Dictatorial regimes pose dangers to both society and the individual. Examples of this can be seen in many countries, including China. China’s government, which is an authoritarian government, has failed to formulate a regulating body to oversee a market economy. Instead, China’s economy is under the control of entrepreneurs who “act like pirates” (Kahn, “Can China Reform Itself?”). As a result, serious safety lapses in the Chinese food and drug industry are occurring, putting the health of thousands of people at risk. Examples of this are numerous.
One well-known incident occurred in 2004, when factories producing infant formula were found to be omitting protein from the product. 50 babies from Anhui Province died from misdiagnosed malnutrition as a result. Another incident in 2006 involved people in Haiti and Panama dying after consuming pharmaceutical products containing chemicals made in China. Not only have consumers suffered from this situation, so too have employees. Workers from poor rural areas in China migrate to large cities to gain employment in manufacturing. Inspections made of these workplaces to ensure that labor conditions for the workers are suitable, conducted by major companies such as Wal-Mart, “are often superficial and rife with corruption” (“Human Rights in China”). These workers are taken gross advantage of. In some cases, they can be fired if they become ill.
They are not allowed to go on strike. They work in dangerous conditions with no protection under the law if they are injured. There is no such thing as health insurance or pension. Many are paid under the minimum wage. China is but one country whose dictatorial regime poses serious health threats to both individuals and society at large, and the human rights violations occurring in China’s factories are not endemic to China alone. Sadly, global hunger for mass produced cheap goods, and the apathy of regulatory bodies, enable the continuation of this problem.