Diego Bustamante (bustamanted@hotmail.com)
Wed, 18 Oct 2000 20:52:57 -0500

Hey isn't that Eddie?
----- Original Message -----
From: <core@gundam.com>
To: <gundam@aeug.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 7:53 PM
Subject: Re: [gundam]

> Wow! I am gone a couple wks and what a thread! Heh I am pleasantly
> surprised that there's so much sense and intelligence in most of the
> posts. But heh can't help but unlurk for a post or two... (and: Go HGUC
> First let's get a fact straight. MSIA figures are not (N-O-T) made by
> prison labors (or "political prisoners", as one poster so carefully
> emphasized). Unlike their American counterparts, Chinese prison labors
> are available only to stater-owned factories or pseudo-private factories
> owned by relatives of Chinese officials. Chinese prison labors are not
> available to foreign companies. The simple fact is that MSIA figures were
> proposed, developed, and designed by Bandai HK, a company owned but not
> operated by Bandai Japan. The designs were done in HK by HK artist/techs,
> manufacture and packaging done in mainland, somewhere in Guandong.
> Incidentally, most Bandai model kits are also pressed and packaged in
> China, but designs (including sculpting) are done in Japan.
> To digress a little. This explains a lot of differences between MSIAs and
> HGUCs. MSiA runs on a faster release schedule that seems completely
> un-coordinated with HGUC/MG release schedule. MSIA headed straight for
> (almost) complete sets (0079, W, EW), While MG/HGUC darts around the
> series chasing after some elusive profit-maximization scheme. It is
> obvious that Bandai HK and Bandai Japan don't share sculpts and 3D
> designs. E.g., MSIA and HGUC Gog came out about 2 months apart, but the
> proportions are completely different (unfortunately for me, MSIA is better
> in this case). Bandai HK also takes MSIA less seriously than Bandai Japan
> takes models. That's why the MSIA Wing figures were designed and released
> in less time than it took Bandai Japan to dig up the Wing model molds and
> press new ones. That's also why MSIA are non-scaled and why you will
> never see an HGUC Bigzam. Even more telling is the fact that the Banpesto
> MS Factory sets (Gundam, Guncannon, Guntank, Zaku (red and green) Gouf and
> Dom), despite being action figures of about the same scale, are also
> completely different sculpts from MSIA.
> Anyway, any talks of prison labors making MSIA figures came from one
> individual poster (gundam@loop.com) who sometimes is known to make
> flippant comments free of any restrains by facts and common sense.
> Boycotting MSIA's would be... rather comical. Oh BTW, gundam@loop.com is
> selling an MSIA Gundam Deathscythe Hell on eBay for US$19.80, which is
> 100% higher than the retail price in Toronto's Toys'R'Us. Maybe the
> profit from his sales will be donated to fight for prisoner's rights in
> China :)
> see http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=468947059
> ANYWAY. That's not even the real reason I am posting this. I am much
> more interested in the bigger issues raised by other posters. At the same
> time, I am saddened that a flippant comment could generate so much debate.
> Evidently there is a huge amount of misconception about China out there.
> Sometimes it seems that Americans are just as cut-off from the outside
> world as the Mainland Chinese. But I have to say the GML is rather
> special. I am very heartened that most of the discussions have been
> well-intentioned towards the Chinese people. I will try to organize a few
> thoughts of myself:
> 1. Prisoners doing productive work is an excellent idea. Forcing
> criminals to be idle all day is cruel and unusual punishment and is
> counterproductive to the society in general. What is bad is that someone
> (anyone) other then the prisoners would benefit financially from prison
> labors. Bottomline is that any time in history that prisoners produce any
> significant amount of financial gain for a group of people (who are
> typically feudal lords, industrialists, and you guessed it, communists),
> the amount of social injustice increased. The Great War of China was
> built (over many centuries) by prison labor, everytime the Emperor decided
> that a new addition was needed in the Wall, huge number of people were
> thrown in jail for minor charges. The character Jean Valjean in Les
> Miserable is a good example.
> Personally I think the answer is that prisoners should be given work, but
> must be paid at salary at or above average level of unionized rate (of the
> country in question of course). So that it won't be an incentive for the
> industrialists, government, etc to directly or indirectly increase the
> prison population. There needn't be any worry that union level wages
> would make prison-life too comfortable. There are enough humane ways to
> make prison-life unattractive to potential criminals.
> 2. There is no question that prison labors is one of the objectionable
> human right abuse that the Chinese Communist (CCP) is guilty of. But to
> focus on it is very cynical. There are deep and vast problems with the
> Chinese justice system, yet in the West the only issue that get any
> attention is prison labors. In my opinion, political and religious
> freedoms, and equality between individuals and companies/state are far
> more important. But if you watch the US media, the main problems are
> prison labors and intellectual property (IP) rights, issues that have
> almost no impact to the average Chinese, but means big bucks to MS,
> Disney, Sony, Nike etc etc. The issue of prison labor is especially
> cynical. WTO doesn't object to corruptions in the Chinese justice system,
> it only object to the prisoners making Chinese goods "unfairly"
> competitive against Western products. Unethical labor practice (prison
> labor, child labor, bad labor safety and conditions) are only put in the
> limelight when it's controlled by someone other then G-7
> nations/companies. WTO never proposed any meaningful sanction against
> Indonesia for their child labor, because that would cut into Nike's
> profit. Same deal for Sierra Leon diamond. If G-7 companies are allowed
> to employ Chinese prison labors, you bet your Perfect Grade Gundam that
> you won't hear a thing about prison labors anymore. I realize that most
> GMLer means well when you jump on the prison labor bandwagon. Living in
> the US especially, it's very hard to see through the shenanigans put on by
> the Congress, WTO and World Bank.
> 3. While I agree that most Americans mean well, but most of the public
> opinion about China is easily swayed by the Authority. The opinion of
> China in the US hit a definite low in 1989 with the massacre. But that
> time, the general feeling was "CCP bad, Chinese good". The second low was
> the "accidental" bombing of the Chinese embassy last year. CCP,
> understandably, milked it for all it's worth. Of course, for both the
> average Americans and Chinese, this set up the us vs. them mentality.
> Now it's "China bad, Chinese bad". All the pundits who wanted to impeach
> Clinton and all the consciracy theorists who belived the US Govt can do
> nothing right, join hands in siding with CIA/Pentagon. Over in China (and
> amongst oversea Chinese), CCP and freedom fighters put down their
> differences temporarily and throw rotten eggs at the US Embassy. In
> retaliation, the FBI produced a report that said, essentially, China stole
> so much nuclear secrets from the US that WW3 can start any day now. When
> that failed to generate any substained panic, they went for witch-hunting
> and jailed the first yellow-skinned nuclear scientist they could fix.
> Wen Ho Lee, a loyal American with Taiwanese (not mainland!) ties, should
> count himself lucky for he suffered only 9+ months of solitary
> confinement. (OTOH, the 2 Canadian and 1 British persons
> falsely/mistakenly accused of espionage by Yugoslavia seems to have fared
> better in Yugoslavian jail than Lee in American jail) Anyway, my point is
> that right now in the US public, anti-CCP/China/Chinese feelings are very
> high (see any dicussion on China in the CNN website for examples). And I
> will certainly avoid entering US soil for a while.
> 4. A lot of people in the West thinks that we all want to share the
> prosperity. That is simply unpractical. It is simply impossible for,
> let's say, even 50% of the population to enjoy the N. American lifestyle.
> Just take an example of the time. The current oil crisis started before
> the military crisis in the Middle East. What do you think were the
> reasons that oil just suddenly jumped? I am no economist, but I do notice
> that it was a period of (relative) stability and econ. growth in the third
> world, the financial crisis in East/South Eash Asia and South America was
> over, everyone was doing just a little bit better than 5 yrs ago. And
> that's major bad news, supply and demand, oil production can't catch up
> and everyone has to pay more. The chaos in France and England (and soon
> Canada) is something that we haven't seen for many years. This is result
> of everyone doing ONLY a little better. Imagine the world when Chinese
> are burning as much oil per capita as the West, there won't be enough
> oxygen in the air to substain that! So let's just drop this "share the
> prosperity" wetdream. Western democracies are only substainable as long
> as there are poor totalitarian states ready to supply cheap labor, land,
> and raw materials; nations that are too busy fighting wars (using Western
> weapons) than to do their own manufacturing, so they export their raw
> materials at third world prices, let the West make goods out of the
> materials and re-import them at first world prices. For the West to
> substain, the economic development of the third world must be kept in
> check.
> Put it another way, if hunger is eliminated from the whole world, by the
> simple principle of supply and demand, the price of your afternoon
> chocolate bar will have to go up, how many people are really willing to go
> along with that?
> 5. I am completely sympathetic to JED's feeling of helplessness. The
> post-Soviet era is both the freest and safest time; and the most
> suffocating and most depressing time. Most of the Western population are
> well-fed and well-clothed, but life's meaning seems to be getting sucked
> out of us from about age 4 onward. I don't want to give any answers now
> nor in fact do I have an Answer. I said it is impossible for everyone to
> live the easy comfortable lives of the West, but it IS possible for
> everyone to live peacefully and happily. To get there, we need to rework
> the Western ideas of "progress", "success" and "fairness".
> My only advice to JED and others who feel the same way: don't let
> helplessness gets the better of you. Helplessness is _the_ weapon of
> the bad guys (whoever they are). There are a lot of us out there who
> don't buy into the "this is the way it is, there is no other way"
> rhetorics. People can only be repressed if they allow themselves to be
> repressed. Look at the Yugoslavians, they freed themselves of a dictator,
> not with bombs or any hi-tech weaponry, or even much of any outside help
> (yes I do agree the sanction was important). I absolutely abhor the "if
> you can't beat them, join them" altitude. Every one of the Nazi SS guard
> and KGB agent uses it as an justification for what they do.
> Name: Core
> Patient ID: #1
> Room: http://side7.gundam.com/newtype_asylum/
> Condition: Critical
> -
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