Poisoning wells, grinding up children by mattsteinglass
June 18, 2007, 8:42 am
Filed under: China, Health, Trade

Required reading: Walter Bogdanich’s NY Times article from yesterday on the backstory of attempts to investigate earlier cases of poisonous Chinese medicine and ingredient exports. Untold numbers of kids in Haiti and Bangladesh have died from this stuff, years before the more recent cases with toothpaste and cough syrup in Panama. If China, and other East Asian countries that export comestibles and pharmaceuticals, don’t completely revamp their attitudes towards assuring transparency and accountability in the food and pharms manufacture and supply chain, they are setting themselves up for a frenzy of Western outrage. There’s a reason why the “blood libel” involves accusations of hidden ingredients in the bread, and grinding up kids: this is a primal horror of life in civilized society, the anxiety that you don’t know who’s putting what in your food. For that matter, the fury will not be confined to Westerners. This is one of a very narrow class of issues on which authoritarian East Asian governments need to be seriously afraid of what their own citizens will do, if their fears that their kids are being poisoned are not allayed.


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