Chinese-style product liability reform
American injury victims who are denied compensation because their injuries were caused by defective Chinese products whose manufacturers are beyond U.S. authorities' jurisdiction, will be relieved to know that Chinese authorities are actively pursuing reform. On July 10, China announced that it had executed its former top food and drug regulator, Zheng Xiaoyu, who had been sentenced to die on May 29. Some forms of Chinese justice are apparently more "efficient" than others. Chinese officials did not explain how the sentence was carried out, however, the norm in China--which executes more people than the rest of the world combined--is a pistol shot to the back of the head.
China is the world's largest exporter of consumer products and "as a developing country, [its] current food and drug safety situation is not very satisfactory" according to China's own deputy policy director of the State Food and Drug Administration. No wonder. The 7/11/07 New York Times reports that China has about 200 million small farms and 450,000 food processing companies (most of which have fewer than ten employees). China hopes to see significant progress in regulation by 2010. It makes no promises about reforms that would allow compensation of victims. Victims will need to focus on retributive justice, instead.
Is the shrinking, flattening world going to change our values as well as our purchasing habits?