Evil Tobacco in Big China

March 30, 2010

Cigarettes are evil.  The person smoking the cigarette may not be evil but the pain and suffering that cigarettes cause is. I watched a father-in-law, a neighbor, an aunt and my father die from the ravages from tobacco.  The last few years of my father’s life, he wore a breathing mask attached to a tank of oxygen.  His freedom was limited to the fifty-foot hose connected to that tank.

Smoking Kills

Margie Mason (Associated Press) wrote about smoking and listed some frightening statistics.

  • Thirty percent of the world’s smokers are in China.
  • In the next 15 years, an estimated 2 million will die from it.
  • The largest tobacco grower in the world is in China.
  • Heart disease, linked to smoking, is already killing a million a year.
  • China has more cases of diabetes than any country.

Dr. Judith Mackay said, “You have to price them (cigarettes) out of the hands and pockets and the mouths of children.”

Hong Kong may be showing the rest of the mainland how to cut back on tobacco use by putting high taxes on cigarettes as we have done in America. The Chinese government may be watching and hoping that this cycle of doom can be slowed.

Learn more from Smoking Gun


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Not All Factories in China are Sweat Shops

March 5, 2010

Originally Published at Speak Without Interruption on February 15, 2010 by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption. Posted on iLook China, 3/5/10 at 08:00

As I write about my personal experiences in China, I again want to note that they are strictly that—my “personal” experiences.  I am certain there are people, who have visited China who could contradict everything that I have, or will write.  The products I imported perhaps did not lend themselves to the typical “Sweat Shop” stereotype in terms of the factories that produced them.

However, I never saw or visited any factory that, in my mind, would fit that definition.

If the factories were not what I would call “modern”—they were certainly clean.  The employees (factory workers) wore uniforms at most places I visited.  They seemed proficient in their work and the products produced, and for the most part, were without quality problems—certainly no different from products produced in other countries.

There are more photos at Speak Without Interruption

Most of the factories tended to be in Industrial Parks that were quite large.  Usually, the factories were a “small city” into themselves.  There was housing provided for the employees on the factory grounds along with areas for recreation.  I don’t suppose there was another way of doing it, but I saw a lot of laundry hanging from outside the housing units plus commercial apartments buildings I saw throughout China.

Most factories had certifications that were either the same or similar to those held by US factories.  I saw elaborate R&D sections in most of the factories I visited.  The office space was usually as modern and pleasant as any I had visited in the US.

A ritual that I truly enjoyed was at every meeting when hot tea was served. Sometimes the owner or general manager had tea to make in their office and other times it was brought in.  However, I can’t recall a meeting where tea was not offered.

Being a non-smoker, another ritual I did not enjoy was in almost every meeting I attending most of the parties present smoked.  I heard a figure once that 85% of Chinese men smoked. I can attest that this is probably a good estimate.  Once inside the office or meeting room, the smoke became quite thick and uncomfortable for me; however, I was their guest and felt I could put up with the discomfort in the course of conducting my business affairs.

I have fond memories of my factory visits and discussions. I think the fact that I came to China, and met with the factory personnel aided my business immensely versus doing business in name only.

If you enjoy this piece by Bob Grant, you may want to read “A Contradiction of Times” at http://wp.me/pN4pY-bT


Attitudes Toward Health in China

February 28, 2010

The focus in China is on prevention—meaning to plan your lifestyle around healthy habits. That’s why early in the morning you may find many older Chinese outside exercising using the graceful, poetic movements of Tai Chi to insure health and longevity.  

Meanwhile, behavior shows the old attitudes toward preventative health eroding. More than three hundred million Chinese smoke American cigarettes and obesity is a growing epidemic in China as it is in the United States.

Shanghai McDonald's

How could obesity not be a problem since the Chinese are having a love affair with American fast food? China loves most things American. McDonalds and Domino’s Pizza are considered gourmet restaurants and can easily be found in China’s cities.

Learn about Doing Business in China


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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