Thursday, July 19, 2007

Picking on China...Some More

Is it just me, or is everyone picking on China? Here are just a few of the stories about China on NPR in the past couple of days:
  • A Year Without "Made in China": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy
  • Consumers Sue over Tainted Pet Food from China
  • Starbucks Closes Coffeehouse in Forbidden City
  • Congress to Grapple With Chinese Food Safety
Plus tons of news stories about the things I've blogged about over the past little while. I think if there was a tag cloud of news stories recently, China would easily be in 72 point font.

That's why I was not surprised to hear two stories about China in a row on All Things Considered as I was driving home today, but I was surprised that both took a somewhat new slant.

The first story started out sounding like all the other coverage - Chinese and international news agencies aired an undercover report investigating the use of cardboard as a filling in dumplings. What was fascinating was that apparently after this report came out to much horror, it turned out that it was a hoax (and the reporter was arrested, which I thought was an interesting reaction). Beijing news apologized for not following up on this more carefully...except, there's also rumor that Chinese sensors actually forced them to issue a fake retraction because the story wasn't a hoax at all.

The second story was about finding Chinese stars for the NFL. Since Yao Ming joined the NBA, Chinese interest in basketball has risen dramatically, but the Chinese are apparently not so into football because they consider it a pretty barbaric, violent sport (one of those cultural differences that make life so interesting, since we think nothing of it here but even theoretical cardboard-filled dumplings would have necessitated a federal commission). Because of this, the NFL is having trouble getting any players from China, and those few are all training as kickers because it's a position that requires the least amount of violence and a lot of precision. Despite the fact that four Chinese players had been training all year, none of them were actually allowed to play. What I found most fascinating was the interview with one of these players, who said that he guessed the NFL didn't want him to play even when his team's kicker was injured, because they were protecting him. I just can't imagine an American saying that, can you?

And that's it for me regarding China, at least for the next week.

No comments: