The story about Mattel’s factories in China has been floating around China news and blogs almost as much as the cardboard-filled baozi.
I first heard of it when my dad sent me a link to this New York Times article, about Mattel’s Chinese factories being the “gold standard” for toys and quality control. If you don’t want to register for NYT Online, the blurb for this article is: Concerns about product safety and workplace conditions have driven the toy-maker Mattel to become a role model for how to do business prudently in China.
I was pleased and surprised to see a positive case study of China factories, and besides, who doesn’t love Barbie?
Then Imagethief said something along that lines of “I hope that doesn’t come back to bite Mattel,” as Mattel announced a massive product recall because Dora and friends have a little too much lead paint. (Just a side note, has anyone else noticed that Dora and Explorer don’t rhyme?)
It’s bad news for Mattel and fans of Elmo, but it’s just one of the many made-in-China issues popping up in the news recently. Tainted food, knockoff namebrands, dangerous toys, clothing with straps that don’t survive one encounter with a drunken maid-of-honor who just loves us bridesmaids SO MUCH!!! (hic!) Ok, maybe that one’s just me.
In Xinhua’s article, Vice Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said “some foreign media reports told of Chinese boys as young as six growing moustaches and girls aged seven growing breasts after eating hormone-tainted food.” He’s talking about the recent tainted-food scandals, not the unsafe-toys scandals, but believes that “some [foreign]media fabricated safety problems in campaigns to block imports of Chinese goods, which he described as de facto trade protectionism.”
That seemed like a weird spin, but today I saw China Daily’s article on the same thing. It begins:
Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys – including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters – because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.
The recall announced yesterday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys sold in the United States between May and August.
The article goes on, but one thing is suspiciously missing. There’s no mention of these products being made in China.