Made in China

Why does the U. S. continue doing business with China—a country that openly persecutes Christians? Well, I may have discovered the answer when I went shopping recently. Several months ago, I quietly decided to do my own part—to buy no Chinese-made products. I am not going to give my money to a country which is beating and killing my brothers and sisters in Christ, burning churches, and throwing pastors into prison. Now, I know those tyrants in Beijing aren’t lying awake nights worrying about Chuck Colson’s personal boycott. But at least I don’t have to keep asking God to forgive me for lining the pockets of people who persecute Christians. My commitment was put to the test a few weeks ago when my hand-held calculator broke. So did my cordless telephone. I headed to the appliance store to replace them. At the store I found three calculators, made by three different companies. I flipped over the first model to find out where it came from. The embossed print on the back read: "Made in China." I immediately put it back. I picked up the second calculator and turned it over. "Made in China." I picked up the third one. "Made in China." I got back in my car and headed for another store, but it was the same story there. Three hand-held calculators, all made in China. "However," a clerk said brightly, "we do have this." He lugged out a large desk calculator—one that was not made in China. It cost $15 more than the hand-held models and would take up a lot of room on my desk. I grit my teeth and put the monster into my shopping cart. I then began searching for a telephone. Lo and behold, I found just the model I wanted—a brand that the clerk assured me was made in Japan. It was even on sale—$20 off. But when I took the phone home and began assembling it, I found those tiny letters I’d begun to dread: "Made in China." Back to the store I went. I finally found the only phone in the store not made in China: I’d never heard of the brand, but I tossed it into my shopping cart anyway. As I paid for my purchases, I made a point of explaining my convictions to the sales clerk. He gave me a strange look, as if I were some eccentric. "Everything’s made in China," he said with a shrug. Now I understand why President Clinton won’t crack down on the Chinese. If the president imposed trade sanctions, there would be absolute chaos in our stores. People couldn’t get the phones of their choice—or the clothes, toys, calculators, and many other items. Inflation would skyrocket because we’d have such a shortage of products. The Chinese understand this—and that’s why they’re not afraid to go right on persecuting Christians. They know our leaders will do nothing but bluster; no one wants to be inconvenienced. But if you and I care about the suffering church, we must make our leaders care. According to the London Observer, China has tightened its repression since President Clinton broke the link between human rights and trade with China. Congress will soon vote on renewing China’s Most Favored Nation trade status. They have a $50 billion trade surplus with us. Tell your representatives that bluster is no longer enough. We ought not to give special trade concessions to a country that persecutes our brothers and sisters in Christ. And look at where that product is made the next time you go shopping.


Chuck Colson


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