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. Mike, Nj

    Obama is missing the big picture. Lead tainted toys are an issue, however parents can spend a bit more time to find thier kids toys made in other countries by factories with respectable management. On the other hand, tainted food and pharma imports from China will kill us. Our politicians need to pass regulations that require product labels with the country of origin for all ingredients in processed food and drugs. This allows the buyer to beware! Our multinationals will hedge saying that it is too expensive...and then they will point the finger at China and our government's lack of product safety inspections when the products they marketed to us cause sickness and death. (Remember the wheat glutin that killed our pets). It's time for the candidates to put serious thought into our free trade policies and let us know how to fix the quality of imports and the loss of jobs – not off-the-cuff reactions to the latest category of products that were recalled.

    December 21, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  2. Lloyd DeMoss, Arcadia, Iowa

    Great Play, don't worry about the lead based paint exposed low income children. What ever is playing in Chicago???? This is not our next president.

    December 21, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. Josephine D. Thiel, Carlyle, Illinois

    Thank goodness that someone came out and told China to stop sending us there terrible "toys". I don't care how many companys who make these terrible products for our children are upset. GOOD. We are not buying anything that is made in China for Christmas this year....You can do the same, save our country, save someone's job here in America. Write to these companys and tell them your not going to buy their inferior products anymore. Don't buy seafood from China. Finally Barrack Obama said something we like...good for him.

    December 21, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  4. Kate, San Francisco, CA

    All these comments about how 'ignorant' or 'inexperienced' Obama is just shows how much people REALLY care about their CHILDREN.
    Someone needs to protect the children of America, which often get left behind in all of our political issues,
    I guess fighting 'terrorism' is much more important than the life of our kids, right?
    Just for this,,,Obama has showed me he has courage and he will make a much better America. Hillary? No way. I'd rather have another four years of Bush! and that says ALOT!

    BARACK OBAMA 2008!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. Don Longmont, CO

    Who cares what the Chinese government thinks. They look at us as a revenue source nothing else. Until we demand that our government and the "CONSUMER" protection agency do its JOB, China will send us anything they can make a profit on. Someone needs to stand up for the AMERICAN people and demand that we only receive safe products if we do have to import them.

    Let elect someone who will look out for the American people not the corporations who only look at their bottom lines in making decisions.

    Look for a candidate who will look out for the wellfare of the AMERICAN people, not the corportations.

    December 21, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Katie, San Diego

    Inexperienced? Good for Obama, stand up for something and stick to it. It's about time somebody looks out for the American Consumer.

    December 21, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. Brian Tampa, FL

    I thought Democrats were going to make the rest of the world "love us again". Not so easy when what you say counts and matters. By the way I agree with him, shut them down and send a statement!

    December 21, 2007 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. Anna, New York, New York

    It's the Chinese Clinton donors coming to Hillary's aid once again through trashing Obama.

    This is somehow surprising to people?

    by: Earl, Ohio

    Acutally, I'm really surprised that this comment got greenlit, seeing as its blatantly ignorant and offensive. Earl really thinks those nefarious Chinese donors are shaking hands with Clinton behind closed doors and promising to throw in a bash at Obama sometime? Does Earl also wear a tinfoil hat and live in a bunker with an unlimited supply of canned beans?

    Some of these comments are bordering on being simply anti-Chinese (as a people), instead of anti-China (as a government). What a fine line, and people seem to enjoy crossing it.

    December 21, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  9. Sam I Am, NY

    Why is he attacking China? Perhaps he should be attacking the American Companies that are taking jobs away from American Citizens so that the CEOs of these companies can fatten their packets. So if China is prevented from shipping toys to the US, will the Thomas the Tank Engine train be stamped with "Made in the USA". For some reason I don't think that will occur. American companies will simply find another country to exploit.

    December 21, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  10. j michael, pleasant hill mo

    i love obamas comment, i dont think that the USA should trade with any communist country. communist will not use the money to better life for its people a communist only builds a bigger military. thank God some one has the courage to speak up. save us all from communsim, dont trade with them.

    December 21, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  11. steve, queensbury, ny

    i sincerely hoped that obama's quote is incorrect. it shows lack of experience in politics, economics, sicial & other issues. we'll not be the biggest bully soon so we better learn to play nicely. what's the difference between bush's decision to invade iraq & obama's ban on chinese toy?

    December 21, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. Anderson, IL

    Standing up to China is something that needs to happen more often. They need to be held accountable for their poor quality products and poor human rights. American companies are building their industrial base and American consumers are buying products they manufacture. We deserve a president who won't roll over and sell our economy to them to fund an indefinite, ill-advised war. Hopefully this isn't empty rhetoric to draw the soccer mom vote.

    December 21, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    obama is an idiot and you know it.
    you don't say you stop all import,
    you can just pass new law or enforce it better to make toys more safe.
    he got big mouth just like bush and piss off everyone else.

    December 21, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  14. Yvette, Denver , Colorado

    I wouldn't mind if all toys were banned from China. I had to throw out a few of my son's favorite toys, and wonder about the rest of them because 99% of them are from China. But if they were banned – who would then make them and where, Obama??

    December 21, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  15. Wolf, St Paul, MN

    Sounds good, but fails to recognize that the majority of recalls of Chinese toys were due to design flaws created by the American toy companies. This solves nothing, but at best moves the production to another country with low cost labor and limited regulation and oversight by American companies.

    December 21, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  16. Rick, Wisconsin

    China has been waging an economic war against the US for the last 10 years, and they are winning big time. It's time we have a president that will stand up to them instead of kissing-up to them like Bush does and Clinton did.

    Obama stand up for America!

    December 21, 2007 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  17. joe, carlsbad, CA

    wow, i love that obama is willing to take a stand against those greedy son of guns in communist china
    way to go

    however, i'm still voting for ron paul.
    But if ron paul didn't exist i'd def vote for you.

    December 21, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  18. Gregory, NYC

    Um...the last time I checked this was America and the oath of office plainly states that President Obama will faithfully defend the constitution of the United States; not appease China if they are selling us products that will harm our children. If China doesn't like it, then let them elect a republican who will line his pockets with cash and let anything into the country. Obama-2008

    December 21, 2007 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  19. Allison, USA

    No matter who you are supporting as the next President, you can not deny that China has been shipping inferior and dangerous products to the United States.

    Because our political and corporate leaders continue to sell-out Americans for the Almighty Dollar, China has been allowed to continue poisoning us. Look how quickly President Bush backed down when the Chinese threaten to devalue the US dollar.

    We need strong leadership in the White House. And sometimes that means not sugar-coating our concerns.

    The whole trade issue with China is far more critical than the perceived "illegal alien" issue.

    December 21, 2007 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  20. Mario Uy Streamwood IL

    And I thought all toys came from the North Pole. How disappointing!

    December 21, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  21. danielo

    Clinton is either busy crafting a bill on the same or waiting for the polls to make a stand. Obama and Edwards lead and she follows or copies.

    December 21, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  22. Christine NJ

    I never Sen. Obama has perform the good adjudgment at all. In fact, if he be selected as the president of USA, we could image how our country he is going to run, in my opinion, the result is more worst than current President.

    December 21, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  23. AJ, IL

    Obama is right, and right to take a firm stand! These are not just defective products. These are products dangerous to American children. Obama has young kids as well and he doesn't want his children harmed by dangerous toys from China.

    OBAMA in '08!

    December 21, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  24. Sue, Michigan

    Thank you, Barack, for stating what I have been saying since the first stories about this lead came out. Why in the heck CAN'T we ban dangerous toys? We are so used to cheap, cheap, cheap, that we forget about quality and safety, and yes, that will cost more. If we weren't in debt to China for this war, we could ban them, but I don't see how we can now.
    That said, I would LOVE to see toymaking return to the USA, wouldn't that mean JOBS here? Do we not need jobs? We sure do in Michigan.

    December 21, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  25. Patrick, Bethlehem,PA

    If someone is dumping thrash in my backyard, i tell them stop right away; and not negotiate with them on when to or how to stop.

    December 21, 2007 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
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