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GI Joe and the Chinese slave trade
Posted By Charles Smith On 09/08/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
It may shock America to find out that slavery still exists.
Today thousands of children work inside Chinese prison labor
camps making exports for America. The children are separated
from their parents by a brutal communist state and exploited as
cheap labor. They work seven days a week for no pay, under
The output of their enslavement is sold openly and proudly in
almost every major shopping mall in America. Prison-made goods
have been sold by Chinese officials for inclusion in the ever
popular fast food children’s meals. They have appeared as
plastic monsters based on the latest movie blockbuster, hats for
professional basketball teams and cartoon favorites from TV.
For example, one special China contact was to OLMEC toys, now
based in Richmond, Virginia. In the 1980s Olmec founder, Yla
Eason, started a toy company in New York with $60,000 borrowed
from her family. Since then, Ms. Eason has been able to spin
the $60,000 into a multi-million dollar toy business. Olmec
toys are sold by Walmart, Kmart, KayBee and Toys R Us.
Ms. Eason credits herself with the creation of the first African
American super hero toy, Sun Man. After creating Sun Man, Eason
landed big backing from U.S. toy maker Hasbro to found a line of
“ethnically-correct” dolls. She soon obtained the rights from
Hasbro to the 3 3/4 inch GI Joe plastic molds. Eason then put a
new head on the good characters, gave them a new paint scheme
and created the “Bronze Bombers,” a line of African-American
super-heroes. Of course, Olmec manufactures the “Bronze
Bombers” in China.
Curiously, Eason left the GI Joe bad guys — better known as
“Cobra” — intact with no changes, complete with their original
paint scheme. This little toy fact flies in the face of
marketing 101 and seems contrary for someone who claims to be
the wizard of ethnic toys. Who would pay extra for an
“ethnically” correct bad guy that is identical to a not correct
villain? Many toy enthusiasts were not impressed with the
“Bombers” simply because they were nothing more than leftover GI
Joe dolls. One collector called even called them “racist.”
It is certain that Eason had far more help than just $60,000
from mom and a single toy maker backing her idea. For example,
Hasbro executives donated thousands of dollars directly to the
DNC just prior to the November 1992 elections. Moreover,
documentation obtained from the U.S. Commerce Department shows
that Ms. Eason also attended the Presidential Business
Development mission to China in August 1994. President Clinton
personally invited Eason to attend the trade trip with Ron
Ms. Eason met in Beijing with officials of the China National
Toy Association (CNTA) at the personal arrangement of Ron Brown.
According to the 1994 Commerce trade documents, Olmec had been
working with a Chinese partner to “handle shipping, sourcing of
products and manufacturing.” Olmec was in China to “explore
joint venture projects, especially with the mold machinery
makers and toy manufacturers.”
The CNTA is actually a front for the People’s Armed Police (PAP)
and the Chinese Army (PLA) prison factory system. According to
Chinese dissident Harry Wu, the Chinese police and Army run
prison factories that produce a wide variety of goods using
forced labor. Prisoners work from 12 to 16 hours a day making
highly volatile plastic products with no masks, no training and
little ventilation. Statements provided by former prison camp
guards to Mr. Wu show that torture and starvation is common
policy at Chinese prison factories.
Ms. Eason left New York and set up Olmec head-quarters in
Democratic dominated Richmond, Virginia. The new site is
nothing more than a warehouse on a rail line where a handful of
American employees work, packaging the Chinese made toys for
resale. The new site also included low cost federal loans, and
is located inside a federal tax free zone. Curiously, the
former mayor of Richmond is now under investigation for offering
political friends similar special incentives such as loans and
tax free zones.
Ms. Eason, a young single mother with striking features,
allegedly was close to Ron Brown. Ms. Eason traveled with Brown
frequently and highly favored by the Clinton administration.
Ms. Eason went to China, and was included on the Ron Brown trade
mission to South Africa. The Commerce Department picked Eason
to serve as a speaking panelist at the 1995 BEM (Big Emerging
Market) Conference in Washington. Some of her companions at
these events include other infamous Democratic donors such as
Bernard Schwartz, Sanford Robertson, John Huang, and Nora Lum.
Furthermore, Ms. Eason even took a 1994 Hong Kong cruise on
board the luxury liner Pacific Princess with Brown. Ms. Eason
and Brown sailed the south pacific waters while attending a very
posh and private party thrown by their Asian hosts. Invitees to
the “Love Boat” party included the president of the China CITIC
bank, a firm closely linked to international arms traffic.
However, Ms. Eason’s only prior experience in business was her
idea to create ethnic dolls. Her only funding was the $60,000. In
the world of retail toys, dominated by mega-buck market share,
fad based sales and self-space, $60,000 would not even get you
lunch with a local buyer much less major outlets such as Toys R
Us and Walmart. Eason’s toy business success rivals the quick
profits made by First Lady Hillary Clinton from her one time
foray into Arkansas cattle futures.
Olmec is not the only U.S. toy maker that played the China doll
game. Other toy companies set up by the PLA pay wages as low as
17 cents an hour to young girls aged from twelve to
nineteen. Again, these companies exploit the children, forcing
them into fixed terms of service inside plastic factories with
no protection gear and no regard for safety. One such Chinese
factory, which produced the “Mutant Nija Turtle” line of plastic
dolls, burned down and killed forty children because management
locked the doors to keep them from running away.
Furthermore, Defense, Commerce and Customs officials are very
aware of the connection between the PLA and imported goods. The
sale of goods made by forced labor and front companies provide
cash for the Chinese Police and Army. The GAO noted that
official Chinese armed forces spending reflects only a small
portion of the over-all defense budget and could represent as
little as one third the real funding available.
President Clinton and Ron Brown were certainly aware of exactly
whom they arranged Ms. Eason to meet in Beijing. Even the
August 1994 briefing package for Ms. Eason noted that China had
previously violated international laws against such commerce.
According to the Commerce China trade document, “Customs is
investigating allegations that prison-made goods from China are
entering the U.S. in violation of U.S. law.”
Yet, Ron Brown said nothing about import violations to his
Chinese hosts, and that pleased his U.S. corporate sponsors.
According to DNC donor Sanford Robertson’s 1994 letter to
President Clinton, Brown “deftly navigated the human rights
issues by obtaining an agreement on further talks, and then
moved directly into the economic issues at hand, i.e. helping
Chrysler, Sprint and others with their joint ventures.”
Clinton has done little about prison made goods from China.
President Clinton “de-linked” human rights from China trade at
the behest of many close associates who profited from the
separation. Ms. Eason is but one.
Clearly, big money backed Ms. Eason and she had the opportunity
to shine. She was given a chance to prove that America does
indeed reward good ideas and hard work. Her toys could have
offered hope, honor and pride so badly needed in a world with
few heroes. Instead, she sold repainted Chinese made GI-Joe
dolls to minority mothers on a low income budget.
The total amount of PLA made toys imported into the U.S. can be
measured by the ton. The profit from the China toy trade is
also measured in the billions of dollars a year. Ironically,
the profits from many of the Chinese toys being sold in America
also provide hard cash for the Chinese police and armed forces.
Thus, with each purchase, American parents are paying for the
bullets, bombs, and missiles of the Chinese Army.
Hasbro recently announced they are re-introducing the 3 3/4 inch
GI Joe dolls in time for Christmas 1998. The toy figures are
aimed at U.S. children ages four to ten. They serve as holiday
gifts and birthday presents, bringing joy into the homes of
America. The cruelest irony of all is that half a world away a
child will never know the happiness of Christmas, Hanukkah, or
Source documents obtained from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce
using the Freedom of Information Act:
- BROWN & EASON inside the files of Brown
- BROWN & EASON on 1994 China Trade Trip Meets PLA
- BROWN & EASON on the “LOVE BOAT”
- BROWN & EASON, Huang, Lum, CITIC and Molten Metals
at 1995 BEM Conference
- Sanford Robertson November 1994 Letter to President Clinton
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