The Campaign Spot

Obama, Fan of Chinese Ports, Trains, and Airports

Obama, yesterday: “Everybody’s watching what’s going on in Beijing right now with the Olympics , Think about the amount of money that China has spent on infrastructure. Their ports, their train systems, their airports are vastly the superior to us now, which means if you are a corporation deciding where to do business, you’re starting to think, ‘Beijing looks like a pretty good option.’”

Ed and Hugh object, with the latter noting Obama “ignores how those structures were assembled, the source and conditions of the labor, the lack of pollution controls in Beijing and throughout China, the many complaints that Chinese infrastructure outside the Olympics zone remains shoddy, the recent record of Chinese manufacturing scandals, including the heparin fiasco which killed many Americans, and of course the catastrophe brought about by Chinese building standards in the region rocked by the recent earthquake.”
But beyond that, let’s look at Obama’s examples of Chinese excellence…
“Their ports…”
Reuters, July 11: “Severe power shortages across China, especially in the manufacturing hub and export engine of Guangdong, are expected to add further pressure on exports in the second half of the year.”
“Their train systems…”
CNN, January 28: In the southern city of Guangzhou, as many as 500,000 train passengers were stranded the past few days when a power failure in neighboring Hunan province crippled the regular train services, local officials said. About 100,000 passengers packed the square in front of the train station while others found shelter in schools and other public buildings while waiting for their trains.
“Their airports…”
Australia’s ABC News, July 29, 2008: “Scores of Chinese air passengers have smashed computers and desks and clashed with police after a night stranded at an airport without accommodation, state media said… Frustration at mysterious delays, diversions and cancellations have at times boiled over into violence at Chinese airports as passengers try to storm grounded aircraft and police are brought in to keep the peace. There have also been cases in which passengers, after delayed arrivals, have refused to get off the planes in protest.”
… “are vastly the superior to us now.”
Yes, their power outages, crowds at train stations, and outbreaks of air rage are vastly superior to ours.


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