The Sino-American Deal With The Devil

Three people protesting China's human rights record and the impending arrival of the Olympic torch climbed up the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Monday, April 7, 2008, and tied Tibetan flags and two banners to its cables.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Since the ceremonial Olympic torch embarked in its world-wide journey, it has been met by jeers and protests. Much of the ire has been aimed at China's Tibet policy and especially the recent crack down there.

But there are other reasons why we should be displeased by Beijing. The Chinese economic miracle has been fueled in large part by American dollars. We've closed down manufacturing plants all over America and shipped those jobs to Asia. In exchange for cheaper goods, we made a deal with the devil.

People work for a fraction of the wages, in places that are neither safe nor even meet rudimentary pollution standards. In the last two years, the U.S. has been sent contaminated toothpaste, dog food, lead-laden toys, and drugs filled with poison.

But all of this talk of boycotting the opening ceremonies seems a little convenient to me. We should have been paying closer attention decades ago.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.