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. Lee Lee, Los Angeles, CA

    Obama will be as bad as GW Bush on foreign relations if elected. Mark my words.

    December 21, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Moe, NY

    I am not an Obama supporter, but I must admit I certainly do agree with his take on China. China (with the help of Corporate America) is poisoning OUR CHILDREN in the name of the almighty dollar. Still, parents are out there buying these comtaminated toys...(UNBELIEVEABLE!)instead of boycotting these items. Parents..wake not look to Corporate America, government, etc. to tell you a toy is being recalled...remember their bottom line is money. Your children can live without toys, but may die with choose!

    December 21, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. JACK, NY, NY

    hey that is obama's foreign experince. GUy can't even handle toy problem forget about dealing with iraq or iran

    December 21, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Nita, Killeen, TX

    Finally, a leader with some backbone. Now if only they would recognize the waste of time and money our role in the United Nations is, we might be able to really look out for America's interests.

    December 21, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. jf, clinton, iowa

    Other than lacking foreign relation experienec, Obama is simply intellectual lazy in banning ALL the Chinese toys import.

    Another example of his intellectual laziness is when he said a few weeks ago that he deserved raising taxes. A smart politician would promise to lower the taxes of voters.

    China is not entirely at fault; most american importers, and american manufacturers who offshored the former american manufacturing to china to get cheaper labour, lower taxes, lenient health/labor/environmenttal standards. The companies could have raised better quality product standard or better quality control. They could be help responsible.

    USA is important over 80% of its toys from China, and obama wants to stop this importation? Just think of the impact to toy prices, to screaming babies and frustrating parents!

    NObama 08!

    December 21, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Vic Las Vegas, Nevada

    At the very least, Barak Obama should spend a full term or two in the Senate to gain some 'real world of politics' experience.

    His experience is as an achedemic and state legislator. That's good but not good enough to qualify him as leader of the free world.

    Take a look at Candolezza Rice's record of achievements and tell me about qualifications.
    She has done NOTHING in terms of International diplomacy, NOTHING!

    She had the credentials (so we were told), but no political experience. Look where that got us, either no diplomacy or very bad diplomacy, that's where.

    This is a critical time in our history. It is not a time for on the job training.

    Every one of the other Democratic candidates has more experience than Obama.

    I don't want to gamble on this election then end up wishing I had voted for experience over idology.

    After all, George W Bush was/is an idealogue and you see where that got us.

    December 21, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Doug, GA

    The only problem with Obama's statement is that he did not say 'let's stop ALL imports from communist China'

    December 21, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Major Man, Petersburg, VA

    Once again, Sen. Obama is ahead of "Washington D.C. convential wisdom." Australian PM John Howard was recently voted out of office!!!

    BARACK OBAMA on John Howard's comments (Feb. 07): "I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now, and my understanding is that Mr Howard has deployed 1,400.

    So, if he's [up] to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq."

    Not sure why CNN is running this old news and trying to insult Sen. Obama's foreign policy skills.

    OBAMA '08!

    December 21, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    That's it. Obama wins. How could he have imagined such a great battleground - outsourced jobs, poison, and child safety vs. –oops– there is no down side. Chinese officials should receive their own personalized thank you card from the Obamas this Christmas.

    December 21, 2007 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Zach, Chicago, IL

    You know whether or not Senator Obama actually met stopping all toy imports from China, he brings up a good point and brings to light a horrible situation going on in China. I for one would encourage a ban like this, not only would it save our children's health, but it would also create jobs for the U.S. We need more people like Senator Obama that will stand up and say what is right and not back down in the face of criticism.

    December 21, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Zack Burlington

    When Obama said he would meet with Iran, they quickly said he was naive and irresponsible. But now, it seems even Rudy agrees with it. That's called leadership. Obama never asked to ban Chinese toys, you need to consider the context and the framing of the question. Don't just come CNN to make unreasonable claims. Isn't this what Lou Dobbs is fighting for? Where are all of you when Dobbs conducts his daily viewers polls to complain?

    December 21, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Walt, Belton, TX

    ANSWER: Obama, Romney and Huckabee.

    ALEX'S QUESTION: What makes three doofuses?

    December 21, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Ryan, Los Angeles CA

    Great, so Obama wants to stop the war in Iraq and start one with China instead... real classy.

    Hillary '08

    December 21, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. Steve, Lyons, CO

    I'm not sure why my posts aren't making it, but I'll try again:

    China has ZERO right to sell toys made with lead. Period. No discussion needed.
    Only the heartless and the ignorant would put something as dangerous as lead into kids' toys in the first place.

    Until they wise up, the hell with them. Obama is dead accurate.

    Prime Minister Howard should shut his mouth and quit protecting his good buddy and criminal president Bush.

    Iraq IS in chaos already. It's already destabilized. Its Constitution, allowed by President Worst. Ever., contains in itself the declaration that Islam, not the Constitution, is the ultimate authority in Iraq.

    Despite what Bush, McCain, Howard and other right-wingers say, our children's health is FAR more important than worrying about whether China, a country that knows not civil rights, is miffed because we don't want poisonous toys in this country.

    December 21, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. xtina chicago IL

    nothing personal in singling out Ellis at Brown Univ's post, but it's a perfect example of how Democrats are not focused on accomplishments but on vague promises for the future.

    After reading your post I think how vague it is, and how vague Hillary and Obama are when discussing their own qualifications.

    What has Obama specifically done that required decision-making in the area of foreign policy? What has Hillary accomplished that shows leadership in the same area? Please be specific.

    (Didn't Obama decline the vote on Iran? This shows cowardice to me, and worse, manipulation – for he wants to remain a blank slate so that he won't lose support)

    December 21, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. Mike West Palm Beach

    I agree with Obama...I'm a republican, but on the matter of public safety, we need to make the chinese pay for their irresponsible products, and lax regulations.

    December 21, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Tim, Seattle

    Dont think you will find many people to agree with the Chinese perspective on this. You go, Barack!
    If they dont want threats to their livlihood, then they should make safe products. Period.
    MAybe the American companies who are shirking their quality oversight should be fined too......Or maybe we should have a Chinese 'Toy PArty' and dump their products in a waste heap and 'return to sender' with a heavy 'restocking' fee.
    So tell me all you 'Outsourcing is good' are you liking outsourcing now?
    Doesn't it suck when they can get away with this overseas (precisely why companies do it)while buying up American companies and property at the same time?
    Outsourcing our manufacturing to China is a cancer on America and its workers.
    Think about that the next time you buy a 'MAde in China' labeled product. Because the money made on it ends up back in China, not here.

    December 21, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    When did China become an "international ally" of ours?

    Besides shamelessly oppressing their own citizens to the breaking point, I think its safe to say they haven't exactly had our back in recent times.

    December 21, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. jean, brooklyn, ny

    It was irresponsible to say that. But I forgive the statements. I think it was taken out of context. The relationship with China is complex and to even think about unraveling it would be unrealistic. But the statement should make China take their exporting more seriously and crack down on companies in China to make safer products. It is very difficult for families to sue Chinese companies but the political pressure should bring on the outcome that we all want, which is safer toys for our children

    December 21, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  20. JB Boston MA

    Good!!! Take a stand. They are knowingly sending us stuff that is dangerous.

    December 21, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. Al, NYC, NY

    Let's trust our communist friends to know what's right instead of a Senator from our own country. I don't often agree with Obama, but kudos to him on this one.

    December 21, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Richard, Norman, OK

    I get it. We can't have toys from China cause their too cheap (any idea how many toys are made in China?). We can't drive cars because they pollute. We can't go to war to protect ourselves. We need more taxes to pay for more social programs. Boy, Obama as President doesn't sound like much fun...

    December 21, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. Christian, Chapel Hill, NC

    I think Obama is a great man personally, but does that mean he has earned the right to be President? Give it 10 to 20 years and he could be, not now. Not what our nation needs. Best of luck in the Primaries anyway Obama.

    December 21, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. fergusmom

    It's not only china that has so many imports into the US. If you go to Wal-Mart and look at the labels on any of the clothing, you will never find any that say "Made in the USA" I have found labels from, so many other countries including, Lebanon, Israel, Mexico, Eithiopia, just to name a few.. It's sad to see that very little of our products in the stores are actually from this country..

    December 21, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. Tim,Minnesota

    Obamma doesn't want kids to have toys?

    Oh man, poor kids, i guess they can watch T.V.

    December 21, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
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