On the eve of the China trade vote, the tale of an American toy
company and its secret, unsavory ties to both the Clinton administration
and Chinese military and trade officials speaks volumes.
Yla Eason created Olmec Toys in 1985 when “she couldn’t find a black
super-hero for her son.” At the peak of Olmec’s operations, Eason
claimed to make over $5 million in sales a year.
In 1998, Eason fled Virginia and disappeared. Minority creditors
filed in court against Eason and seized the remaining Olmec inventory,
including Eason’s last toy creation — 1,600 Malcolm X dolls. Today,
Eason is in hiding after leaving $1.2 million in unpaid debts, her
company is out of business and Congress is questioning her relationship
with the Clinton administration.
“Olmec is another example of the kind of unscrupulous dealings that
the Clinton administration has with China,” stated Al Santoli, national
security advisor to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., in an exclusive WND
Before declaring bankruptcy in 1998, Olmec Toys was the largest U.S.
manufacturer of Black and Hispanic dolls and action figures. Olmec
coined the term “ethnically correct” in the American toy industry and
served as a consultant to Hasbro, the world’s largest toy company.
A Harvard MBA and former journalist, Eason, as Olmec’s president and
CEO, received the 1997 Business Enterprise Award directly from President
Clinton. Eason also traveled with then-Commerce Secretary Ron Brown to
China, meeting with top Chinese officials in the People’s Republic
Eason’s relationship with China involved much more than appearances
The Clinton administration was forced by the Freedom of Information
Act to reveal the details of Olmec’s meetings with top communist
Eason met with the top trade official in China, Madam Wu Yi, the head
of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation,
MOFTEC, and sought meetings with the top Chinese representative for the
World Trade Organization. Eason’s mission to China included a midnight
cruise with Brown, sailing from Hong Kong on the “love boat,” the
Pacific Princess, with top leaders from U.S. corporations and Chinese
Triad crime-family members.
Olmec requested to meet current Chinese MOFTEC Trade Vice
According to newly declassified materials, some previously withheld
by the Clinton administration, Eason met in Beijing with Zhang Qingpu,
president of the China National Toy Association and the powerful MOFTEC
trade minister Wu Yi, thanks to the personal arrangements of Ron Brown.
Eason also requested to meet with the current Chinese World Trade
Organization representative and Vice Minister Long Yongtu.
Defense Department sources indicate the “China National Toy
Association” is actually under direct control of the communist State
Council and the Chinese Army. In fact, according to the Defense
Intelligence Agency, CNTA and all “China National” companies are
directly owned by the Chinese military.
A recently declassified Defense Intelligence chart outlines the
direct control of the “China National” group under communist State
Council, including China National Nuclear Corporation, China National
Electronics and China National Machinery.
“While they are profit-oriented and are the key means for defense
complex foreign exchange earning, they also are the primary conduits for
acquisition of new and advanced
technologies,” notes the intelligence document.
U.S. Defense sources clearly document that the “China National”
corporations are totally owned and operated by the military, and that
they frequently produce consumer goods alongside of weapons. In
addition, People’s Armed Police business units are known to sell toys
and manufactured goods using forced prison labor.
According to a declassified U.S. Defense Department report on the
Chinese Army Defense industry, “Official Chinese sources talk about more
than 470 production lines producing civilian products. New civilian
products range from airplanes, railroad cars, trucks, automobiles and
spare parts to food, clothing, medicine, and, literally, the kitchen
The 1994 Clinton administration documents show that 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
In 1994, Eason landed a deal with Chinese-based Cogo Toys to
manufacture modified 3 3/4 inch GI Joe dolls. One Commerce Department
document noted, “Cogo Toys manufactures Olmec’s products in the orient.
The relationship also establishes a line of credit for Olmec with Cogo
Toys … the facility (in China) will be available for a delegation
As a result of the Brown trade mission, Olmec was able to release a
line of modified GI Joe dolls, the “Bronze Bombers,” on American
minority families in 1995.
“Originally fashioned after a black Army unit from World War I and
II, the Bombers are back,” states the Olmec advertisement for the
painted GI Joe dolls, aimed directly at minority mothers.
“These fully poseable 3 3/4″ figures are now enforcers of justice who
assume identities of great kings of Africa. Each figure comes with a
trading card and an action packed comic book. Average retail price is
$3.99; recommended for ages 5 years and up.”
Another document found in the personal files of Ron Brown noted that
Eason landed the deal with Hasbro, including shelf space for her new
idea at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Toys-R-Us and Kay-Bee Toys using money she
borrowed from her mother.
“Creative mom, Yla Eason, created a $5 million business selling
African-American, Hispanic and Asian dolls with ethnically-correct
features. Her business, Olmec Toys, Inc., started with $60,000 borrowed
from family,” noted an article from Good Housekeeping in November 1996.
In a 1995 letter to Brown, Eason described how she secured a facility
to assemble and sell the GI-Joe dolls in a tax-free zone in downtown
“The office is 13,000 square feet which includes a warehouse
facility,” noted Eason in her letter to Brown.
“It is located in an enterprise zone not far from the Arthur Ashe
Community Center. Richmond City Manager Robert Bobb and his economic
development group have been exceptional in helping us. Not only were we
recruited as if we were a Fortune 500 company, we were able to take
advantage of certain city and state funds as a result of locating in an
Eason was reported to be “close” to the former Commerce secretary.
WND attempted to contact Eason concerning allegations that she had been
one of Brown’s lovers. In response, Eason promptly left Virginia. Eason
was later charged in civil court with also leaving over a million
dollars in bad debt with minority lenders such as the Consolidated Bank
& Trust Company.
In 1999, all Olmec inventory and resources were sold, the facility in
the Richmond “enterprise zone” was closed and creditors continued to
pursue Eason. The closing sale included 20,000 minority ethnic board
games and Eason’s last idea for the ethnic market, 1,600 Malcolm X
In one recently declassified document, a standard thank you letter
from Brown addressed to Eason, the former Commerce Secretary includes a
curious handwritten comment.
Former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown
“You are wonderful!” he wrote to Eason.
Eason’s disappearance and the newly declassified documents support
the claims made by Brown’s ex-business partner, Nolanda Hill, that the
Commerce secretary frequently used lovers in schemes to defraud the
government. Hill was indicted on charges of conspiring to divert about
$500,000 to Brown from her Corridor Broadcasting Corp., and another
$232,000 to herself from unpaid loans amounting to $21 million from the
now-defunct Sunbelt Savings Association.
Three weeks before Brown died, Hill claimed in the deposition that
she read four or five letters on Commerce Department stationery
supporting allegations that businesses paid the DNC “large sums of
money” for seats on overseas business delegations.
Hill testified that the documents came from Commerce Department
files, and that Brown wanted to destroy them because his business
dealings were under probe by an independent counsel. Hill stated she
advised him against destroying this evidence because she believed there
might be copies in other departments.
The rise and fall of Olmec is further mirrored in the American toy
industry. Most of the blame falls on the lucrative and expanding
one-way toy trade with China and the massive U.S. deficit trade gap with
the communist nation. The U.S. Commerce Department calculated that U.S.
toy makers lost 66,000 jobs in 1996 alone due to the trade deficit with
According to Commerce Department statistics, recent job losses to
China fall hard on American minority workers. Commerce figures also
show that women have been particularly hard hit, absorbing 54 percent of
the total job loss despite being only 47 percent of the labor force.
Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities also experienced large job losses
due to the trade with China.
“We have a $30 billion trade deficit with China,” stated Richard
Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO. “That translates into
800,000 jobs lost to China. They pay their people on average 13 cents an
hour. Worse, they use prison labor.”
Eason’s 1994 request to meet with top Chinese trade officials
reflects directly on the leadership of the communist nation. According
to Commerce Department documents, Eason sought a meeting with Long
Yongtu, Chinese Vice Minister of trade and lead negotiator at the World
Trade Organization. Long frequently appears in the Western press to
promote China trade. According to a recent CNN interview, Long pledged a
wide range of market-opening measures aimed at further breaking down
mainland trade barriers.
However, Long Yongtu is vice minister of the Chinese Ministry of
Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, the Chinese government agency
linked directly to shipments of advanced U.S. technology to the Chinese
military. In 1996, American computer maker Sun Computer Corp. exported
a super-computer directly to a Chinese army’s nuclear weapons lab.
According to the Cox report, the MOFTEC explained that the actual buyer
of the computer was the “Yuanwang Corporation” and that Sun was aware of
“this corporation’s PRC military ties.”
In 1995, MOFTEC participated directly with the Chinese military in
obtaining U.S. computer security and encryption technology. In October
1995, RSA/Security Dynamics sold computer security encryption technology
to the Laboratory of Information Security, an information warfare lab,
under the control of MOFTEC and the Chinese army.
According to Santoli, MOFTEC is directly in business with the Chinese
military. In a 1999 special congressional report, Santoli outlined how
MOFTEC assisted Chinese military espionage operations by erecting front
companies owned by the People’s Liberation Army Military Intelligence
“China Resources Enterprise … is the commercial arm of China’s
Ministry of Trade and Economic Co-operation,” noted Santoli in his
“In its investigation into China’s attempts to influence the 1996
U.S. presidential campaign, the U.S. Senate Government Affairs Committee
identified CRE as a conduit for ‘espionage — economic, political and
military — for China.’ Committee Chairman, Sen. Fred Thompson, said
that CRE has ‘geopolitical purposes. Kind of like a smiling tiger; it
might look friendly, but it’s very dangerous.'”
Today, Santoli emphasized that U.S. trade with China is profitable —
for the Chinese army. The continued trade with China’s military may look
friendly, but it is dangerous to U.S. national security, he said.
“This company (Olmec) and its bankruptcy is another example of the
unimaginable wealth the Clinton administration says is in trade with
China — with the only benefactors being the People’s Liberation Army
and communist regime, taking the money and funding a variety of
activities, including weapons,” concluded Santoli.
In the May 23, 2000 article “Clinton Speaks At Armed Forces Day
Event” it was incorrectly reported that “President Bill Clinton appeared at the annual Armed Forces Day celebration held at Andrews Air
Force base for the first time during his two terms as president.”