3 thoughts on “Lead Paint Toymaker Commits Suicide

  1. There is something both maccabre yet endearing to the tribulations of the Chinese Communist bizarre form of government. Becoming a successful bureaucrat in the People’s Non-republic carries marvelous rewards in that nation of 1.5 billion and still counting, but the fall from grace can be as dangerous to the health of a bureaucrat as the havoc that results from his or her corruption. In a way, one wonders how “Brownie” or Chertof or Gonzales would fare in China, given their inability to to “get it right.”

    Chinese bureaucrats receive speedy secret trials and the 50-cent bullet in the back of the head once the predetermined verdict is reached. They do not get early retirement or pensions or free medical care as do our messed up bureaucrats or corrupt politicians. And now, a new twist to the PRC view of the world and foreign trade is added: suicide of bureaucrtats. One is reminded of scenes from Godfather II, where the once faithful Don now government witness is given the option of suicide but leaving his own family well cared for, or worse as a traitor; he opts for the venerable and honorable Roman way of a warm bath and opened blood vessels. I suspect the parallels between mainland China and the venerable Cosa Nostra stem from similar features of corruption and absolute power of a relatively small group of “leaders” with total control of life and death. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the People’s Un-republic of China has some 500 million people of draft age, thermonuclear weapons and a slavish bureaucracy that will commit suicide when required, even over matters such as toy production and sales. It is indeed a strange and interesting world in which we live.

  2. Thanks, Mr. Wolberg. You certainly see things in the larger context. I was thinking the guy committed suicide because he felt bad about the millions of little children he might have poisoned. It also occurred to me that the Chinese do the honorable suicide thing perhaps more often than Americans, although I do not know the numbers on that.

    In some ways it doesn’t seem to make sense to tag this story “mental health” as many people in the world probably do not see this suicide as a mental health problem for the toymaker. Nevertheless, suicide is defined as a mental health problem in this country.

  3. Ah yes Kierstan, suicide in the West I suspect is usually a “mental health” issue, but it seems to me that our perceptions of mental health also reflect our modern cultural context. “Healthy” exceptions can certainly be recognized; sacrifice of a parent for the life of a child or a soldier for the life of a comrade. In an older context, the Greeks saw suicide as sometimes honorable or brave: Socrates for example, or the Spartans versus the Persians. The Zealots at Masada, rather than surrender to the legions of Titus, chose suicide and are viewed as martyrs to freedom.

    I suspect that different Asian cultures view suicide as matters of honor or duty; the Samurai and Kamakazi ethos of the Japanese, for example. And now the Chinese example. Of course in this latest Chinese case, do we really know the full circumstances beyond the official report. Not too be too cynical, but in a nation that harvests organs from prisoners, a reort of a suicide can be greeted with a bit of skepticism I think.

Comments are closed.