Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Two Letters to The Call on Coke in China and The Call’s Response

First Published: The Call, Vol. 8, No. 5, February 5, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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I am writing in concern of my friends in China. I do not see the benefit of having a Coke company in China. It has done damage to our people in health and the air we breathe. I would be glad to see iron and steel mills teach the Chinese people more about this business.

I was privileged when I went to China this year to see an iron and steel mill there. It was worked very well by the people, but they can learn more about the machines, the safety of these machines and also about pollution.

Also, the people of China can use the farm materials and machines to help cultivate and make farm life easy for them, but what is the purpose of importing things like Coke, beauty parlors, and movies?

In the American papers I have seen things that disgusted me like pictures of the Chinese women sitting under hair dryers. The Chinese women do not need these Western things to make themselves beautiful, because they are beautiful in nature’s giving ways.

Buffalo, N.Y.

Although I must confess that during a 1976 visit to the People’s Republic of China I “smuggled” in eight cans of Coca-Cola in my suitcase for personal consumption, I still must take exception to your analysis of the Coke-In-China deal.

The rationalization that China’s efforts to do away with backwardness in its soft drink industry by the introduction of the more “advanced” product Coca-Cola is a bit hard to swallow.

It seems absurd to argue that Coke, with a higher sugar content than China’s orange Chi Shui, is superior. If the Chinese adhere to Chairman Mao’s principle of learning what is advanced in other countries on this subject, their attention would be focused on recent nutrition research. Mounting scientific evidence clearly shows the increase in sugar in the diet to be a significant factor in increased heart disease, obesity, hypoglycemia, diabetes and dental caries.

Study of the deterioration of the health of the Japanese people following the introduction of Western “junk” food (such as Coke) should be ample evidence for the Chinese to be more vigilant in the choice of products to be imported. In this case, I do not believe the Chinese have ascertained “truth from facts.”

True, “Coca-Cola won’t turn back the Chinese revolution.” Neither will it benefit the health of the Chinese people or their tourist friends.

Detroit, Mi.

The Call responds:

We appreciate the keen interest being taken by our readers in the new trade policies of socialist China. While our writers seem to agree, with the positive character of China’s industrial and capital imports and trade with the West, they mainly take issue with things like Coca Cola and Western beauty styles as being “unessential” or “unhealthy. ”

We would ask them, can’t the politically advanced people of a socialist country decide what to eat, drink or wear? Would you suggest the U.S. workers under socialism could only wear one hair style or be allowed only one type of food or liquid refreshment?

While it cannot be argued that Coke or other soft drinks are healthy, millions of people seem to enjoy them. The same can be said for sweets, Cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.

While the Cokes are mainly for sale to foreign tourists, and the hair styles, which have long been popular among women in Canton and other big cities, are seen as a luxury for special occasions, it seems that the Chinese like all other working people who have become the masters of their own country, want more than just the basics. They want “bread and roses” too.

We have seen from our own visits to China that socialism produces happier and healthier people than capitalism ever could, and that the backwards, narrow trade policies of the “gang of four” were the real threat to the health and welfare of the Chinese people.