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When Fakery Turns Fatal
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times

New York Times, June 5, 2007
Posted: June 8th, 2007

They might be called Chinas renegade businessmen, small entrepreneurs who are experts at counterfeiting and willing to go to extraordinary lengths to make a profit. But just how far out of the Chinese mainstream are they? Cutting corners or producing fake goods is not just a legacy of Chinas initial rush toward the free market three decades ago but [is] still woven into the fabric of the nations thriving industrial economy. It is driven by entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of a weak legal system, lax regulations and a business culture where bribery and corruption are rampant. This is cut-throat market capitalism, said Wenran Jiang, a specialist in China who teaches at the University of Alberta. Since this countrys economic reforms began to take root in the 1980s, businesses have engineered countless ways to produce everything from fake car parts, cosmetics and brand name bags to counterfeit electrical cables and phony Viagra. Counterfeiting rings are broken nearly every week; nonetheless, the government seems to be waging a losing battle against the operations. Dozens of Chinese cities have risen to prominence over the last two decades by first specializing in fake goods, like Wenzhou, which was once known for selling counterfeit Procter & Gamble products, and Kaihua in Zhejiang province, which specialized in fake Philips light bulbs. For a time, people even derided the entire province of Henan as the capital of substandard or fake goods, like medicines that could make you miraculously grow taller.

Note: The fact that China recently sentenced to death the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration may show that China is trying to address the problem, yet corruption is rampant in the drug industries of China, the U.S., and most other countries.

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