Posts Tagged ‘China’

Keeping it Real, Beijing Style

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

I guess I shouldn't be shocked to learn that the adorable little girl whose song melted hearts during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was lip synching — and that the girl who did do the singing was yanked from the show "for the national interest" at the last minute because she was considered not cute enough.

Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke was simply doing the old Milli Vanilli act and lip-syncing to the voice of 7-year-old Yang Peiyi (who is pretty darned cute, by the way).

“The reason was for the national interest,” said Chen Qigang, the ceremony’s musical director, in a state radio interview. “The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression.” The decision was made at the highest levels, Chen said.

“We had to do it,” he added. “We’d been through several inspections. They’re all very strict. When we rehearsed at the spot, there were several spectators from various divisions, especially leaders from the Politburo, who gave the opinion it must change.”

Few who watched the Olympic ceremony realized the deception. "Tiny Singer Wins Heart of Nation," read the headline in Tuesday's China Daily newspaper.

As a parent (and simply as a person with a heart) I feel sad for young Yang Peiyi, who must have been crushed to realize, at the eleventh hour and after what must have been many hours of rehearsal, that she would not appear in the opening ceremony.

But given the way China de-values women and girls in general, I can't say I'm shocked that only (perceived) "perfection" would do in this case. After all, this was a carefully orchestrated presentation for the world. The only happy ending here is that Chen Qigang and his buddies "at the highest levels" were found out in the most public way.

Well, at least we know that spectacular fireworks presentation that we all saw on TV was the real deal.

Oh, wait. I guess not.

“Made in China” — Time for a Toy Boycott?

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Like a whole bunch of steaming parents today, I’m angry.

Aqua Dots, a craft-bead kit for kids, has been yanked from U.S. stores because the coating on the beads, which causes the beads to stick to each other when
water is added, contains a chemical that can turn toxic. Children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop
respiratory depression or have seizures. A number of kids have been hospitalized after playing with the beads.

Apparently the company in China that makes Aqua Dots decided to switch out the glue on the product, substituting a (less-expensive, of course) substance that can kill when ingested. Gotta love their concern for kids.

The parade of Chinese-made toys that have been recalled due to safety issues has become a huge, scary issue for parents of young kids. And with the holidays on the way, I have to agree with Meredith Vieira, who, on the Today Show yesterday, suggested that parents might want to just stop buying toys made in China. In fact, Vieira’s off-hand suggestion, at the end of a news piece on the recall, seemed more helpful than that from a Bush-administration rep who said something to the effect of "We recommend buying toys from someone you trust."

How is a parent supposed to know which major toy manufacturers to trust when even Mattel, whom parents have trusted for years, has ended up on the wrong end of the stick, more than once lately, when it comes to inadvertently selling toys that contain dangerous amounts of lead?

I guess President Bush is telling us we’re on our own on this one. So who can blame the woman who came into a Southern California store yesterday and told the clerk, "I just want to look at toys that aren’t made in China."

Good idea. If our leaders can’t protect us any more than they have been from toys containing lead and other toxic substances, I guess we’ll just have to look out for our own families — and vote with our wallet this holiday season.