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. Ann, Marienville, PA

    Good for Obama! It is about time someone in Washington showed some consideration for the health and safety of the people for whom they supposedly represent instead of big corporate interest and lobbyists. Go Guy!!

    December 21, 2007 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  2. stan pitts pa

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

    Posted By Kevin,FL : December 21, 2007 3:54 pm

    if allowing dangerous toys into the country from china is inexperience, pls give me obama as president any day, for the record the chinese are not ANYBODYS friend, they succesfully blocked the u.s.a from issuing stricter sanctions on iran, they would allow our ships a safe port during a storm a few weeks ago and on thankgiving day our navy ship was turned from beijing to japan, as the chinese refused them entry, even though a clearance had previously been issued, earlier this year they blasted one of our satelites from space orbit, wake up america China is not a friend! ill take a president strong enough to stand up for american ideals and principles, in oprahs words " we need barack obama"

    December 21, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  3. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Ron, TX. We need the President who can perform foreign relationship well and protecting our children both successfuly. Obama's judgement is for the State Senator's level, that's why people think Obama is naive and inexperienced for the President. I think he talks too much without action. Empty wagon cause a disturbance. He opened his big mouth upset every Country, what is he going to do as a isolated person? Hillary is the only person who is able to protect our Country and get back the respect from the world. Open your eyes and think.

    December 21, 2007 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  4. Jose Card

    Wal-Mart started out as the store that sold only American-made goods till they were caught cheating. After that, Wal-Mart dedicated itself to communist China. Hillary sat on its board. I wonder what the connections were and are. She said she had to get off the board before the election.

    December 21, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  5. mary, phoenix AZ

    Hello people, who do you think we are borrowing the money from to fight Bush's war? We are getting it from China, about a million dollers a day. The US doesn't have that kind of money. Also you do not have to buy the toys from China, just Google for American made toys, there is all kinds of places. For the last 7 years we have had an inexperienced, not an insider, someone for change, in the oval office and now we have a BIG mess. Everyone was for Bush because he was for change, boy did he ever change things.

    December 21, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  6. Goody - Eugene, OR

    If Hillary had made that comment, the media would have attacked her viciously. John of Des Moines, Iowa, how absolutely right you are!!

    What has become disturbing about Hillary's run for president, is the nastiness and vulgarity being demonstrated by men and the media towards her. Things that have not been said about any of the male candidates. I'm ashamed, but not at all surprised, by such disgusting behavior.

    Anyone who can hang in there with 'the old boys network' gets my vote! GO HILLARY!

    December 21, 2007 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  7. Ming bai, Odenton MD


    Give me a break. China cannot import killer toys without Americans doing the importing. China makes the toys in a Chinese environment. American companies import them. We need to hold the importers responsible.

    December 21, 2007 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  8. Adam, Sacramento

    I'm shocked the chinese don't like a clinton opponent. Nationals from that donation donated heavily to whom in the 90's causing a large controversy?

    But just think if we replaced that 85% of chinese toy's on our shelves with toy's from say Our southern neighbor instead.

    Somehow I think it would help both us and them.

    Likewise with rising oil costs I happen to know manufacturing some plastic products especially for distribution on the east coast is actually cheaper domesticaly now. Granted our railroad robber barons have a role in that but still it's good news.

    December 22, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  9. Beefeater, Houston TX

    Didn't China ban US beef a while back because the quality was not 100 percent up to standard?

    December 22, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  10. girrlgil, sanfrancisco

    Ban dangerouse toys? What a great ideal. American listen up. Obama want americans safety. What don't you understand? Can wait for Obama 08.

    December 22, 2007 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  11. Jay

    obama is right. we need to severely scrutinize the material content and have a security qualification process in place. ban them if need be.
    china cannot tell us what to do. if they are angry its their problem. we gotta do what we gotta do.

    December 22, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  12. michelle, Fort Lauderdale FL

    Does anyone else remember foreign officials taking aim at presidential primary candidates? I'd be eager to hear some examples…

    Yes, Jim. Her name is Hillary. Hillary brought up this same subject last month and the chinese government criticized her as well. Yahoo it.

    No, wait. Here is one:

    Surprising isn't it, Earl?

    December 22, 2007 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  13. Steve Mantua, NJ

    I don't know why everyone is being so hard on Obama. It took Bush 43 a couple years in office before he started alienating our allies. Should Obama actually be elected (which I find unlikely) he's going to have a solid head start.

    December 22, 2007 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  14. R. Paul SB, CA

    The people here on the attack have a problem with Obama's skin color, plain and simple! It's sad to read their "reasoning", not because they're racists, but because they may not even know or be ready to admit they are. IT'S CALLED THERAPY!!!

    December 22, 2007 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  15. Anna, SW Missouri

    I am an undecided voter, but this may sway my vote to Obama, and I am a Republican. Just the fact that the Chinese came out with a response to this shows that they are worried that the next President will actually consider the safety of the people of the United States, instead of just big business, and they will have to change the way they are doing business if they want to continue to do business with us. Speaking from the "bully pulpit" used to have a great effect on many things. I think he may be a genious, to get that strong of a reaction, and he hasn't even received one vote yet! We are still their largest customer, they need us to buy their products. Let's start using some intelligent thinking here and quit letting them get away with all they are doing to us. If they won't, then manufacturing jobs may well come back to this country. In the mean time, buy "Made in the USA" or from other countries that have high standards for their toy manufacturing, such as Denmark, Germany, Japan, and Canada.

    December 22, 2007 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  16. J.D. Seattle WA

    U.S. toy companies don't outsource manufacturing so they can make more in profits. This is ridiculous. Nobody in the toy industry is making money, believe me. U.S. toy companies - which are the companies bringing all these toys in, not Chinese companies in case you don't know how the industry works - outsource because Americans are too cheap to spend $50 on Candy Land. Every dime in savings goes to consumers through ridiculously low prices at Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us. These retailers, which dominate all toy sales in the U.S. are in a brutal price war. They won't even think of stocking an expensive American-made toy because YOU consumers are too cheap to buy them. Another myth: banning toys from China will improve safety. Again, ridiculous. There are over 200 nations in this world that toys could be made. Block them from China and they will come from somewhere else. What we need is an inspections program and regulations, regardless of where they are made. Otherwise, what will happen when a few U.S. factories manufacture unsafe toys, are you goign to stick to your logic and ban toys from the U.S.? See how dumb that approach is. Focus on fining companies, not banning entire nations. Last myth: banning toys from China will result in more jobs in America. Perhaps the dumbest myth of all. Toys will not be made in large numbers in the U.S. again for a hundred years, until there are incredibly sophisticated robots to do all the painstaking, detailed hand-work. Why? Until then, it will always be cheaper to make them in one of the other 200 countries and, as I said, American consumers are incredibly cheap.

    December 22, 2007 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  17. Kevin, San Francisco, CA

    This is why we need Joe Biden in office. He as the experience to do more than just make a quick but empty comeback. He would get Howard on the phone and say, "Um, are you talking to me? are you talking to ME? You must be talking to me because there ain't no other president in this room."
    No, seriously, Biden has the experience and respect to not draw this kind of ire from world leaders. Especially given that his Iraq withdrawal plan leaves Iraq stable and has bipartisan support.

    December 22, 2007 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  18. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    Another example of Obama's poor judgement. There are much better ways of handling this than whipping Americans up into a populist fury. Your campaign will suffer for this

    December 22, 2007 02:10 am at 2:10 am |

    Yep, Obie's gonna win over the world!

    December 22, 2007 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  20. james, newark NJ

    Well... since Biden said the same thing...I guess Biden is also dangerously inexperianced....

    please.. I give it 1.5 days till Clinton issues the same kind of statement.
    Everytime Obama says something, be it about Pakistan, negotiantions with Iran, ect. Clinton calls him naive and all the clintonistas get all up in arms about how ignorant he is... then a week later, after people figure out that beyond the dramatic sound bite.... he is right.. Clinton hops on board and agrees with it. However with Hillary, as she was on the board of wal mart, may not have a problem seeling our country to China (even if they do poison your dog).

    Fact is there is nothing at all wrong with demanding that China meet certain standards and inspections for imports, other countries do and should do the same.

    (and by the way... who cares about John Howard? His people booted him out)

    December 22, 2007 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  21. james, newark NJ

    just for a little FYI about Clinton, with regards to cheap chinese products/walmart/past:

    Clinton served on Wal-Mart’s board for six years. The board Hillary Clinton sat on was rabidly anti-union, was exploiting sweatshop labor around the world, discriminating against women workers, forcing workers to labor off the clock and destroying communities that did not want them.
    This should not be a shock: Clinton was a partner in the Rose law firm, one of the most active anti-union law firms in the country.

    So, the question still remains: what did Hillary Clinton do—or, not do—when she served on the board of Wal-Mart? Maybe, if her memory was refreshed, she could tell us how she protested the company’s relentless union-busting, expressed feminist outrage at the widespread discrimination against women and was horrified that the mushrooming wealth of the Wal-Mart family was made possible on the backs of slave labor around the world. or did she?

    December 22, 2007 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  22. Bernie Moore-Knowles - Papa'aloa, Hawai'i

    I for one can not understand the mentality that is outraged by Obama's comments. Why in the world are we supporting the Chinese markets with buying their worthless product anyway? Get real here folks, this is not an inexperienced comment by Obama – but, more of one with a great deal of common sense. You Hillary backers are too much for me. You all are in La-La Land, just like the candidate that you back.

    Obama 08

    December 22, 2007 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  23. John, va

    I don't think this has anything to do with experiance because Joe Biden (the most experianced)supports the same idea.

    December 22, 2007 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  24. julianbook

    As usual, Obama has shown that he is miles ahead of the field in his foreign relations thinking. He was right on Iraq on calling it a dumb war from the start. He was right on Iran in criticizing the Kyl/Lieberman bill that could lead to World War III. He was right about letting Pakistan know that they cannot shield Bin Laden – since Bin Laden is the real issue. He is right to take a hard stand for our children. Obama is an extraordinarily brilliant leader. He was right in pointing out that his early upbringing in Indonesia contributes to his foreign policy acumen. Obama's multiculturalism is exactly what America desperately needs. Hillary is completely clueless, and just blows with the wind, flip-flopping with no deep insights like Obama. It's a shame that we have to wait until 2009 to get Obama as president.

    December 22, 2007 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  25. alan St Louis MO

    China blasts Obama call for toy ban


    its good to know if clinton wins CHINIA will have more influance on Washington DC then the American voters.

    GO Corpates GO Chinia

    opps I mean go Clinton

    December 22, 2007 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
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