Should China’s people feel pride that the state of California contracted over two dozen giant steel modules for the San Francisco Bay Bridge out to a firm in Shanghai rather than building them in America? In this article from the state-run Beijing Youth Daily, the author, Wang Chuantao, mixes in equal measure national pride over the progress this represents for the “Made in China” label, and self criticism, by acknowledging that Chinese should demand construction standards at least as high in their own country.
For the Beijing Youth Daily, Wang Chuantao writes in part:
People often find the words “Made in China” on cheap toys, inexpensive T-shirts, and simple electronics parts. But recently, a famous American landmark and one of the world’s longest bridges, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, was branded with the ‘Made in China’ stamp. The $7.2 billion Bay Bridge reconstruction is one of the most expensive projects in California history. Once finished, the bridge will be reborn as one of the world’s great landmarks. But it will be the new eastern span of the bridge that will be especially noticeable, as that is the part “Made in China.”
To look at this from a wider perspective, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is now the true ‘pride of China’ for the following two reasons: First, because of its high standard of quality, which is the only way “Made in China” could have ever become the ‘pride of China.’ This is a bridge that makes people feel at ease; that can sustain a level 8 earthquake; and meet design requirements necessitated by a 150-200-year-long bridge lifespan.
But beyond being the “pride of China,” what the San Francisco Bay Bridge project demonstrates is that if corruption and back-door dealing are eradicated and the standards of inspection, regulation and quality control reinforced, we in China are capable of the same high-quality construction obtained at the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Chinese people should not have to leave home to experience the “pride of China.”
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