Tuesday, November 16, 2010

China: I'm so over you

I’ve had it.

I’ve seriously had it! No jokes. To me, China is no more. I’ve always had an issue with their policies, especially when it comes to protecting their workers, but in the past year they’ve pushed me too far.

It started with the news story of a hospital in China discarding dead babies in a river. Dozens of tiny body bags flowing down stream chilled me to the core. I couldn’t help but think “what kind of sick people would do that to the remains of a child?” I started to wonder what I could do, in my own small way, to make a difference.

I am not famous. I’m not politically powerful, nor am I rich, but I am a citizen of a free country and I have the power to make a choice in one small way: with my dollars. I consume and because I’m a consumer in a free market I can vote with my dollars. So I started to toy with the idea of not purchasing things made in China any more… Because honestly, why would I want to financially support a country that throws dead babies into rivers?!

I was still toying with this idea when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo for his fight for human rights in China. I was thrilled that this man had won! He was truly deserving, unlike Obama (no offence Mr. President,) who hadn’t really accomplished anything when he was given the award last year. I thought that now that a citizen of China had won the award maybe things would change there… I thought that the people might rally to Xiaobo’s cause and the government would have to listen… I guess I underestimated how stubborn the Chinese government can be. Not only did they refuse to let Liu Xiaobo have the award, they also accused Norway of trying to get the West to interfere in their political matters and have now started to cut Norway out of their relations. Punishing the Norwegian people for a call made by the Nobel Prize committee was a huge mistake in my eyes. This is when I really started to think “who the hell does China think they are?” Not only do they think they can keep someone from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, but they also think its ok to take out their anger on an uninvolved country, quite frankly, China is acting like a big spoiled baby right now and I don’t appreciate it. So I’m putting my foot down and saying “NO MORE!”

I have begun a quest to buy things not made in China (I give myself extra kudos if I can find stuff made in Canada.) This quest may be one of the most difficult I have ever undertaken; everything is made in China! From food and bathroom supplies to jeans and bras, it doesn’t matter what the brand, all this stuff is made in the same place. Take shoes for example: I went looking for a pair of black leather boots. I told the sales clerk at the Bay shoe department about my mission and he walked around the whole floor with me checking the labels of shoes. Save for two brands, every single one was manufactured in China. Rockport, Calvin Klein, Guess, Jessica Simpson, all of them have fancy labels, but the backs say the same thing: Made In China. The two brands that were China free were Uggs, which are made in Australia, and La Canadienne, which are made here in Canada. After leaving the Bay I continued my search, but this time for lingerie. La Vie en Rose, La Senza and Victoria Secret all vary in price, but all are made in China.

I ended up buying nothing.

I was pleased to discover, however, that the majority of my bath products and cleaning supplies were made in Canada. Aveeno, Spectro Gel and Always are made in Canada, so are all the Bio Life cleaning supplies I buy from Shoppers. If you would like to join me or help me in my quest I’d appreciate the support. You have the power to vote with your dollars as well, so if China is pissing you off too, rally to my cause! It’s difficult being a conscious shopper, especially when it keeps you from buying the things you want, but the feeling of being free to make a choice and take a stand is far more thrilling then any shopping high.

If you’re out shopping and notice a brand that is not made in China please let me know. I’m running out of brands to buy and with Christmas coming it’s proving increasingly difficult, but I am determined not to give up!

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