More sense, less Sinophobia, please

WHEN I first became aware of the hatred unleashed against China by America’s imbecile of a President my immediate thought was that the vast majority using social media to parrot his demands for a boycott of Chinese products were using phones and computers made or assembled in the very country they want to see punished for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indeed, it’s been reported that hypocrite Trump has TWO iPhones!

I then took stock of all the items I own that are made or assembled in China: my MP3 player, my iPhone, my iPad, my iMac, my Barclays card reader that gives me access to online banking, my vaping machines my … I could carry on all day.
If I were to trash them all, I would instantly render myself both joyless and unemployed, for my livelihood depends on affordable top-quality communication devices. In effect, I’d be without radio, television and the Internet. I might as well head for the nearest cave and live out the rest of my days as a louse-ridden hermit.

Clearly those who rushed to their made-in-China keyboards to express Sinophobia after the COVID-19 outbreak hadn’t engaged what can only be laughingly called their brains. Had they done some rudimentary research before venting their hysteria they would have discovered just how dependent we all are on Chinese products and technology.

According to a February, 2020, report, China has been the world’s biggest exporter of goods since 2009. The country overtook the US in 2013 as the largest trading nation in the world. Apart from computers and smartphones, the products we get from China include tea, rice, potatoes, cotton, furniture, knitted clothing, vehicles, medical apparatus and footwear. Calls to boycott Chinese products aren’t confined to Europe and America. India, for example, has also seen a steep rise in anti-Chinese sentiment. This, in a country which is one of the world’s biggest importers of Chinese goods.

It is also reliant on China for meeting its solar equipment demand. In 2018-19, China exported well above 60 per cent of electronic products and components and over 80 per cent of antibiotics to India.  And in Japan over 90 per cent of the coffins sold come from China. While boycott calls are just plain dumb given that there are so few alternatives, demands that people should spurn Chinese shops and restaurants are nothing short of despicable.

Chinese business owners and their families are suffering as much as everyone else affected by the pandemic – if not more so. Media reports say that Chinese districts are being given a wide berth, and racism is surfacing all over the globe.  Here’s just one example: an ice cream shop in Rome taped a sign to its door in English and Chinese that said ‘due to international safety measures all people coming from China are not allowed to have access to this place.’

Let me make one thing crystal clear. I think China’s record on human rights stinks, but my real contempt is reserved for companies, seeking ever bigger profits, that have transferred the manufacture of their products to a country infamous for cheap labour and deplorable working conditions.

But hey folks, that’s capitalism for you.


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Barry Duke


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