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Four corners - slavery in China


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#1 Riotproof

Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:25 AM

Did anyone watch this last night? I haven’t had a chance yet, but I did just watch a press conference with Lufty’s father Sadam and his agony was so heartbreaking.

I just feel so helpless and complicit. After all, we all need to buy clothes. Clothes don’t seem to last as long as they used to and need replacing more often. How can we navigate this better? It’s all just too much.

Lots of articles because I’ve been reading a bit, and I just can’t get it out of my head.

https://www.abc.net....-apart/11221614
https://www.abc.net....-china/11298750
http://theconversati...-clothes-115462

Edited by Riotproof, 16 July 2019 - 11:32 AM.


#2 seayork2002

Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:29 AM

But this is not new news, this has been the case for many many years (no I am not having a go!)

#3 Riotproof

Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:32 AM

Oh I know that. That kinda makes it worse though, doesn’t it?

I guess the new investigation has brought it up again. The families are trying to get the Australian government to intervene.

#4 Lunafreya

Posted 16 July 2019 - 11:46 AM

The apathy of this age really sickens me.

People wonder how millions were exterminated in the Nazi death camps. This is how

#5 Fennel Salad

Posted 16 July 2019 - 12:06 PM

Thing is if we (as a nation) now stop buying from China, China has the diplomatic and economic clout to retaliate and retaliate badly.

#6 Ozquoll

Posted 16 July 2019 - 12:17 PM

View PostFennel Salad, on 16 July 2019 - 12:06 PM, said:

Thing is if we (as a nation) now stop buying from China, China has the diplomatic and economic clout to retaliate and retaliate badly.
China has been our largest export market for years, and the government has not wanted to hear about the vulnerable position that puts us in. No doubt there will be frothing-at-the-mouth editorials in the People’s Daily and the Global Times about how Australia should butt out of their internal affairs.

They stopped accepting Australian coal at a couple of their ports earlier this year. Not sure if that’s still going on. If they stop some citizens buying Australian property and attending our universities, that’d be a good thing in the long term.

#7 Lunafreya

Posted 16 July 2019 - 12:21 PM

And remember what Bob Hawke did in the wake of Tiananmen Square massacre

The government wouldn’t do that today. They wouldn’t dare.

#8 Ozquoll

Posted 16 July 2019 - 12:23 PM

View PostLunafreya, on 16 July 2019 - 11:46 AM, said:


People wonder how millions were exterminated in the Nazi death camps. This is how
We were at war with the Germans though, as opposed to economically semi-dependent on them, as we (unfortunately) are with China. How do you propose to get the second largest economy in the world, with an army of 2.3 million people, to stop putting Uyghurs in concentration camps?

#9 MurderBritches

Posted 16 July 2019 - 12:23 PM

It is terrible OP. That and everything  else that goes on in China.

But people also need to remember - China does not give two hoots about what the rest of the world thinks about anything they do. We have military exercises going on here with the US and there is a Chinese spy boat sitting off the coast watching...blatantly in full sight. They are gradually laying claim to every island and port they can. THEY DO NOT CARE WHAT WE THINK!! And, to be honest, there is pretty much nothing we can do about it.

#10 gatheringpieces

Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:02 PM

Australian government policy isn't going to change in a hurry due to the economics and politics involved.

But if we each stop buying cheap junk, eventually it will have an impact.

Not aimed at anyone in particular, but does your kid need 10 cheap T-shirts or could you buy 5 with a slightly more ethical production? Do we need 4 pairs of jeans at a time? I know for myself, in my house we're all well and truly overstocked on basics. I'm working on it but it takes a huge mindshift.

I hope we can as a society improve but it's a long road.
And I certainly don't have any answers re. Slavery or internment camps. So hard to believe it is happening in our modern world, but it is.

#11 countrychic29

Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:13 PM

I agree with the PP - China does not care.
I go there frequently for work and have spent so much time there - its not my favourite place.

The extent of which the Chinese government has brainwashed the population is astounding - everything the government or any person in authority says is taken as gospel. It is not questioned, there is no independent thinking, there is no external news sources, human rights are barely a thought and culturally the differences blow my mind.

Without sounding defeatist - nothing will change over there and we are like the poor cousin

#12 born.a.girl

Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:21 PM

View Postgatheringpieces, on 16 July 2019 - 01:02 PM, said:

Australian government policy isn't going to change in a hurry due to the economics and politics involved.

But if we each stop buying cheap junk, eventually it will have an impact.

Not aimed at anyone in particular, but does your kid need 10 cheap T-shirts or could you buy 5 with a slightly more ethical production? Do we need 4 pairs of jeans at a time? I know for myself, in my house we're all well and truly overstocked on basics. I'm working on it but it takes a huge mindshift.

I hope we can as a society improve but it's a long road.
And I certainly don't have any answers re. Slavery or internment camps. So hard to believe it is happening in our modern world, but it is.


Agreed, I'm just as bad as the next person with the amount of clothes I've got. Compared with the volume of clothes I had forty years ago, it's staggering. Then, the cost of the AUstralian made clothes kept people's purchases under control to some extent.

#13 kadoodle

Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:25 PM

One of my sisters was nearly caught like this. She was told by her employer to hand over her passport to guarantee continuity of employment. Thankfully she had the good sense to cut and run that night.

#14 Riotproof

Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:44 PM

View Postgatheringpieces, on 16 July 2019 - 01:02 PM, said:


But if we each stop buying cheap junk, eventually it will have an impact.

Not aimed at anyone in particular, but does your kid need 10 cheap T-shirts or could you buy 5 with a slightly more ethical production? Do we need 4 pairs of jeans at a time? I know for myself, in my house we're all well and truly overstocked on basics. I'm working on it but it takes a huge mindshift.

I hope we can as a society improve but it's a long road.
And I certainly don't have any answers re. Slavery or internment camps. So hard to believe it is happening in our modern world, but it is.

It is so difficult.

#15 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:50 PM

View PostRiotproof, on 16 July 2019 - 01:44 PM, said:

It is so difficult.

I have 3 pairs of jeans. They were all getting worn on the inner thigh, one had gaping hole.

I dithered for months about repair with patches or just replace. Effort involved in both options.

Pleased to report I finally repaired with iron on patches from the inside. One pair only for round the house but the other two came up fine.  And a skirt while I was at it.

Sadly its the first time Ive repaired clothes in many years.

#16 **Tiger*Filly**

Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:57 PM

How do people think their $3 t-shirts are made so cheaply?
We only buy from op shop or other second hand sources,  or from shops that have ethically made clothing, or (and I acknowledge not everyone can do this) make it or repair it ourselves.
And have been doing this for at least 20 years including when I was a SAHM and we were completely skint - I basically just op shopped and repaired. If you buy from companies using slave labour you're complicit in slavery.

#17 CallMeFeral

Posted 16 July 2019 - 02:30 PM

View Post**Tiger*Filly**, on 16 July 2019 - 01:57 PM, said:

How do people think their $3 t-shirts are made so cheaply?

You know I honestly bridle at these statements. There are just as many companies selling $300 t-shirts that are using the same slave labour but just pocketing the difference. There is nothing glorious about buying expensive clothes UNLESS you have also looked into their ethical position. The lists of unethical clothing companies are just as full of high end as low, it's not the purchase price that tells you whether the company is abusing human rights.

I'm sure we all know this when we think about it, but the way language works and the brain works, the more people keep reinforcing cheap = unethical, the more people use price as a proxy for ethics, and skip actually looking at/thinking about/researching the actual companies. And that's how the high margin unethical companies win - by using cheap labour AND profiting from gullibility rather than just the former.

We need to stop with the lazy linkages. Yes we will need to spend more (and repair more) for ethical clothes, but it's the ethical clothes part that should be the focus - not the price.

#18 Lunafreya

Posted 16 July 2019 - 02:31 PM

I’d like to say I do better by making my clothes...but the fabric I know is sourced from China.

Also, a lot happened in Germany against Jews/Romany etc before we were at war with them. And after we rejected Jewish refugees to be resettled here

#19 Beanette

Posted 16 July 2019 - 02:33 PM

View Post**Tiger*Filly**, on 16 July 2019 - 01:57 PM, said:

How do people think their $3 t-shirts are made so cheaply?

Just an aside, but expense is no guarantee something is made ethically:
https://baptistworld...-fashion-guide/
Cotton On, Kmart and Target all performed well by this measure of ethics, much better than more expensive or designer brands.

#20 born.a.girl

Posted 16 July 2019 - 02:56 PM

View PostBeanette, on 16 July 2019 - 02:33 PM, said:

Just an aside, but expense is no guarantee something is made ethically:
https://baptistworld...-fashion-guide/
Cotton On, Kmart and Target all performed well by this measure of ethics, much better than more expensive or designer brands.


A 'living wage' for someone in very low income countries is difficult for us to estimate.   Someone being paid that living wage is not going to lead a $20 product to somehow become $200, so I'm with you.  A lot of money does not mean it's been made ethically.  We've seen enough reports about very high end companies taking advantage to believe otherwise.


Being cynical, I'm not all that convinced that those at the top at the stores you mention are doing it because of human rights, but because they know the knowledge about their ethical supplies will get them more sales.

#21 annodam

Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:00 PM

It's very difficult given that the majority of goods are made in China.  I just peeked under my PC Mouse for example, yep you guessed it, Made In China.
I shop at OP Shops all the time, I recycle the kids old clothes that no longer fit, I repair all clothing, linen, socks, undies as well even but how much can 1 person do in the grand scheme of things?

#22 born.a.girl

Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:10 PM

View Postannodam, on 16 July 2019 - 03:00 PM, said:

It's very difficult given that the majority of goods are made in China.  I just peeked under my PC Mouse for example, yep you guessed it, Made In China.
I shop at OP Shops all the time, I recycle the kids old clothes that no longer fit, I repair all clothing, linen, socks, undies as well even but how much can 1 person do in the grand scheme of things?


Isn't that were the saying 'think globally, act locally' comes from?

Think that was in regard to food, but the same applies here.

#23 born.a.girl

Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:44 PM

View PostLunafreya, on 16 July 2019 - 02:31 PM, said:

I’d like to say I do better by making my clothes...but the fabric I know is sourced from China.

Also, a lot happened in Germany against Jews/Romany etc before we were at war with them. And after we rejected Jewish refugees to be resettled here


And probably the sewing machine (if modern), the thread etc.

It's almost impossible to avoid.

#24 red_squirrel

Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:58 PM

View PostLunafreya, on 16 July 2019 - 02:31 PM, said:

I’d like to say I do better by making my clothes...but the fabric I know is sourced from China.

Also, a lot happened in Germany against Jews/Romany etc before we were at war with them. And after we rejected Jewish refugees to be resettled here

I’m just starting to make my own clothes again. Not for ethical reasons but because everything in stores just doesn’t last and I am sick of having to replace stuff. I want things to last ten years at least.

I use mainly Italian, German and Japanese manufactured fabrics because they are made to a certain quality, not made to a pricepoint. They easy last ten years and You can buy them online. The initial price is high but it will last.

When I was a kid people mostly made there own clothes because what was in the store was too expensive but I don’t think many people know how to nowadays so they have no other option but to buy what’s offered.

#25 Lunafreya

Posted 16 July 2019 - 04:06 PM

My mum made a lot of our clothes growing up for the very same reason.




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