Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from June 7, 2021 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Options June 7, 2021: Amelia Pang, author, "Made in China," on forced labor creating American products

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Tonight: Amelia Pang, author, Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods

Heads up: If you own an Amazon surveillance device like an Echo or Ring, you have one day - the deadline is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 8 - to opt out of Amazon’s ambient surveillance program, called Sidewalk, which will bring about “mass wireless sharing”: details in this Guardian article. I still recommend, in all seriousness, disposing of all surveillance devices at your local e-waste recycling facility.

Links:

Made in China on Indiebound

• Web: AmeliaPang.com

• Twitter: @ameliapangg

EndUyghurForcedLabour.com

It Took a Genocide for Me to Remember My Uighur Roots (by Amelia Pang in NYT Opinion, Jan 10, 2021): "Since 1949, the Chinese Communist Party has gradually established policies that threaten Uighur culture and identity. My family’s forced assimilation is a part of that story."

7 Apple suppliers in China have links to forced labor programs, including the use of Uyghur Muslims from Xinjiang, according to a new report (by Katie Canales in Insider, May 10, 2021): covers a report by The Information (behind paywall)

Ben Mauk on Twitter (May 13, 2021): "The camp-to-prison pipeline appears to be a common trajectory for religious leaders and scholars in Xinjiang. This report accords with my own interviews with camp survivors and family members." Mauk is commenting on the May 13 BBC story Uyghur imams targeted in China's Xinjiang crackdown.

John Cena video (posted to Twitter on May 24, 2021). Joe Xu writes, "John Cena apologized in Chinese on Sina Weibo after calling Taiwan a country during an interview promoting Fast & Furious 9."

Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang (by Raffi Khatchadourian, New Yorker, April 12, 2021 issue): "As mass detentions and surveillance dominate the lives of China’s Uyghurs and Kazakhs, a woman struggles to free herself."

Stolen By The State (by Brent Crane in Elle, May 21, 2021): "Four years ago, a famous Uyghur anthropologist disappeared. What happened? Her daughter is trying to find out."

Censorship, Surveillance and Profits: A Hard Bargain for Apple in China (by Jack Nicas, Raymond Zhong and Daisuke Wakabayashi, NYT, May 17, 2021): "Apple [is] preparing to store the personal data of its Chinese customers on computer servers run by a state-owned Chinese firm." ... "A Times analysis found that tens of thousands of apps have disappeared from Apple’s Chinese App Store over the past several years, more than previously known, including foreign news outlets, gay dating services and encrypted messaging apps. It also blocked tools for organizing pro-democracy protests and skirting internet restrictions, as well as apps about the Dalai Lama."

H&M Is Erased From Chinese E-Commerce Over Xinjiang Stance (by Eva Xiao in WSJ, March 25, 2021): "Apps block searches for clothing retailer after it stops sourcing from the region, escalating a clash between Beijing and Western companies."

U.S. Blocked Uniqlo Shirts on Xinjiang Forced-Labor Concerns (Bloomberg, May 19, 2021). As Adrian Zenz points out: "U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not releasing Uniqlo shirts despite initial evidence produced by Uniqlo. The CBP requires Uniqlo to provide comprehensive evidence that they are not made with Uyghur forced labor, setting a very high bar."

Japan’s Muji Appeals to China by Advertising Use of Xinjiang Cotton (by Megumi Fujikawa in WSJ, May 11, 2021): “On its online store in China, Muji includes the words ‘Xinjiang cotton’ next to several items. The move was well-received by Chinese social-network users, some of whom said on the Twitter-like Weibo platform that they recognized the company’s eagerness to stay on the country’s good side. Muji executives have said they see China as a growth driver after the company’s U.S. unit was forced last year to seek protection under U.S. bankruptcy laws. Muji expects to have more than 300 stores in China by August.”

Krish Raghav's lessons "learned from one year at a craft beer brewery / bar in Beijing" - see also this comic.

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Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Amelia Pang discusses her book, "Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods."
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options
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  Mark's intro  
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  Interview with Amelia Pang  
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0:11:51 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Mark's comments  
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0:47:54 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
Rockwell  Somebody's Watching Me   Options
Options
0:55:20 (MP3 | Pop‑up)


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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Carmichael:

Heya Mark and lunch boxers.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm ultradamno:

Mark! Techtananmen Squares!
  6:01pm David in London:

Hello Mark and all Technoids.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm Handy Haversack:

Arrrrrgh! Going to be splitting this hour between Techtonic and a volunteer meeting. But happy Triumphant Return, Mark!
Avatar 6:02pm Bas NL:

Hello Mark! Techtonici!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm DjLorraine:

Hi all
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm listener james from westwood:

Welcome back to the Magic Factory, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Welcome back, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Hello, Mark and systemic failures in waiting.
  6:04pm Bea:

Great you’re back in studio!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm chresti:

Hi Mark and techtrons!
  6:05pm Roland from Australia:

Good morning, listening on the beach on the Gold Coast, glad you are back in the captains chair, awesome Mark
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Franco Twinkie:

Welcome back Mark. Today I went inside the library for the first time in more than a year.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm ultradamno:

BLIND TOURIST!
  6:06pm Davi from br:

Good night Mark and hello everybody
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm HyperDose:

Verizon tried to offer me a free echo & ring as a gift, as if I would willingly bug my own home. I told them "GOOD DAY, SIR!"
  6:08pm Sam:

You can always opt out if you have a hammer
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm DjLorraine:

Amazon sidewalk opt out
  6:09pm Robert Tables:

There is usually a deadline to opt out of arbitration agreements, usually 30 days after the start of service or opening an account somewhere.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm DjLorraine:

Tuesday June 8th
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm chresti:

Surveillance Sector.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm PaulRobeson1920:

Good evening everyone
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm melinda:

hi friends
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm TheRealMattClarke:

You can still turn Sidewalk off after June 8. But, if you don't opt-out before that, your device(s) will be enrolled (at least until you turn it off)
  6:10pm Sam:

What about the public’s right not to be spied on everywhere they go? How do they opt out? It’s up to individual homeowners to decide whether the general public is surveilled?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm DjLorraine:

Find settings...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm Franco Twinkie:

Chresti gets stuff from Amazon. I'm sure the empty boxes are spying on us.
  6:12pm Sam:

If Bezos never makes it back from space, will that end the sidewalk project?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm DjLorraine:

Recycle
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Carmichael:

He's spying on the aliens.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm melinda:

@Sam yeah, it's weird to think about all the cameras watching us. I learned my neighbor has some kind of surveillance when he texted me from another state to check on his porch because he had seen someone there and couldn't tell who it was. It had been me, checking their mailbox as they'd asked me too.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Mark Hurst:

Hi everyone, thanks for joining! It's great to be back in Studio A.
  6:19pm Sam:

It used to be, China would do anything to make money from America. Now, it’s American industries like Hollywood who will do anything to protect their profits from China.
  6:19pm Listener Robert:

This is amazing, because there's been a longstanding joke about a fortune cookie fortune, "Help, I'm a prisoner in a Chinese cookie factory!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm TheRealMattClarke:

Hi Mark! I'd love to hear your comments on Sidewalk vs. the Apple "Find My" service. I guess the main difference is that Sidewalk's intent is to keep other (presumably, Amazon) devices online, whereas Find My is using all iPhones in the world to locate missing AirTags, etc
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm coelacanth∅:

greetings Mark and Amelia Pang

- Thankful you're talking about this
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm DjLorraine:

Could someone spell the L camp out for me
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm Mark Hurst:

@Robert the reality, happening right now, is a nightmare.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Mark Hurst:

@MattClarke good point & good question. I don't see a categorical difference between Amazon & Apple's aims. But I probably need to do more research before I can give a solid judgment. Meantime I strongly recommend against using "Find My" as that normalizes & habituates us to tracking & being tracked.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Mark Hurst:

@DjLorraine Masanjia, 马三家劳教所, on Wikipedia here - en.wikipedia.org...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm Mark Hurst:

@coel thanks
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm DjLorraine:

Poor fingers
  6:28pm Roland from Australia:

China = Rome Empire
  6:29pm Old Dave:

Yikes, disturbing. You are describing slavery...
  6:29pm mazudog:

Did you know the US also relies on prison slave labor?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm Carmichael:

Yep, the Prison Industry Authority.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm Carmichael:

"How much do prison workers get paid per hour?
$0.30 to $1.25 per hour. Standard pay is $0.30 to $0.90 per hour for non Prisoner Employment Program (PEP) and non capital projects work. Long term construction projects approved for capital budget compensation for prisoner construction labor pay up to $0.75-$1.25 per hour."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:33pm tim from champaign (now washington):

This is the saddest Techtonic yet. I'm glad this conversation is being aired.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:34pm WR:

OMG. This program is so depressing. Please please please keep testing these stories so they can be heard.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm chresti:

Carmichael, I was just thinking about Prison labor in US.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm WR:

Tim from champaign, I did not read your post before writing mine.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Mark Hurst:

I want to weigh in to agree that exploitation of US prisoners is a real & serious issue, and in fact there are tech companies that are building products to amplify & profit from that exploitation. *However* - this particular show is focused on China - and there are some categorical differences between China & US exploitation (maybe I'll get into those if/when I get to a show around US-based exploitation). One difference is that your iPhone or Google phone almost certainly makes use of Chinese forced labor - not US.
  6:37pm Old Dave:

Sears and Kmart are long gone, Mark. Look at the crap 5 Below, various Dollar chains and Target are flooding into my kids' lives... all from China.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm tim from champaign (now washington):

WR - no problem!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Carmichael:

Mark, I just wanted to point out that China is not the only country using prisoner labor.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Mark Hurst:

@Old Dave true... dollar stores and Amazon have taken up the business that Sears & Kmart used to have. As well as the forced labor.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm tim from champaign (now washington):

I'm curious to know how a person gets to the drug detox center and what defines t he need for drug detox. Ids it voluntary? (I assume not) Does the individual actually have an addiction or were they just busted for possession?
  6:40pm Listener Robert:

How WOULD you verify that a product anywhere was NOT produced by slaves? Seems you'd have to physically go to the factory and see if the workers were chained down or something.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm chris in the redwoods:

hi, Mark and folks. welcome back to studio A, Mark!
my brain doesn't want to process all this info... i need to start making everything i use, i think. jeez.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Mark Hurst:

@Tim what Amelia points out is that the drug detox center is often a front for what is essentially a detention camp where anyone - political dissidents, petty criminals, human rights lawyers, etc. - can get "disappeared" into, with no trial.
Avatar 6:42pm Fox:

Almost everything we buy is artificially too cheap. It keeps us from valuing what we have.

I've been trying to treat everything I own as though I'd made it from scratch. Or at least considering what went into it's creation.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm chresti:

I mostly buy Recycled clothes, made in usa clothes are very expensive.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Ah, thanks Mark.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm tim from champaign (now washington):

chresti - that's the way to go.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm chresti:

It trash, cheap high turnover clothes.
  6:45pm Old Dave:

Fast fashion - you said it!
  6:45pm Sam:

Slavery plus surveillance is so terrifying. Would Harriet Tubman have succeeded at liberating so many people if there had been video surveillance everywhere?
Avatar 6:47pm herb.nyc:

(Out of the shower 10’ ago)
This is a very sobering and “look in the mirror” story, the forced labor camps and consumerism.

And earlier, mark mentioned e-waste. And my employee accepts it. We do w’end pop ups in nyc area. Try lesecologycenter dot org for info. (Neil Hamburger sez yes, go there)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Another reason to stay the fuck off of social media.
  6:47pm castor:

Hi everyone! I just want to say that we should not see the dilemma as either cheap stuff made by modern day slaves or expensive stuff made by well-paid workers. The problem is the pple in the middle, the bosses and CEO's that take way more money then they deserve, making millions of profits. If clothing or products were made in worker run factories they would be of higher quality, affordable AND workers would get paid well.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm chresti:

Agree castor.
  6:50pm Old Dave:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R9YJWxQ_ss

From Junos last night
  6:51pm Groover:

Honest by Bruno pieters is an interesting concept! Every last detail and source of the garment is recorded on their site. I saw him speak about his disillusionment with the industry being an inspiration for the brand.... very cool guy!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm DjLorraine:

Pang
Avatar 6:52pm Fox:

Yeah, I also try to buy everything used I possibly can. We have enough crap.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm chresti:

Shop from ethical companies? There are some.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm HyperDose:

Thanks, Mark & Amelia. I remember John Oliver covered the labor camps a while back. Glad that it's still being discussed. Hoping for change.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm chresti:

Generic person.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Is Ultra Fast Fashion a company or a term?
  6:54pm Sam:

I get all my T-shirts ethically, from WFMU! Though I don’t really know where or how they’re made.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm DjLorraine:

Thank you for raising awareness
  6:55pm Old Dave:

Thoughts on the 15% corporate tax Mark?
Such a great show, many thanks.
Avatar 6:55pm Fox:

Yes, please do. I know there's a lot of products made in American prisons as well.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Follow up show!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm WR:

More more, more.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm chresti:

Thanks Mark and Amelia!

Sam, made by certified WFMU labor.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Thanks, Mark. Keep up the great work!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm ultradamno:

I did get an Amazon box today, but it was just repurposed by Doc Wör Mirran to send some CDs
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm People Like Us:

thanks Mark!
  6:57pm castor:

thank you Mark!
Avatar 6:57pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
  6:57pm Sam:

Or cover up your Ring with a WFMU bumper sticker.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm People Like Us:

sing it yourself
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm chris in the redwoods:

thanks, Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Rockwell!!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:10pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark! Thanks Amelia!
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