Posted by: Tony Carson | 24 August, 2007

China declares “war” to protect image

The ‘war’ metaphor, so popular with the US, is catching on in China which has just declared a multi-theatre war on tainted food, drugs and exports.

But this is not to be a US-style never-ending war but, really, more a 4-month skirmish to the end of the year, the next year being devoted only to the peace and tranquillity of the Olympics.

“This is a special battle to protect the health and personal interests of the public and to protect the reputation of Chinese goods and the national image,” Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi said, according to the government Web site (

She called the campaign a “stern political task” — a reminder that officials’ careers may be on the line.

Along with lead-based toys and batteries ripe for swallowing, other Chinese export scares have hit toothpaste, animal food ingredients, tires, eels and seafood, and deadly chemicals that found their way into cough medicine, killing patients in Panama.

As this Reuters article Shaken by product safety woes, China declares “war” explains:

Shaken by the scares, China has fought back with new rules, factory shutdowns, constant news conferences and now an old-style campaign to shake up officials often more focused on economic growth targets.

Wu blamed lax inspection and enforcement and failure of officials in rival agencies to cooperate. She vowed to whip them into line with a list of eight tasks and 20 specific goals.

In the latest health scare, the Shanghai Daily reported on Friday that city officials had seized more than a tonne of kelp soaked in a toxic chemical to keep it looking fresh. They also found fake wine and vinegar.

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