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Reaction to fake Chinese military parts

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A story by Greg Weston, CBC News national affairs specialist, about counterfeit electronics from China making their way into U.S. and Canadian military equipment brought in a lot of reaction after airing on The National last night.

DougieD, who says he works in the electronics business, says electronics made in China are usually suspect.

"Parts manufactured by Chinese companies - even if they aren't counterfeit- are usually horrible quality. Chinese electrolytic capacitors are so bad there should be legislation against importing products containing them.

"I tell my customers, 'Wait until those parts find their way into a piece of medical equipment, or an aircraft, or nuclear equipment.'

"My business is rebuilding vintage audio equipment. It's a nuisance, but no great disaster, if a replacement part fails. Still, quality work and reliability are crucial to my reputation; If a part is suspiciously cheap, I don't buy it. There's a good chance it's not the real McCoy."

CBC Community member Jbnova says the problem is larger than bogus parts from China.

"During WWII, the U.S. and Canada relied on their great industrial strength, and in no small part it help them win the war. Fast forward 70 years. Thanks to globalization and free trade, North America doesn't have an industrial base anymore. We may assemble things here but for the most part things are made off shore. Which begs the question, what happens if you have to go to war against the guys who make your stuff?"

Many of our commenters were suspicious of the Conservative government's reaction to the story.

  • "Typical of the Conservatives. 'Don't worry, trust us. We know better than the largest military establishment in the world.' It seems as if the Conservatives just live in their own make believe world and cannot face up to fact and reality. Deny, deny, deny truth even when confronted with irrefutable proof," said tabootom.

  • "It took six days for the Harper government to decide how best to avoid being responsible in any way for another debacle. One more sad retreat from its avowed state of perfection," said newfire.

  • "It's sad to think that Harper places more importance on party image than on the safety of service men and women," said Wilde West.

  • "It's surprising that counterfeit parts from China are in American military aircraft given the amount of documentation that is required by DOD. But what I find more surprising is Julian Fantino's and Rona Ambrose's reactions. It seems that they don't even care," said Quiet Hazel

But some also cast suspicious on the Americans conducting the investigation.

  • "I'd be concerned, but also aware that the American Armed Services Committee is also very pro-'Buy American.' This could be more about protectionism than parts," said gliblib.

  • "Does anybody with a smattering of computer knowledge believe that old, obsolete, computer components can be rejuvenated into state of the art missile defense systems by simply rubbing off the labels and applying new ones? For that matter, once the original labels are removed, how would the part be identified? Sounds like another U.S. snow job," said Georooney.

  • "This story sounds very like protectionism. If enough blame can be heaped on a foreign manufacturer, then the only 'prudent' alternative is to make the component at home from scratch. Yes, this is just another form of tariff barrier. Let's mislead everyone with unverifiable statements and fear will rule the day," said PhilipLucas.

Thank you, as always, for following our coverage. Please feel free to comment on or challenge any of these points and continue the conversation below.

Tags: Armed Forces, Community, Community Reaction

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