Time for Some Selective Scroogery

Written by Sarah MacMaster

For the first time ever, I have decided to make a New Year's resolution. It is not to quit biting my nails (because that's a lost cause), and it's not to diet and exercise (why mess with perfection?). No, it's nothing that simple. I've set the bar so high that I really have some serious doubts about my ability to reach it. Starting immediately – and for the duration of 2011 – I am not going to buy anything marked "Made in China". Isn't it funny how such simple thing can become a full-on political statement?

You can appreciate the difficulty of this undertaking. If you think about it, it seems that everything we use these days comes from the great People's Republic: hairbrushes, clothes, jewelry, cameras, tools and foodstuffs. Why, even my local grocery store has no shortage of Chinese products; everything from garlic to canned meats and fish, fruits and chocolate milk.

Now I'd like to say that I was doing this for patriotic reasons: the serious decline in our manufacturing sector due to unfair foreign competition, or solidarity with my CAW brothers and sisters who toil (toiled) on capitalist assembly lines for mere pittances. But it's none of that. And it has nothing to do with the recall of many Chinese products due to toxic levels of lead, or that the fish weigh scales that I bought for my dad were seriously inaccurate.

Supporting Canadian businesses is a worthwhile cause, but my reason for choosing to no longer purchase products made in China has far more to do with the moral factors surrounding the issue than the economic/patriotic arguments. The way I see it is quite simple: China is a regime that whose policies are so repugnant, that no one raised with Judeo-Christian values should give it any kind of support.

China is one of the world's leading human rights abusers. Pro-democracy protestors are beaten, jailed and executed; freedom of religion is just a joke; China decrees how many children a couple can have (and sanctions the inevitable consequences: the aborting of female babies); and all the other freedoms we take for granted – the rights to do what we want, where we want, with whomever we want – are prescribed and proscribed from womb to tomb.

I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that none of this is really new to me. I should have started my anti-China crusade (can I still use that word?) years ago. But, like most of my fellow Canadians, I had become a bit too good at ignoring the troubling signs; cost, convenience and comfort trumped ethics hand after hand. It might have gone on forever were it not for recent events on the international stage.

I had already started slowly weaning out Chinese products from my life, but it was China's steadfast refusal to take any meaningful action against the dangerous criminals in control of North Korea and Iran that forced me to admit that I could no longer support a nation that was making my world a much more dangerous place. When I dissected and analyzed its stance, I could arrive at only one inescapable conclusion: China would far rather ally itself with the world's darkest tyrants than the forces of freedom and light. And here I was, buying products from a totalitarian, communist dictatorship that has one goal in mind: to exploit me and my culture to the fullest extent while agitating the forces committed to the destruction of everything we hold dear.

And as history has shown me well, (Europe in the thirties comes to mind) if I waited around and relied on our governments to take meaningful action, well, let's just say that there would be a greater likelihood that the Maple Leafs would take home The Cup before I die.

My dad has always preached that the maintenance of a truly effective Democracy requires continual input. It isn't sufficient to mark your "X", then walk away and leave the fire unattended for four years. And though he refers to input as it relates to the preservation of democracy on an internal or national level, I think applying his formula to international issues that pose a threat to our freedoms and security should pretty well ensure that our western way of life, with all its liberties and benefits that we too often take for granted, might be around for a few more generations.

So this year I'm giving the people I love and the Country that means so much to me the best gift possible: not one more dollar of mine will go to China. Wish me luck.

Merry Christmas !

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