The iron fist strikes again. Not long after initiating wide-scale shutdowns of manufacturing operations across large swaths of the country (everything from steel, cement, paper and electricity production to autobody shops) comes this news from the backpackers at Outside Blog (h/t China Law Blog):
You've seen the tag on your high-tech camping gear from brands like Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, and The North Face: Made in China. SNEWS reports today that as part of its disaster relief efforts, the Chinese government has seized control of all Chinese-owned tent factories and existing stock. The report puts Chinese army soldiers on factory floors for at least a month, maybe more. The move may have some effect on US suppliers gearing up for the outdoor season, and could bottleneck production into the spring of 2009.
With the rainy season approaching and bringing the threat of massive disease outbreaks, nearly five million homeless and reports of 19 people living in a single tent, the situation is dire enough that I really don't blame the Chinese government for this move. In fact, it's better for world health that they get all the tents, medical supplies, etc. that they need, immediately.
My question is, say the U.S. population was in a similarly dire situation -- would we even have anything to seize?