Suicides? School Stabbings? What is going on with China?

This is something I was planning to write for a while, but I never really figured out how to approach it.  How do you criticize an entire country?  Well, you don’t.  China is really, really big and there are things going on there that we have no real knowledge of.  I’d look like an idiot if I tried to criticize China or the Chinese.  However, I don’t know if it is the amazing about of control the government enforces on the people, the horrible working conditions or the environmental destruction of their lands, but China is getting weird.  Take this whole Foxconn mess.  Do you own an iPad?  Most like it has blood somewhere in it.  The factory is huge, but that doesn’t mean that ten people committing suicide in quick succession isn’t a big deal.

More than 300,000 people sleep, eat and work here (Foxconn). There are three hospitals, a fire station, supermarkets and restaurants all crammed on less than a square mile (2.3 square kilometers.) But something here is not right — an alarming number of workers have taken their lives or attempted suicide. So far this year, 10 people have committed suicide, while three others have tried, according to Foxconn, a Taiwanese firm and local authorities, and no one knows why. “We’re asking ourselves the same question,” said company spokesman, Liu Kun. “Foxconn has never seen anything like this before in the past 20 years of operating on the mainland. We’ve checked the work records and couldn’t find any direct link between the working conditions and the suicides.” While the number of suicides is below China’s average rate of 14 per 100,000, according to the World Health Organization, it is enough to worry some of Foxconn’s customers. Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Sony have all ordered their own investigations. CNN

How would you feel if there were ten suicides in your town in a year?  Yeah, people would be concerned.  Another weird on was this rash of school attacks.  Men, grown men, were going into grade schools in China and attacking kids.  I’m not surprised you didn’t hear about it.

At least 17 people, mostly children, have been killed and dozens injured in a series of apparently random bloody attacks in the past two months. Officials have ordered an increase in security at schools and nurseries. But Mr Wen said that as well as boosting the security presence, China needed to “handle social problems, resolve disputes and strengthen mediation at the grassroots level”. There has been much speculation in China that inadequate understanding of mental health issues and a lack of official outlets to air grievances has contributed to the violent outbursts recently seen. BBC

Different cultures are going to handle stress in different ways.  We here in America had a rash of Postal shootings and attacks and we had a string of students going on killing sprees. What sort of idea is strong enough to spread from person to person to make them go crazy in the same kind of way?  I’m not smart enough to answer that one.  But could we be at fault, we meaning Westerners?  Could our demand for more and more be pushing the Chinese to push themselves too far?  This is a very weird world that we live in…

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