The world now suffers from SinoFOODbia
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-10-09

Sinophobia is described as the intense fear or dislike of China, its people and its culture. Sinophobia took its roots from the influx of Chinese immigrants in Europe and North America. Even fellow Asians suffered from Sinophobia when the Chinese sought Asian havens after the Communist takeover in China.

Sinophobia took another dimension after World War II when the US and its allies were overrun by Chinese forces during the Korean War and were driven back to the south of the 38th Parallel, the boundary of North and South Korea.

General Douglas MacArthur wanted to drop atomic bombs at the North Korea and China border in order to cut off the North Koreans from China.

The world was lucky that the US had a wise president at the time ‑ Harry Truman – who recognized the danger of a 3rd World War erupting with the prospects of Russia and China ranged against the US and its allies. Truman knew that it was Russia who broke the back of the German Army during World War II and the US feared that Russia also possessed the atom bomb.

The Russians lost more than 20 million people in fighting Hitler in World War II. The US cannot hope to match up with an enemy that is not deterred by 20 million casualties in war.

After its setback in Korea, the US started fearing a Chinese export of Communism all over Asia. Here in the Philippines, we were especially primed to be ever watchful of Chinese infiltration. The illegal Chinese migrants then were notorious for adopting the identities of dead persons.

Nowadays, the Philippines and the rest of the world are again suffering from yet another dimension of Sinophobia ‑ this one I’d like to call SinoFOODbia. It is the new fear of anything ingestible that is made in China.

SinoFOODbia here took its roots from White Rabbit China-made candies that were discovered to pose health hazards last year. That discovery gave many folks the idea that the great rush to instant wealth that has characterized the Chinese economic boom during the last two decades may have reached that stage of GREEDY COMMERCE. When greedy commerce reigns, ethical standards are overlooked in the drive for a bigger share of the filthy lucre.

To compound the bad image that this health hazard had spawned, the US discovered that the material used for China-made toys also posed health hazards to children. You can just imagine what fears are now playing in peoples minds when toys that are not even ingested can still pose health hazards!

Here comes the whopper – China-made milk products can actually kill due to melamine content. Melamine is a chemical which an unscrupulous milk manufacturer adds in order to raise the protein rating of the milk product. Babies have started getting sick, some have actually died.

This set off a global panic and it is only right to panic when it comes to babies’ food. It is not just the China-made milk we drink that we have to watch out for. There are many products that are prepared with China-made milk and in the absence of any definitive finding on the exact dimensions of the threat to health – it is best to stop consuming all China-made milk products.

The SinoFOODbia is easier to contain in developed countries where people buy branded products. Branded products are easily categorized according to its safety or threat to health.

Not quite so when these milk products are bought by traders in bulk and then repacked into small affordable portions that cater to Philippine society’s tingi (retailed in the smallest packages) purchasing idiosyncrasy (that is largely dictated by limited household budgets). Repacked, there is now the problem of determining if the milk is made in China.

To be on the safe side, the DoH (Department of Health) decided to initially ban all China-made milk products as well as products that may have China-made milk in its composition. An initial list of 54 products was banned until the BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs) can ascertain the safety standards of these products.

Being looked into now are other food products from China as an independent lab was able to find melamine in popularly patronized China-made meat products. Even China-made cosmetics are now being analyzed.

Even the Chinese leader was quoted on television as saying that Chinese commerce has become greedy and lost its sense of morality. Knowing the severity of Chinese justice, I shudder to think what will be the penalty for the people who will be held to account for this milk mess.

Their crime is not just the deaths and ailments that babies suffered. There is a greater crime that the Chinese regime could attach to this ‑ that of economic sabotage – which, per Chinese penal laws, can easily fetch the guilty parties a date with the executioner. Who would feel safe buying Chinese food products after this?

Chinese justice, known to be fast and severe, can mean a bullet shot point blank through the medulla oblongata.

Putting the Chinese experience in proper perspective, why shouldn’t the heads of those financial institutions in the US that dragged the world into the current financial meltdown also be meted a similar penalty? US justice may be less severe compared to Chinese justice but shouldn’t those heads of financial institutions that recklessly plunged into sub-prime be charged for negligence and also for economic sabotage?

The Chinese experience with lethal milk and the US experience with the financial meltdown are the products of unbridled capitalism. Unbridled capitalism promotes unbridled greed.

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