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A Strategic Approach to Boycott Human Rights Violations?

A Strategic Approach to Boycott Human Rights Violations?
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As I talk with friends who are conscious about the origin of their purchases, I find the same dilemma, “We don’t want to support China, but so many of the goods we need originate from there.”

What can I answer? I’m typing this on my Mac, which was designed in America, yet assembled in China. Luckily, larger media outlets such as Diane Sawyer’s World News (ABC) are asking the same questions.

While motivations may vary — some I know want American jobs back in America, others may be of an Occupy mindset, and still others may despise passing money over to benefit communist regimes. I personally, can not stand financially supporting the prison labor of laogai, the rape of Tibet, and the extreme violations of women’s rights via China’s One Child Policy (OCP).

The OCP continues to gain attention from US press and legislators. MSNBC’s Brian Williams recently reported on the US being the new destination of choice for affluent Chinese women to have their babies:

“The United States has become a favorite birth destination for affluent Chinese women who want to have more children but avoid fines and scrutiny by their government. The American born babies are automatically granted citizenship by U.S. law and the parents plan to maintain that status for their children. Once back in China, they never register their babies as Chinese citizens, enabling them to continue to stay off the radar of government officials.”

Legislation was proposed earlier this year by Congressman Chris Smith (H.R. 2121, the China Democracy Promotion Act of 2011“) that would allow the US to “deny visas to to certain Chinese nationals in the government who promote human rights abuses …This legislation will send a message that abuses by these officials that go unchecked within China will not be ignored by the international community.” Over half of the judiciary statement addresses the OCP as a basis for the Bill.

So the question still remains: the media is addressing the issue, legislature is addressing the issue, as are numerous human rights groups. Yet, we still feel it is hard to find alternatives.

When I did marketing, many moons ago, I was always forced to look at the money trail. Communist, Capitalist — it doesn’t matter, so many general actions are based on consumer transactions. It was that same marketing thought process that led me to another realization: brand building and advertising of years ago does not exist as it does today. What used to be a one way street — of MadMen selling to us in magazines, on radio and on TV has been changed into a two-way street. Brands and retailers clamor to be where there customers are.

Walmart for example, has over 11 million fans on Facebook, Target is just shy of 8 million. And while they post away incessantly about sales, they have introduced a new phenomenon, content moderators. PR Agencies and corporations alike are scooping up content developers and ‘social media wizards’ to help them generate the most ‘conversations’, ‘likes’, and ‘shares’ in the virtual world.

With that encouraged conversation, there comes the two-way street. Gone are the days of sending letters to an invisible ‘customer service agent’ who may just sweep an angry customer letter under the rug, or avoid bringing it up in a weekly meeting.

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59 comments

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8:23AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

very good article.
In cases where it's relevant,
asking where it's made can really make a difference.

1:55PM PST on Jan 11, 2012

I always check country before I buy and hard goods, and at times frozen foods. For example some major former US brands OMIT the country of origin...Cuisinart for example is now made in China

10:48PM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Complicated issue, but I applaud the author for diligently doing her work, keeping after Walmart for answers.

11:55AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Good article, difficult problem.

10:48AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

It's too bad that we don't make anything in the U.S. anymore. So asking "where is it made" means NOTHING anymore.

10:22AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

stop fake cheap chinese goods on this site!

Shame on you care 2 for allowing it.

YOU CAN STOP IT IF YOU WANTED TOO!

3:33AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

A GREAT ARTICLE

9:39PM PST on Jan 7, 2012

This issue is a bit more complicated than simply upturning items in the store to read the origin label, and in many cases like some food items there is no indication at all that orange, apple or whatever might have had more time in the air flying coach this year than you.

Part of the problem with buying products is the same problem that afflicts our government and just about everything else, and that is that we let corporations get so big that they blot out choice be it in the stores or in the halls of congress.

Even the size of the stores reduces our options. When it was the mom-n-pop store down on main street , eve local cottage industries could get in on the game , giving one more choice, but with huge often multi-national stores , all other options are pushed out as the choices are made in some office that is neither in your town,county,state and at times not even in your country.

No plan by the GOP, DNC or anyone else in any manner includes reeling in the bullies of business to give local products and local entrepreneurs a reasonable chance. It's certainly not "impossible" to break out , but winning the lottery is not impossible either , just highly unlikely

Part of that American dream is to be able to work hard , play fair , and get ahead. It's a little hard to follow that path when the opposition owns the bat , ball, playing field and umpire.

10:00AM PST on Jan 7, 2012

Its ridiculous! Its so hard to find American made goods in America. Everywhere you look its " Made in China." I understand that its cheaper and that its everywhere, but we're sinking our own boat here people!

6:19AM PST on Jan 7, 2012

CARE 2 STOP CHEAP FAKE GOODS ON YOUR SITE!

AND YOU WILL HELP AMERICA!

BUT CARE 2 CANT BE BOTHER TO APPLY THEIR OWN RULES!!

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