Opinions
Jen Grond/the Gauntlet

China's condom catastrophe

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Many people rely on the Chinese market for cheap replicas. Some choose designer purses or DVDs, now they can add condoms to the list. Recently police arrested four people after raiding an underground condom factory in the Hunan province of China. Police found half-dressed employees putting condoms in fibre bags without sterilization and using vegetable oil as lubrication.

What made these counterfeits hard to track down was the fact that they were running under the brand names "Jisson, Durex, Rough Rider, Six Sense and Love Card." Unlike purses, there are very little indicators that these are only replicas. These condoms provided little-to-no protection, running a high risk of pregnancy and STI transmission.

It is estimated that the factory produced and sold over 2 million condoms since last March, while only a million are said to be counterfeit. This makes it the largest case of this nature reported in China.

While these condoms were supposedly only distributed nationwide, the problem is still global. China is the fourth largest condom supplier in the world and condoms are a $2 billion industry for that country. Thanks to globalization, the West gets many of our products from China and other Asian countries. If the authorities had not shut this operation down in time, these counterfeit condoms could have been your next purchase.

Many commodities have become much cheaper thanks to the low cost of the Chinese work force, materials and so on, but it becomes a problem when the products used to protect against illness and unwanted pregnancy are compromised by the "cheaper is better" mindset. The low cost is seen as a positive effect of globalization, but has it now gone too far?

Unknowing people used an unsafe product because they trusted the brand names and government regulations to ensure the products were safe. While it is obvious that the Chinese government was not affiliated with nor controlled this particular factory, they allowed this to happen in an indirect way. The Chinese government has allowed their country to become the rest of the world's factory. Everyone wants to spend less money and China has responded by exploiting their people for less pay and finding the most cost efficient manufacturing methods.

This idea that the less money spent is better has trickled down to companies and manufacturers. The people responsible for these condoms may have a faulty moral compass, but although they are responsible for their actions, and are hopefully severely reprimanded for them, they cannot bear the full blame. Their choices are influenced by the rules, regulations and values of the government.

Although China is known for cheap goods, it is also known for their strict reproduction laws. When the people of a country are allocated a certain number of offspring, it comes as a surprise that contraceptives produced there would be compromised in the search for cost efficiency.

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Comments

If consumers could value things based on qualities other than money, this would not be incentivized to occur.

It\'s because we\'ve been conditioned to think that saving $0.01 on any purchase is great that we even select for craptastic products in stores.