China tries charm to convince world its goods safe
( Reuters ) - China went on a charm offensive on Wednesday to convince a skeptical world its products are safe, as a new poll in the United States found 78 percent of Americans were worried about the safety of Chinese goods.
The State Council, or cabinet, took a group of reporters on a carefully choreographed visit to sparkling pharmaceutical plants in Beijing's neighboring city of Tianjin, led by smiling, relaxed officials unusually happy to answer questions.
The reputation of the made-in-China label has taken a battering, following several scandals involving tainted medicine and toothpaste as well as massive recalls of lead-contaminated Mattel toys in the United States.
After initially being slow to publicly acknowledge the problem, the Chinese government has finally kicked its considerable propaganda machine into operation.
"We hope that by inviting the foreign media here, you can use your own hands, mouths and eyes to represent what's really going on," said Yan Jiangying, deputy head of the State Food and Drug Administration's policy and regulations department.
"So you can spread the message that you can believe in made-in-China. That's what we want," she told Reuters after a tour of a GlaxoSmithKline factory that exports to Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
Reporters had to don special protective suits to enter the production line, and were only allowed to look on through thick windows at workers covered head to toe and using special masks making eye drops, ulcer medication and other drugs.
At another plant, run by traditional Chinese medicine maker Tianjin Zhongxin Pharmaceutical, vice general manager Zhang Ping sought to put his guests at ease by confirming his company does not use tiger bones or rhino horns.