poison and Piracy

    Now, please think through this context and why something like below what you wrote is considered by us as of the same narrative:

    But…would you feed your baby Chinese milk formula? None of the Chinese people I know do, they’re all buying Japanese (oh, the irony). It’s the only the poor, lacking choices, that buy the cheap local stuff.

    Are you racist to think the Chinese don’t want something better for themselves? China’s head of FDA was executed for corruption a while ago.

    What is “Chinese” milk formula? You really don’t get it do you? This post was exactly about dissing “Chinese” Swiss Army knife. What is so “Chinese” about the Swiss Army knife?

  16. silentchinese
    February 22nd, 2011 at 16:25 | #16

    Pete Jones :
    Nothing wrong with being made in China at all (although most of the climbing kit I buy these days seems to be coming out of Vietnam). Things made by foreign owned companies with decent QC (and, incidentally, policies which mean their workers feel safe enough to protest about conditions without having the shit beaten out of them by Party affiliated thugs) .
    It’s clear from this site that you’re not remotely interested in ‘balance’ or ‘harmony’.

    actually if you have any clue as to the actual condition on the ground…
    party affilated (union) thugs are working over time to push up wages in china.

  17. r v
    February 22nd, 2011 at 16:56 | #17

    “Oh, and your comment “If say China did actually allow the accurate translation of 127 in the subtitles, it would be likely characterized as ‘fanning nationalism’” – the only problem with this ludicrous statement is that the official DVD release is months away. Are you suggesting the Chinese authorities might be actively engaged in piracy and theft of intellectual property? Shurely shome mishtake…”

    Not at all. Private individuals providing such subtitles would be interpreted as “fanning nationalism”.

    Afterall, Western media likes to attribute all such things to the Chinese government, as we have seen repeatedly.

  18. silentchinese
    February 22nd, 2011 at 16:59 | #18

    The labor market for industrial workers has been tightening for couple years now. wages are going up and I have seen factories are turning down orders because they can’t find workers.
    some factory owner even resort to extreme measures. this one guy I know offered an apartment (!) to his worker if they stayed on for more than 10 years.

    the “party thugs” has made this situation (worse/better?) because instead of lassiaze faire they insisted on a big developement push in the poor provinces/ enacted and enforced (incredible!) a labor law and insist on rolling out a social saftey net. not to mention 30 years of family planning! now look the mess they have created!
    they should have let the population uneducated and poor and explode like those in XXXXX and suck on the cheap labor. Oh no… instead they want to do all those fancy stuff.
    damn those commie thugs! why can’t they let the factory owners and multi national suck blood as they always had!

  19. r v
    February 22nd, 2011 at 17:39 | #19

    Hmm…. Apple is poisoning Chinese workers.


    So I guess now, it’s the Western governments’ turn to be blamed for all evil things happening to Chinese people?

    Hey, if Chinese government get blamed for bad food and tools in China, Western governments’ turn to accept blames for Apple’s poisoning Chinese workers!

    What was that all about Western companies’ QC? 🙂

  20. Pete Jones
    February 22nd, 2011 at 18:08 | #20

    Now I’ve given you enough rope to hang yourself…

    It’s a Taiwanese company, i.e. Chinese. And the fact it’s being reported in a UK newspaper indicates your stance on media bias might need re-thinking. There’s a long tradition of this in the press (cf. media campaigns against the way Nestle promoted the use of milk formula in the Developing World, which led to the company changing its policy due to the resulting public pressure). The fact you’re not reading about Chinese companies doing this every day in the mainland Chinese media is not a coincidence. Try reading some of the Hong Kong media (One China, right?). More on this issue later.

    This illustrates why, in fact, YOU don’t get it. In order to counter western media bias, what you do NOT do is lurch to the other extreme; obsessing over trivia, propounding half baked conspiracy theories and defending the indefensible. You present a balanced, objective argument, something you are failing to do in a spectacular fashion.

  21. Pete Jones
    February 22nd, 2011 at 18:22 | #21

    ‘This post was exactly about dissing “Chinese” Swiss Army knife. What is so “Chinese” about the Swiss Army knife?’

    What? What does that even mean? If you’d quelled your sense of outraged national identity long enough to actually watch the movie, you would’ve seen in the first scene that Ralston failed to find his Swiss Army knife at the back of the shelf, and took the ‘cheap Chinese multitool’ instead. Come on, man, pay attention.

  22. r v
    February 22nd, 2011 at 18:27 | #22

    No no, it’s APPLE who oversawed the subcontractors. They are responsible for MANAGEMENT.

    Just like the Chinese government was supposed to be checking every bag of food, APPLE and American government was supposed to check every subcontractor for APPLE.

    That should have been EASY, considering there were only a few subcontractors. (Fewer than milk farms in China).


  23. February 22nd, 2011 at 22:30 | #23

    @Pete Jones, #21

    Sorry, my bad. Strike what I wrote in #15 about the knife. Now could you address what I wrote there.

  24. r v
    February 23rd, 2011 at 17:27 | #24

    Oh yeah, hopefully American kids are not putting those iPods in their mouths, because they could be sucking down the poisonous chemicals used in making those things.

    Though, just to be safe, maybe US should ban sales of iPods, iPhones, and iPads, made in China, since obviously Chinese workers have been exposed to those chemicals.

    Hey, just trying to be responsible! 🙂

    NO? Well, don’t say you weren’t warned.

  25. Pete Jones
    February 24th, 2011 at 03:12 | #25

    Yes, I’ll address your points, although you’ve yet to show me the courtesy of reciprocating.

    In this context, ‘Chinese Milk’ would refer to companies in which the majority shareholders are Chinese interests; in which minority shareholders (e.g. the NZ based Fronterra) raised concerns about adulteration that were suppressed by vested political interests. Concern within the Chinese media and medical system was also suppressed, until the story became too big to control. You cite the politically expedient judicial killing of an official as a good thing, but fail to mention that, two years later, tainted products were still entering the food chain, and the parents of dead children were being prosecuted and persecuted by the authorities for trying to highlight this. Well done, your parents must be proud of you.

    This is the fundamental flaw in your argument. Of course, Governments are not responsible for ‘checking every bag of food…checking every contractor’ – but when they actively suppress information and harrass the resulting victims, one can only wonder at the moral legitimacy of both the officials, and the people who defend them.

    What’s interesting is that it’s always Party officials at the centre of these scandals, e.g. Tian Wenhua, Chairwoman/General Manager of Sanlu….and Secretary of the Sanlu Communist Party chapter (although why a dairy products company would need a political officer has never been made clear)! Rather than guiding China towards a better future, the CCP is actually hindering it. It’s only when the CCP gets out of the way, stops interfering and taking kickbacks, that the people can get on with doing what they do best. The laws exist to control these situations, but are rendered ineffective by political corruption. I could give you very specific examples related to me by Chinese friends, but have no intention of doing so for what I hope are obvious reasons.

    While we’re on the subject of Sanlu, did you see the recent 小兔子 cartoon (created by a Chinese citizen – or was it a Western imperialist plot…)? I did, although it wasn’t easy to find here due to the dedicated efforts of those selfless Firewall enforcers. A great piece of satire, the kind of thing the Western media uses to skewer Western governments on a daily basis (you probably haven’t noticed, being so busy hunting for anti-Chinese bias). Not so common in China, of course – the author was very brave, a contrast to useful idiots (google it) like yourself, sitting in your priviliged positions in the West. Was that a Thanksgiving dinner with Chinese characteristics?

    I’m still not sure what your point is about the Apple/Wintek situation. Are you saying that Chinese laws have been flouted, which doesn’t seem to be the case? Are you saying that the Western media, which are reporting it widely to Apple’s disadvantage, are ‘China-bashing’? The integrity of the product isn’t in question. What seems to be the problem is either lax employment laws in China that permit the exploitation of employees – or lack of those laws’ enforcement due to political corruption. Either way it’s unfortunate for the workers. I should stress I personally couldn’t give a shit about Apple’s reputation – my MP3 player is a Japanese Sony made in Malaysia, still going strong three years after I bought it…

    Regarding private individuals not being permitted to fan nationalism – you haven’t been to the ‘Opinions’ comments’ section of the People’s Daily lately, have you?

    The central theme of this website is ‘Chinese media good, Western media bad’, so I’d like to tell you a story. I spent last night editing an academic paper for a friend here who is studying for their medical PhD at the best hospital in the Provincial Capital. The paper is in English. Technically it’s very interesting, research that isn’t being done in the West. I was only tidying up the spelling and grammar. I should stress that it was a favour to a friend; no money changed hands, and I’m not an English teacher (I think the EFL industry in China is a cynical racket preying on the aspirations of ordinary people trying to better themselves). Why is my Chinese friend having to write a PhD paper in a foreign language? Because the Chinese medical press is held in such low esteem that having a paper published in one of its journals is regarded as an irrelevance, of no worth. In order to gain their PhD, students at the Province’s best hospital have to successfully get a paper published in a Western medical journal.

    You knock yourselves out with that one.

  26. SilentChinese
    February 24th, 2011 at 06:32 | #26

    @Pete Jones

    I am sorry, but I fail to see your central point through all of your rambling.

    What is your gripe is about? you think Sanlu is the fault of CCP? that all these milk farmers getting innovative and dump melamines into their raw milk to pass the test all because of CCP?
    that wintek failed to protect their worker all becasue of CCP?
    and that some third world country’s medical press is not up to the cracks because of CCP?
    and the day CCP topples the milk farmers wouldn’t fake it, wintek wouldn’t fake it? and the medical journal wouldn’t fake it?

    Hello My friend you have a pretty near sighted vision.

    have you ever read upton sinclaire’s The Jungle? Chicago’s stock yards and slaughter houses back in the turn of century wasn’t ran by CCPs I hope? what about the Minamata disease look it up if you think that was chinese or CCP. and for about 200 years-up to 19th centiry harvard was regarded as nothing more than a boy’s finishing schools, don’t believe me? well read some highly trusted balanced and objective western publications. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-136198182.html

    This is what china is. they have huawei and they have melamine milk. they are at their own stage of developement.

    But if in your moment of smallness, fail to see the trajectory of china and the momentum behind that trajectory, then I can not fault you being blind. just as I can’t fault an ant fail to see that he lives my glass ant farm.

  27. SilentChinese
    February 24th, 2011 at 06:52 | #27

    In turn of the last century,

    America was dismissed as crude upstart. its industries were constantly copy cating europe (often with out regard to any loyalties). its food were unsafe. its cities were polluted, ts people were regarded as crude and uneducated, its workers were working in most unsafe conditions and gets abused. its universities were definitely third rate. and its politics was rampant with corruption all the way up to the president.

    almost exactly the same type of things said about china today.

    upton sinclaire wrote the jungle in 1906. meerly 13 years later a former college professor from a second rate finishing school settled the biggest war the world has ever seen and laid the foundation for modern global progressivism and this modern world.

    If some to choose only live in the moment and be-irrelevent, that is their perogative.

  28. Pete Jones
    February 24th, 2011 at 15:51 | #28

    [Deleted for trolling.]

  29. Desertsnake
    March 6th, 2011 at 07:22 | #29

    Why do you want whine over one sentence said in the entire film. Seriously, were you even watching the film or just obsessing about one single line said? Its a great movie and all he implied was that we shouldn’t always be cheap when buying stuff in the expense of quality. But honestly, we all know that, for a fact that 90% of all goods made in China isn’t high quality. In my experience, I bought a standing fan about a year ago. It worked fine, it was blowing strong, it didn’t make much noise and it looked good. But 2 weeks later, the thing just stopped working and I feel like the biggest chump in the world. I think this has happened to all of us before. Whether German, American or even Chinese, we have felt like we should have just spent a little more to get better quality so quit the bitching. We’re all men (most of us in the forum) and can take a few criticism and try to improve on ourselves. For the movie, he said made in China goods are bad because its a worldwide cultural reference saying China goods are mostly bad and everyone can relate to it. Maybe it will improve in a decade or two like Japan did but for now, its just a fact of life. Deal with it.

  30. Pete Jones
    March 6th, 2011 at 15:02 | #30

    Ah, but in even saying that you are revealing your instinctive anti-Chinese bias!

    You might want to read this book: http://www.economist.com/node/13642306 – not as laugh-out-loud funny as Tim Glissold’s ‘Mr China’, but an interesting (and sobering) account of Chinese manufacturing.

  31. March 6th, 2011 at 23:08 | #31

    @Desertsnake #29,

    You wrote:

    We’re all men (most of us in the forum) and can take a few criticism and try to improve on ourselves.

    Sure thing. Criticism is well taken if well intended, but in my view the context was more racist than anything else. Please read my recent post discussing that where bad quality lies, we should go after bad qualities, bad supply chain where bad supply chain is due, bad businesses where bad business is due. Yes, China is a developing country with problems all developing countries have. Those are well known and there are ways to deal with those. If you want to have good quality products, you can like Apple make high quality products in China. The problem with most “made in China” problem though is that they are caused by unscrupulous multinational companies’ chasing profits, squeezing profit margins of suppliers, taking shortcuts in the quality control and procurement processes. What do you expect to be the result: we overlook that however and blame everything on China…

    @Pete Jones #30,

    The article you referenced talked about some anecdotal examples of manufacturing problems in China. The economist article itself noted that it was an open question whether the problem is “as pervasive as this book suggests….” Again as I mentioned above in my repsonse to #29, China does not hold out itself to be a developed nation. The problems of developing nations are pretty much the same everywhere. If multinationals are going to do business in China taking shortcuts that they know they should not, we should have the guts to hold them up for dropping the ball.

  32. March 7th, 2011 at 07:23 | #32

    I have worked as a Quality & Reliability Engineer in US for 12 years before going to law school.

    Q&R problems are pervasive EVERYWHERE in the world.

    Frankly, those who examine other countries’ Quality problems have nothing better to do. (They should look at their own home country’s problems).

    US has no shortage of Quality problems in virtually all of its industries. (Those that it still has).

    Frankly, It’s because of the lax attitude toward Quality in US that let’s bad quality products get through the customs.

    I personally spent 6 months trying to sort out problems with my “Made in USA” Whirlpool oven. (If one wants to compare anecdotes). And this wasn’t some cheap $200 oven. I spent well over $1000 for that top of the line oven unit, and it broke after less than 1 year.

    And let’s just say that Whirlpool wasted my time with multiple service appointments, (which if I charged my attorney time for missed work hours, it costed me more than $2000).

    Needless to say, I’m not buying Whirlpool any more, and I certainly don’t believe that US has better quality products.

    (Problem is, US doesn’t have enough manufacturing left to work out its quality problems). China at least, has enough volume in manufacturing that we can see the quality problems there. So China can improve.

  33. Pete Jones
    March 9th, 2011 at 19:18 | #33

    The ‘article’ is a review of a book that doesn’t shy away from apportioning blame to US importers when such blame is due. It’s a fair and balanced piece of writing, a concept I know Hidden Harmonies has trouble dealing with. Not only does it deal with the systemic failures within Chinese manufacturing, it also assesses the common claim (made above) that China must be indulged because it’s a developing country, and that the fault lies with the foreign companies. In addition, it details what happens when foreign importers try to pursue Chinese companies through the Chinese legal system when they are at fault – let’s just say they don’t get very far. It is an interesting book, but I won’t rehash the arguments here. You need to read it yourself before commenting.

    Re: QC – then you will know there are clear procedures in Western nations to deal with this; warranty back-up, and a transparent, well defined judicial system to back that up if it goes wrong. I myself had to claim against a faulty product from a US manufacturer recently. I’m not sure where it was made, but an expensive piece of camping equipment failed after four months’ hard use. I returned it to the shop, and was given an instant no quibble refund. Your rights are very clear, unlike with the murky and arbitrary Chinese judicial system – why didn’t you act on them?

    I enjoy the way that ultra-nationalists veer from ‘You are lying!’ to ‘But you do it too/you did it 100 years ago!’ to, finally, ‘Oh, but China is a developing country…’, depending on how the debate’s going. Very illuminating. Do you intend deleting this post as well?

  34. March 10th, 2011 at 06:12 | #34

    If you got your refund, then what’s your quibble about “Made in China” goods?

    And incidentally, VAST majority of Chinese companies are ISO certified, and there is an ESTABLISHED branch of Chinese government dedicated to Quality Control and Assurance.

    US has no such functionary group in the government.

    So who’s in charge of QC “laws” in US? NOBODY. And you want to talk about “murkey and arbitrary”? What US laws determines by what standard that your camping equipment “failed”?? Should we take your arbitrary word for it??

    How do you know when something has “failed” to entitle you legally to a refund, under US laws?

    I certainly didn’t, when I called up Whirlpool. I had warranty, but it didn’t say anything about I had to go through freaking 6 months of service calls, nor did it say any thing about REFUND. I tried to get a refund. Whirlpool gave me the run around.

    I’m a lawyer in US, and I thought about suing Whirlpool, but that would have taken YEARS.


    I enjoy your generalization of “refund” story. Sorry, no dice. Most things I own in my home don’t have a money back guarantee.

    Under US law, it’s majority of time Caveat Emptor, “BUYERS BEWARE”!!

    Murky and arbitrary indeed!

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