For the record, this cartoon is not a criticism of the current movement to boycott goods made in China. Indeed, the Boycott Made In China folks offer an informative F.A.Q. on why boycotting Chinese made products is a good idea (indeed, wouldn't it be great if all F.A.Q.s were this thoughtful?). Tibet, Sudan, ongoing government repression, its formation of a middle class on the backs of millions of impoverished workers, etc. - plenty of good reasons exist for conscientious consumers to spend their money elsewhere, like say at your local farmer's market.
That said, it is largely the FEAR OF LEAD that has prompted much of the knee-jerk consumer boycotting covered in the media, a meme that began earlier this year with the stories of tainted pet food products. Again, all good reasons to boycott - we love our kids, we love our pets. But I think we fool ourselves if we think that these problems are unique to China and not consider the larger context of global division of labor and the role of American companies in creating them. Indeed, I hope my fellow Amurcans are starting to connect the dots between consumer safety issues, labor and human rights abuses and environmental damage inflicted by global corporatism.
Another thing that worries me, something that isn't addressed in the small space of this cartoon, is the way this year's Chinese consumer menace stories have fed into the ongoing anti-Chinese paranoia favored by cranks of the American imperialist and nativist persuasion. Watch a week's worth of Lou Dobbs. You'll see what I mean. I sympathize with Lou's fulminations against corporate-friendly free trade policies that punish American and Chinese workers (the latter get little mention by him, however), but as with his immigration rants, he leans far more to the xenophobic.