December 21st, 2007
07:42 PM ET
14 years ago

China blasts Obama call for toy ban

Obama is taking heat from China.

(CNN) – Angry Chinese officials are taking aim at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over his statement that he would “stop the import of all toys from China.”

The Illinois senator’s remarks, which came at an Iowa campaign stop Wednesday, were “unobjective, unreasonable and unfair,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a Thursday briefing. “Imagine if the quality of American products was not 100 percent up to standard. Could we take that as a reason to totally ban U.S. products?”

Members of Congress have demanded stricter enforcement of U.S. imports of Chinese goods over the past year following several recalls of potentially dangerous products, including toys tainted with lead. But Obama’s comments are the harshest to date from a major presidential candidate.

This is not the first time Obama has drawn criticism from foreign officials. Shortly after the senator officially entered the presidential race, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard slammed him over his opposition to the war in Iraq, and his calls to withdraw U.S. troops by spring 2008.

“I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilize and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory,” Howard said in an Australian television interview.

Obama immediately responded that he was flattered that one of President Bush’s closest allies "started attacking me the day after I announced - I take that as a compliment."

His campaign has not yet responded to the latest foreign attack.

– CNN’s Emily Sherman

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    Exactly! Obama’s already messing up big time. Egomaniac Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. Is he going to try to razzle dazzle the Foreign Minister of China with one of his hip speeches? Is he serious? Iowa, New Hampshire, go with Hillary. She wouldn’t put her foot in her mouth like Obama does.

    Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate, the most experienced candidate and she’s READY TO LEAD ON DAY ONE.

    December 21, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Anthony Watkins West Palm Beach, FL

    Just one more reason for me to support Obama!

    December 21, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. joe mass

    Another example that Obama has no clue abnout what it really takes to do the job. He has already offended allies and enemies alike. we have had enough of that over the last seven years. I was hoping for Edwards/Obama in 208, but after seeing more and more of this, I am leaning toward Edwards and Clinton in either order.

    Posted By Phil, Memphis, TN : December 21, 2007 3:07 pm

    the truth hurts, wake up if america bans toys from china dont you think that would creat more jobs back home? by the way how many recalls have we had so far?poison any one?yeah just because the chinese dont like it ,it donts mean he is inexperience.

    December 21, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Shannon, Manhattan Beach, CA

    There is a difference between 100% quality and lead poisoning...not to mention the roofies.

    Stop buying Chinese products or be the next "tradegy" on the news.

    December 21, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. John, Lubbock, TX

    Wow, people are oversimplifying Obama's comments and turning it into an inexperience charge. I'm not surprised. Obama can't even scenarioize or mention a hypothetical without everyone jumping down his throat. And since when did we care what the Chinese government or what John Howard says? The Chinese government EXECUTED the head of their FDA for this issue and they call Obama unreasonable? And now we're saying the Chinese government is the logical one here? And John Howard? John Howard is politically irrelevant now, just like Bush. People amaze me.

    December 21, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Kevin,FL

    This is another reason why Obama cant be president..he has no experience

    December 21, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. RuthieM

    Gee, why is the Chinese Foreign Minister taking the time out to blast Obama on this issue when so many others have already said these toys should be banned. What bullies! Why don't you pick on somebody your own size - like Hillary Clinton!

    December 21, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. RuthieM

    Oh, more...Look at all these ninnies playing into the hands of - the anti-Obamas, and Clinton. Obama is absolutely correct about this, what great judgment, what great leadership. These toys should be banned, at least until they get their act together and stop making toys with lead! I can't understand how they've been allowed to get here with this killer stuff anyhow.

    December 21, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Reggie, Germany

    All of you people jumping on Obama and say that this shows his inexperience are actually showing how dumb you are. This is the safty of children we are talking about. Toy products coming from China are know to contain dioxins, lead, and various other dangerous chemicals. children have already been seriously harmed by these products.

    The Japanese imposed a total ban on our beef a few years back based upon less and here you all are declaring Obama is inexperienced and has now idea how things are done in matters such as these.

    Well I tell you what, If it mean some child will have to suffer for some BS political game then I don't want business as usual. I want our children to be safe on christmas morning. All politicians should be screaming for the same action Obama is advocating and those of you making such comments against him need to have you heads examined!!!

    December 21, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. richard,pa

    So we posion our kids with lead and dodge the fact?

    December 21, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. cableguy,kansas

    Why not blast Bush!

    December 21, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. Reggie, Germany

    and before you knotheads try to defuse my point by attacking my spelling ..... EXCUSE THE TYPO'S

    December 21, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. anon New York, NY

    If you Clinton supporters are more concerned about China than the safety of American children, maybe you should move to China.

    December 21, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Dom

    Wasn't Howard booted out of office by his people for his stance on Iraq?

    December 21, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. AK

    This is exactly the type of stand U.S needs to take against dangerous Chinese exports. You can't export poisonous products to another country and China needs to know that U.S will not tolerate this. In response to Chinese Forign spokesman comment: “Imagine if the quality of American products was not 100 percent up to standard. Could we take that as a reason to totally ban U.S. products?”
    1) Obama is not saying he is going to ban all Chinese products and 2) yes if a U.S. product is poisoning your people you should stop it's import to your country. I am personally very impressed with Obama's judgement on all fronts.

    December 21, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Kate, Aurora CO

    Ummm...“unobjective, unreasonable and unfair,” ...would Quin Gang be talking about the thousands of pets who died or the hundreds of children poisoned? I personally made a point to NOT purchase anything made in China for my kids this year. I don't care if its a 1% error. Children still died. There is no excuse for making toys(!) that have poisons in them (lead, GHP, etc).

    December 21, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Vic Novosad

    Attention Sean Hannity and Chris Matthews - the golden, walk-on-water-boy has been tested for the first time on his international relations - and failed miserably. First with Australia, and now with China. Sounds like he's a direct descendant of the GWB administration in dealing with foreign governments. It's hard to believe this is the "change" he promises to bring to Washington.

    December 21, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. Gatsby, Newark, DE

    I've been waiting for someone to chide China over this...basically all of the politicians, except for Obama, have been afraid of accusing China over wrongdoing simply because they're our "ally" (I find it ironic that the US, the largest democracy in the world, would be such close allies with a totalinistic (sic), human-rights-ignoring, communist nation such as China)

    I agree 100% with an earlier comment by Ron from Texas...Lord only knows how long China has been sending products laced with paint and drugs and other horrible things to the US...when I was younger, half of my toys were made in makes me wonder how many of those toys had lead in them.

    December 21, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. EN, Chicago, IL

    To Ron from TX.

    Hands down it is protect our KIDS. But lets not get irrational about it. Lets be sensible & reasonable – and put right standards and random inspections in place. Chinese companies will bend over backwards to accomodate US business. If US businesses end up being lax, the Chinese manufacturers will end up lax times lax.

    Get real – every elected official while justifying for the trade agreements is batting for MORE for LESS to the American consumer. I have not seen a single guy come out and say RIGHT for RIGHT amount.

    Senator Obama's comments about Pakistan, ME & these remarks are evident he needs more time.

    December 21, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. texas, TEXAS

    Charge the American company $1,000.00 per item found to be tainted. The American companies will start to test the products before they leave China on the boat. This method doesn't cost the American taxpayer one cent!!!

    December 21, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Jason, Chicago, IL

    I've heard Biden say this many times in previous debates. "We need to STOP all imports of Chinese toys until they can be considered safe." Is Biden inexperienced?

    I actually don't think we should stop all toy imports from China, but I think calling Obama inexperienced for saying so is ridiculous.

    December 21, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. xtina chicago IL

    I can see both sides. We're bolstering the economy of China by getting all our crap– err– goods from there, but all it's getting us is more money to spend on cheap stuff. Yet, we have to keep an open mind about working within the global marketplace. I just wish I could get this image out of my mind that China is taking advantage of us. . .

    December 21, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. John G Charleston SC

    "What matters more? Appeasing China, or protecting OUR children?

    Posted By Ron, TX : December 21, 2007 3:20 pm "

    Well Ron, what actually matters is ensuring that the US imports high quality safe products while maintaining good relations with the other "superpowers" of the world. What we should be doing here is promoting safe manufacturing procedures in all nations we buy from and helping them improve their manufacturing infrastructure.

    December 21, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Eric, Carol Stream, IL

    I still don't understand how people are buying into this idea that Hillary has enough experience. To me, both she and Obama are the least experienced people on the ticket and they pale in comparison to people like Joe Biden, John McCain or Ron Paul. Just because you were First Lady for eight years and a Senator for a term or two means nothing. Should Mrs. Bush run for Senator in Texas and then be qualified for President? C'mon, people...

    December 21, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Jim, Irmo, SC

    He was simply stating his willingness to do this. The statement should be read in its entirety. This seems to be a reasonable assessment. If something is unsafe, we should be willing to say that it cannot be imported until adequate steps have been made to correct the problem. What is wrong with that?

    December 21, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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