-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Sat, 7 Oct 2000 19:33:41 -0700

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-gundam@1u.aeug.org [mailto:owner-gundam@1u.aeug.org]On
> Behalf Of James E. "ZEE" Doyle
> Sent: Friday, October 06, 2000 23:52
> To: gundam@aeug.org
> Subject: [gundam] (OT) MSIA = Forced Labor? (was: Re: HG pet peeves)
> On this whole subject of forced labor...
> As far as I know, the assumption that MSIA and other Bandai toys are made by
> prison laborers is so far just that... an assumption. I would need to find
> out more about it before jumping to conclusions. Granted, any toy with a
> "made in China" label has a fairly high chance of being made this way... but
> I'd want to know for sure. And such information can be difficult to track
> down. If anyone does have more insight in this matter, I'd welcome it.

Who are we to judge China or its legal system? Much of what we consider
everyday commerce may be criminal activity in another country, and vice versa.
Our ways are not theirs and to expect them to become like us simply because we
trade goods and services is a big mistake.

We have injustice enough right here at home without looking for trouble
somewhere else. We and China have one thing in common, however: we are among
the few industrialized nations with a death penalty. America, too, has slave
labor in our prisons, much of it back-breaking farm and quarry work -- or
perhaps you've never heard of confinement at hard labor, the rock pile, and the
chain gang? We also have prison "industry" such as license plate manufacture,
textile work ("Prison Blues" is now being sold worldwide, I believe), arts &
crafts or souvenirs, etc. The main difference is that the work is "voluntary"
(in the since that the prisoners don't have to work, but will lose the income
necessary to purchase "luxury" items like vending machine treats -- the only
money they're allowed to have in the "token economy" -- and "privileges" such as
visitation rights and may even be locked down or placed in solitry confinement
during working hours if they don't work) and they good they produce aren't major
export items.

And anyone who thinks that we don't have torture and rape in our legal system,
with its "us and them" mentality and the notion that criminals deserve whatever
they get, are blind to the obvious facts.

This is not to say we should condone inhumane practices and human rights abuses
in other countries. But we should be mindful that we have inhumane practices in
our own -- and do something about them -- at the same time. They way to lead in
the realm of human rights is by example. Anything else smacks of hypocrisy.


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