Why Chinese goods might not find space in my home any more


Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 20, 2023. PHOTO | AFP

This week, as China’s President, Xi Jinping, slightly lounged in a seat before cameras in Russia, declaring in soft and warm terms his country’s strategic partnership with that aggressor nation, a key turned for me.

It moved to locked when he later termed ‘double standards’ the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin of Russia for the abduction of more than 6,000 Ukrainian children.

Right there, the space ended in my home for Chinese goods. For, if there is a second ‘standard’ on whether it’s OK to put children on buses to school holidays, waved off by their parents, and then, instead, move them to re-education camps, foreign foster homes, and never return them, then I cannot support that second ‘standard’.

Indeed, I had considered myself more of a friend than most, having visited twice as a tourist — walked the Great Wall, explored the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace and even visited Xufu to soak up the history surrounding China’s most famous scholar, Confucius – and once to teach at Beijing University, training Chinese journalists in world trade reporting after China joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

But, really, Xi’s increasingly peculiar tone about ‘America’ — as some item representing everything that isn’t China’s values — and his presentation as a great alternative value system, a leadership that is obliterating civilian apartment blocks as families sleep in them, is just too far for me.

I am not American, but I am one of the billions of consumers who China is now marking out as strategic enemies in constant reiterations rejecting our worth, values, laws, conventions, and courts.

So, will it matter, as I write this column on my Chuwi laptop (from China) beside my iPhone 11 (from China), in my home filled with sandals, kitchenware, chargers and appliances (from China) that I will not buy from China any more, as its, now, declared upholder of ‘wrong’ values?

Well, my own experience is that once I am so offended by the rhetoric and actions of a producer as to bypass its goods, then so are millions of others, and the sum becomes large.

My only plea, in this, is to Apple. For all else, I can hop straight from China to Japan, South Korea and India. But that iPhone? Apple has begun relocating production to India and Vietnam, but could it just go faster, please?

For some this iPhone 11 replacement, it’s an iPhone made outside China, or a Sony from Japan, for me: I am not supporting any ‘standard’ that condones those ‘disappeared’ children.