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(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-17 07:52

Don't blame poor victims

Comment on You Nuo's column "Citizens should help to protect food safety" (China Daily, Sept 22)

I find your view outrageous. It is akin to questioning why a rape victim doesn't scream when attacked.

First, you must know that citizens did complain to Sanlu back in 2007 but nothing was done. If the TV media is to be believed, Sanlu shut up the complainants with bribes. So it is not true that people didn't complain or raise issues about the tainted milk. They did.

Second, when the local government has an interest in Sanlu (or Mengniu or Yili), do you really believe that an ordinary citizen can take his case anywhere? Who would listen to him? Who will come out and stand up for him? This Sanlu case didn't surface until the national media started to expose this matter. As you can see, your consumers are helpless even if they complain.

Third, most of Sanlu consumers are poor and rural families. What do you expect them to do?

Please don't blame the victims. There is something wrong structurally. When government interests (at least at the provincial and municipal levels) are married to the commercial interests, this sort of scandal is bound to happen. Without delinking that government-industrial nexus, scandals and corruption will surely continue unabated regardless of how many times Chinese national leaders decry local governments' malfeasance and punish the wrongdoers.

Ed, an American living in China

via e-mail

Wish peace for more people

Comment on "Island return marks end of border dispute" (China Daily, Oct 15)

It is nice to learn that China and Russia have agreed on their 4,300-km-long border, with the last hurdle having been overcome. What is even more gratifying is that it has all been a nice, friendly affair, with no cannons fired, no bombs dropped and no tempers frayed. Both China and Russia deserve to be congratulated on this big achievement.

I hope leaders in our India-Pakistan belt can have this spirit. It is shocking that people in our region, who could least afford to fight wars, seemed to have been the most eager ones to resort to it in the past. Luckily, for some years now, there has been an improvement in the Indo-Pak relations. Let us hope and pray it continues - for the benefit of our people.

S.R.H. Hashmi in Karachi

via e-mail

Cherish speech freedom, truth

While we should relish and strive to benefit from our freedom of expression without fear or favor, we should also be mindful that the way we use our "freedom of speech" speaks volumes about us.

The gate keepers of public forums should remain neutral moderators and not compromise their ability to objectively protect the principles of this value. Once reason is overshadowed, and objectivity diluted with hate, positive public discourse becomes more elusive.

In such an atmosphere that fosters so much pain and fear, a more healthy journalism - one that is balanced and fair - must be practiced. I support freedom of speech, but not at the expense of truth and justice. I realize that it takes dedication, perseverance and true integrity to achieve such a goal.

Sadia Ali Aden, a US peace activist

via e-mail

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(China Daily 10/17/2008 page9)