Toy Story 3: Adventures In Red China

Posted on Sun 02/07/2010 by


Satire by  Shawn Goodwin

In the past few decades, the United States has enjoyed friendly trade relations with China. These relations have more or less normalized in recent years, and American financial investment in the country is well over $40 billion. In fact, China and Japan account for almost 10 percent of all American trade. Suffice to say, the arrangement has been beneficial to both countries. Lately however, there have been serious issues with Chinese exports, specifically with clothing and children’s toys.

The complaints are too numerous to mention: dangerous lead levels in baby rattles, toxic formaldehyde in clothing, and pajamas that are more flammable than Rip Torn’s breath. Heck, when given the choice between American-made underwear and a Chinese-made videogame, most children would gladly take the underwear! To date, no person has ever found an “Inspected By #99” sticker in a Beijing export. Evidently, their components and their quality control are an ancient Chinese secret:

“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued three voluntary recalls involving children’s products that were manufactured in China. About 7,200 children’s hooded pullover sweatshirts and zip hooded sweatshirts distributed by New Mode Sportswear in Garden Grove, Calif., are being pulled from shelves because the drawstring on the hood can pose a strangulation hazard.

The second recall also involves a drawstring hazard. This time, GTM Sportswear Inc., of Manhattan, Kan., is recalling more than 200,000 children’s hooded nylon jackets in [various] sizes. Styles include the youth medalist jacket, legacy jacket, eclipse jacket, dominator jacket, booster jacket and achiever jacket.

The last recall pertains to children’s toy jewelry sets imported by Playmate Toys of Costa Mesa, Calif. About 250,000 charms sold with the ‘Tink Tink and Friends’ jewelry sets are being recalled because the charms contain an illegal amount of lead.”

If the story ended here, it would be scarier than catching a soaking wet Helen Thomas toweling off. Unfortunately, every single Chinese product must be examined with scrutiny because of the safety violations that have been uncovered. The simple fact of the matter is that there are so many tainted items flooding into the country that the shelves of the local stores are full of “illegals.” And of all these shady products, these three are the most egregious offenders:

Mandarin Oranges. The refreshing fruit is heavily exported to the West, and while both delicious and nutritious, the oranges have one downside: DDT. The United States banned the pesticide in 1972, but rumor has it that the Chinese are using the poison in their orange groves. In fact, some have speculated that the government is whipping up a harmful preservative cocktail of DDT and MSG, but the officials are keeping it on the QT, and doing so PDQ.

Chairman Mao-llomars. Is there anyone alive today who does not like Mallomars? chocolate-covered marshmallows atop a crispy graham cracker crust is a recipe for yummy in the tummy. Of course, the Chinese equivalent is named for the country’s former communist overlord, and tastes just as evil. The chocolate has been replaced with carob, a substitute so unappealing that even Bear Grylls wouldn’t eat it. The marshmallows are genuine, but they are a tad aged, since most of them are from the Allied air drops to Burma during World War II. The graham cracker? Decades-old cardboard. Separately, these ingredients wouldn’t be fit for a dog or Keith Olbermann. Combined, they are a recipe for disaster and should be destroyed upon delivery.

Fortune Balloons. Asian engineers took a great idea and made it that much better. A delicious cookie with words of wisdom inside is terrific for those with a sweet tooth, but what about the corpulent and diabetics? Thanks to fortune balloons, those who are watching their figures can partake in some knowledge. After being filled with helium, participants can pop the balloon at a time convenient for them and enjoy the fortune that falls to the ground. Fantastic idea, right? It would be if the balloons weren’t riddled with more lead than Bonnie and Clyde.

A majority of exported balloons have dangerous levels of lead, so much so that the origin of the popular saying “went over like a lead balloon” most likely originated in the Orient. The lead content in the average Chinese balloon is so high that not even Superman could see through the things. Would anyone really want their children to handle one? Not likely.

Strangely enough, the only product China exports that does not have lead in it is their leaded x-ray vests!

Far too often, Americans criticize government agencies for appearing to needlessly meddle in their affairs. No one, besides Congressional Democrats, wants bigger government. In this case, however, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is right on target with these recalls. Quality control in Red China is a joke, and sooner or later some poor American kid is going to end up in the hospital because of one of these toys. That cannot happen. Until Beijing cleans up its act, we should keep their ill-conceived wares on their side of the Great Wall.’s official satirist, Shawn Goodwin, is a blogger and police detective from Philly.

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