Is It Ethical To Purchase Electronics Products Made In China?

Submitted by BuffyTheFascistSlayer in AskRaddle

A lot of people seem to think it's O.K. to buy electronics made in China. We get to buy products considerably cheaper than we otherwise would, and China by all accounts is growing, developing, and modernizing as a nation due to all the cool stuff they now make for the world. There is only one problem with that reasoning. 21st Century China has an atrocious human rights record, and almost all human rights watchdogs report that China is becoming more and more repressive each year. Freedom House put it this way in 2018: "It's worth noting that, in its attitude toward political dissent, the Chinese Communist Party has proven much harsher than the old Soviet regime of the Brezhnev era. Modern Chinese sentences are longer, the prospects for early release are far worse, and the Chinese authorities are generally unmoved by pleas for leniency from foreign diplomats." Basically, consumer dollars from around the world are not gradually creating a gentler, freer, more prosperous and more modern China at all. They are making the Chinese Communist Party richer, stronger, bolder and more aggressive and repressive in every respect. To the question: knowing what the human rights situation is in China, and that consumer dollars and euros flowing into the country from abroad is making things worse, not better, is it at all ethical to buy electronics or IT products manufactured in China?


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[deleted] wrote (edited )


edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I think the best option - which I must ashamedly admit that I don't often apply myself - is to get used devices and try to get the longest possible service life out of them. That still feeds Chinese industry and corruption, but it's probably the most practical thing we can do to reduce our impact.

Does anyone else have better ideas?


ziq wrote

Yeah. Only buy used. A 7 year old thinkpad running Linux is damn good kit.


TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote (edited )

used thinkpad user here too!

I got my phone new, but it's because the company making them went bankrupt and I got it for 25% of the price on ebay 2 years later.

e: also it was firefoxOS software and sexy af! (LG fx0)


Mango wrote (edited )

if u guys wanna make your decade old laptop run significantly faster, replace the HDD with an SSD. Most laptops that older than 5 years, the drive could be removed without any tool but only a screwdriver. same for RAM.

SSD replacement actually better and cheaper than RAM. RAM does not change your speed that much, and you pretty much get the same result with DDR or DDR2, which most 5-7 yrs old laptop use them.

Cheapest SSD can go for only $25. I'm sure some of u living in US and EU would probably get even cheaper stuff.

flip your laptop to the back, remove the battery, make sure no power running. take the small philips screwdriver, unscrew the cover, get a flat headed screwdriver, gently nudge the drive out, or if you are proficient, just slide it out. slip the SSD in, make sure it all in. if the SSD came with a docker (to raise the drive in case it wiggling), tape it in the drive before you slide it in. put everything back, boot up and install Linux.

or just go to and type in your laptop model, it will show you how to do everything


[deleted] wrote


edmund_the_destroyer wrote

? Then why resist anything bad? Why fight the republicrats? Why reduce energy use? Why eat vegan? Why support local business?


[deleted] wrote


edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I see your point. I think eating vegan might have a bigger impact than the others, but it's still small on the grand scale.

But the truth is that I'm not ready to go to war, so to speak (or literally). Protest, yes. Beyond that, not yet. So these small steps are all I am willing to do. Yes, that makes me a coward.


conseil wrote

At worst, its cheaper anyway and a good exercise in not buying into the consumerist New Thing! on the market.


celebratedrecluse wrote (edited )

tw: real talk

Fuck your ethics.

I, for one, am stick and tired of the liberal posturing on this website.

No, you're not better than anyone else for your particularly neurotic consumer choices. Half of yall frankly want to seem better, smarter, and more compassionate than average-- I suspect that's the main, or only, thing that draws you to the vicinity of radical communities. Yall need a reality check. This type of absurd poser behavior is a big part of why political struggles don't generalize: people who focus on this shit are engaging in a form of respectability politics, retooled to hit the pleasure centers on anarchist brains.

Accept now that we all, as individuals, are part of the problem. Accept that collectively, we can be part of the solution. Accept that your soy curls and recycling bins do not make you a better person.

there is no such thing as ethical consumption


conseil wrote

Well- what else are you going to do? We're all on this site, and every electronic product you can get I assure you has Chinese parts, and I don't think substituting those for Vietnamese products does much good.

Just get old shit and call it a day.


Mango wrote

good luck avoiding non-chinese made electronics. It's impossible. Most of the components from M8 screws used on every device, to lithium-ion batteries, are Chinese produced.

also lmao you linked CIA funded sources. even the CIA use electronics with components produced in China.


Mango wrote

Ah good ole Slashdot, where most of them think Chinese produced prods are bad, but probably bought their PC from Newegg where 100% prods on that side is made-in-China.

Western hypocrites have no bound.


heckthepolice2 wrote

Eating ass is the only ethical consumption under capitalism