In the recent weeks, Hasbro and Mattel have had to remove their toys from the market due to high level of lead in the paint as well as dangerous magnets. The owner of the Chinese manufacturer which painted the Mattel toys committed suicide when he couldn't pay the resulting debts and the fact that one of his long time paint supplier duped him.
Today, New Zealand has opened an investigation on kids' clothes after a second kid was burnt by his pyjamas because scientists have discovered excessively high levels of formaldehyde. The exposure of these safety lapses is actually a good thing. These will finally compel businessmen (and consumers) to curb their unmerited enthusisasm about Chinese manufacturing and start to diversify the base to other countries.
Once again, everyone's relearning the basic lesson that monocultures, whether agricultural or industrial, are dangerous. Of course the regime is reacting rather snottily whining that these safety concerns are nothing more than protectionism.
This reaction from a regime that allows some 9000 miners a year to die and willfully ignored what its manufacturers did so long as they make money for the regime.
We consumers are also to blame for this state of affairs. We want to buy our products cheaply and don't care how they're made or where they come from. The result is behaviour where everyone in the supplier chain tries to screw and cheat the manufacutrer. The manufacturer in turn is under so muuch pressure to produce that it accepts jobs no matter how dubious from a safety point of view. In any case, I really hope that China becomes less the workshop of the world and other countries will pick up the slack.