Dolphins, Embargos and China

Many of you may not have heard the news regarding the first cetacean extinction (Yangtze River dolphin.) This tragic circumstance could have been avoided had the Chinese government allowed the import of (often free) alternatives to the gill nets and other destructive devices employed by local fishermen. Quite a few people have stated how shocked they were by the Chinese government’s willingness to allow this extinction to occur.

Several people expressed their desire to see the country “nuked” (and that will benefit the environment in what way, you odious morons?)

Others assert that is just one more sadistic action in a long list of atrocities committed by the Chinese recently (think tainted pet food, tainted fish, tainted medications and herbs etc.) These people insist that the United States declare a trade embargo on all goods from China – in effect, everything we currently purchase from China would become illegal to include items containing goods imported from China.

Whilst the idea is amusing (Wal*Mart and all the Dollar Stores would go bankrupt within a week – praise the lord) I can only wonder if people appreciate or recognize the amount of goods that would be effected by such a restriction.

In other words, what will Prada use as a handbag clasp? What will Gucci use at the bottom of shoe heels? Will Armani go belly-up for lack of buttons and zippers? Cheaper lines (think Basic Edition and anything vomited by Martha Stewart) would also be affected.

Ah yes, I can see it all now:

Overseas tourists debark their flights and find themselves surrounded by Homeland Security. They are lead to “embargo enforcement” areas, stripped of their clothing, and handed (100% recycled and made in the USA!) paper smocks once they reach the terminal. Their fancy clothing is confiscated – as are their eyeglass frames, cell phones, iPods, wallets and any other “suspected” item. This makes travel during winter rather intense.

On the streets roving gangs of thugs lurk in the shadows and wait for the BMW or Jag to roll up. Frightened businessmen speak in hushed tones, offering wads of $100’s in trade for an Armani button wrapped in cellophane. There is a 40% chance that the button is a knock-off item from Mexico. Formerly elegant women begin to make appearances on Maury and Springer, begging for help as they have been reduced to nothing more than “button and clasp hos” whom sell their bodies in trade for goods.

Somewhere outside of Dallas, Highway Patrol pulls over a small sedan. The driver is thrown into handcuffs once the car’s truck is popped – inside the cargo space are boxes upon boxes of GM side view mirrors. The Patrolman bears a grim expression; this is the fourth runner they’ve caught today. Had the runner made it to the state boarder, he would have been charged with a greater felony for crossing state lines.

Native Americans, declaring their reservations an independent nation, tear down casinos and construct strip malls filled with clothing shops. Boarder towns spring up along the Canadian and Mexican crossing points. Coyotes are paid thousands of dollars to smuggle illegal Chinese merchants and their goods into the United States. The BATF, FBI, Fashion Police and other agencies begin to closely monitor each and every China Town neighborhood within the United States.

The government purchases poodles, Chihuahuas and Italian greyhounds in vast quantity, and spends nearly a million in tax dollar revenue training these beasts to sniff out top fashion from Paris, London and Milan. Their noses pick up the specific scents of zippers made in China.

Millions of women can no longer purchase their Revlon, Almay or Avon cosmetics (some ingredients come from China.) Pets begin to starve. Riots break out all over the streets. Empty Wal*Mart, Kmart and Dollar Generals are raided and converted into unauthorized quarters for the homeless.

All major US airlines declare bankruptcy for lack of aircraft parts. Foreign aircraft sits on US runways unable to fly as their Chinese import parts have been confiscated. The Unites States Air Force is effectively grounded.

Soldiers of all branches run naked in the greens fields while the government researches methods of keeping their BDU pants secured to their bodies. No one wears their rank insignia or medals as the pin fasteners and ribbon bars are manufactured in China. Police departments have no means of holstering guns; they can not handcuff large groups of criminals, as plastic zip ties are in short supply.

In Florida, a lone Coast Guard cutter gives chase to a high powered-cigarette boat in the early hours of dawn; the criminals on board attempt to evade a conviction by dumping their evidence into the coastal waters.

Crates of Matchbox cars, household scissors, baby bottles, printers, notepads, pencils and pens, staplers, sippy cups, picture frames, microwaves, cooking utensils, electrical outlets, tools, shoe horns, eyelash curlers, dolls and other toys, egg timers, herbal vitamins, nail polish, car seat covers, cheap ceramic dishes, water pitchers, empty gelatin capsules, empty DVD cases, window fans, raw carpet fibers, wool, plastic chairs, keyboard keys, cloth material, vacuum and other household machine parts, baseball caps, stadium foam fingers, lighting fixtures, raw beads of plastic ready for moulding, cheap household knickknacks, plastic and silk flowers, bottles of dye, plastic boom boxes and telephones, Styrofoam packing peanuts and beads, and a plethora of other common goods normally imported from China now litter the coral reefs (killing off manatees by the thousands.)

This warped way of thinking is enough to give one goosebumps (which I hear are also on the Endangered lists due to the Chinese hunting them down and serving them to visiting Bulgarians.)

7 responded with...:

Rob Kistner said...

Shocking, sad, witty and poignant... excellent post!!

paisley said...

shocking indeed.. and ever so sad that we have become a people so addicted to things.. to imagine this gluttony for items of fashion makes me proud to sit here in my 10 yr old sweats.. totally unaffected

Anonymous said...

What a great, well-written post. Living in China, I am also privileged to see the a different side of things, and recently wrote about it at

I like your writings and thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Very informative post as always. Pleasureto read.

tricia stirling said...

this is great, so well written... if i were the editor of some fabulous magazine, I'd love to snatch this up for publication!

raymond pert said...

No! Not the casino!

Seriously, we just cannot underestimate the profound ways we are connected with one another across the world, whether it's the silver in or cell phones or the stuffing in inside Bert and Ernie toys.

Do I see the biting satire of a screenplay here?

Anonymous said...

Is it wrong to say I would almost embrace this idea? So sick of the consumerist world I exist within and terrifed at the cost of this existence.

I don't blame China so much as it is a worldwide phenomenon. The lust for goods.

I say all this but I too enjoy my toys and the ease of life compared to the impoverished childhood I grew up within.

Somewhere there must be a middle ground. If not we'll find ourselves like the chinese dolphin, extinct.

Thank you for this BRILLIANT post!