Break the Chain Anyone for Tea?

Exclusive (4/13/2001) In a great disservice to our forefathers and any truly patriotic soul, this call for a boycott of Chinese-produced goods until the crew of the Navy spy plane that recently crash landed in that country is released compares such an action to the Boston Tea Party.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Subject: Think About It

Time for a Chinese Tea Party

In 1775 a band of American Colonists, disguised as Indians, tossed a load of British tea in the Boston harbor and America became a coffee drinking country.

As Communists China is violating international law and illegally detaining 24 US Military personnel it occurs to me that it is high time is right to teach the Chinese Communists the capitalist golden rule: "He who has the gold, makes the rules".

The American consumer has the gold, and the Chinese have tons of goods for sale on our retailers shelves. Probably so many goods, that it is not possible to boycott all Chinese goods cold turkey. 95% of all toys on the American market come from China! 95%!! They import guns that are sold to gansters! They flood the steel markets. Now look on every item you buy and be amazed and dis-mayed at how many have CHINA on them! We have lost control of our import markets!

That is not an insurmountable problem. If you absolutely need it and there is not a viable alternative - buy it.

However, if the item is luxury or a deferrable purchase - leave it on the shelf. If this boycott of Chinese goods is successful, two things will happen: 1) After our military personnel are released, there will be one hell of a sale. 2) Retailers having learned of the danger of their profits being held hostage to a international political situation, will diversify their suppliers and provide goods from alternative non Chinese sources.

I don't normally get involved in chain letters, however in this case, I am making an exception. I am sending 10 copies of this email. If everyone who in turn receives it did likewise, by the 8th generation, we would have sent this message 1 billion times. Who knows, we might even inspire a world wide consumer revolt against Chinese goods.

As JFK said, "Ask not what your country can do for you - but what you can do for your country." Stand up and be counted - pass along this email and Boycott China Now and join the Chinese Tea Party.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

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This is a beautiful example of Armchair Activism. Boycott everything chinese - except for the stuff you really need, like toys. It's a testimonial of how soft we've gotten in the U.S. that we want to create some socio-political action, but not if that means that Junior won't be able to complete his Pokemon collection.

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If you absolutely need something, you are much more of a patriot if you give it up for the common good. Comparing this lazy, half-hearted stinker of an idea with one of the most pivotal events in U.S. history is offensive to all Americans.

It's amazing how many chain letters are created and propagated by people who "don't normally get involved in chain letters." The author of this gem obviously did little to no research and the information he or she provides is either blind opinion, absolute ignorance, or just plain wrong:

  • The Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16, 1773, not 1775 as the letter claims. It was an act of rebellion against an oppressive government - a noble cause. The actions this letter proposes are selfishly motivated and childish - Give us back our G.I. Joes, or we won't play with you any more, then you'll be sorry!

  • If you're familiar with the party game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," you'll see the error in the author believing that somehow he or she can be connected to any of 1 billion people in the world in only 8 steps.

  • More about numbers - 95% percent of all toys are made in China? Where does that number come from? It's definitely questionable. Besides, just because a product is manufactured in China, that doesn't mean the money from its sale goes to a Chinese company. There are many American companies that have production facilities in China.

  • Where's the evidence that the chinese government exports (not "import," as the letter says - that would mean they buy them from us) guns for sale to gangsters in America or are flooding our steel markets (whatever that's supposed to mean)?

  • An effective boycott is total and specific. It would tell you exactly what you can and cannot buy and would identify manufacturers and companies that produce their goods in the country you're boycotting. This one tells you to check if something is made in China. Not a very effective targeting method. Plus, boycotts usually have a well-defined goal. This one simply suggests that we could possibly see some great sales - hardly a worthy political goal.

Finally, the most obvious reason to break this chain is that the American spy plane crew was released and returned to the U.S. on April 11 (coincidentally, the same day I received it).

What Do You Think?

Category: Armchair Activism
References: None

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