Thursday, April 01, 2004

RETORT TO WaPo


Surprise, the WaPo didn't run my letter to the editor lambasting Robert Samuelson's abysmal apologia for China's human rights record. So I'll run it here instead:

To the Editor:

Robert Samuelson belittles the plight of Chinese citizens suffering human rights violations (“China: The New America?” March 31).

The working conditions of late-19th century American industrialization provide no excuse for human rights violations in this day and age. Samuelson’s reference, as such, merely obscures the full extent of labor abuses in China’s export economy—including forced prison labor prohibited by WTO rules.

According to the State Department, China imprisons without judicial review more than 250,000 “dissidents” (i.e. activists for religious freedom, democratic reform, women’s rights, etc.) in “re-education-through-labor” camps. There, inmates are contracted to private enterprise or forced to work in prison-owned factories. Due to China’s continued non-cooperation, the United States is unable to ensure products of prison labor do not wind up on shelves in American stores.

The AFL-CIO is right to speak up for Chinese workers and workers everywhere who have little voice of their own. For whom does Robert Samuelson speak?

Sincerely,

Globalize This!

HA! Take that, Washington Post.

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