The China Story, Warts And All
"How you can win in China" (Cover Story: Information Technology Annual Report, May 26), didn't say a word about labor or environmental problems in that country, stressing only the business point of view, as most (or all) companies do. So I agreed with Paul Magnusson ("Labor and the environment are free-trade issues," Commentary, June 2) when he said that governments must "establish standards of acceptable behavior and enforcement measures" on such issues as "labor and environmental protection in future trade deals to level the playing field."
His comments also focus on trade negotiations with Latin American countries, stating that they're "eager to sign free-trade pacts with the U.S." This is not completely true: In a recent meeting of Free Trade Area of the Americas held in Brazil, Latin American nations rejected the U.S. schedule for ending trade barriers in the region soon. The focus should be on all countries, and primarily on countries such as China, because of its enormous weight in international trade and its slave labor conditions, where there is a tacit consensus among the Communist Party leaders that, as Foreign Affairs recently put it, "workers must be sacrificial lambs for the nation's economic advancement."
Lus Henrique Oliveira
As a long-term reader of newsmagazines and a former short-term resident of China, I have come to expect bias and glib journalistic cliches (such as "Beijing's heavy hand," implying that Beijing is bad) in English-language reporting of the country.
Your story was pretty fair--as the genre goes. That in spite of the fact that the story, as far as I could note, did not contain one quote from a Chinese source.