Countries Fighting Pandemic Reject Shoddy Medical Goods Made in China

By Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.
April 27, 2020Updated: April 27, 2020

Germany, Belgium, and Holland are the latest countries to reject Chinese-manufactured medical supplies after the quality of the goods was found to be sub-standard.

Protective masks are one of the key personal protective equipment (PPE) in efforts to prevent the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. Medical staff need them to protect themselves while treating patients, while ordinary citizens need to wear them when going outside.

China is among the world’s largest manufacturing bases for PPE and other medical supplies.

In the wake of international rejections, the Chinese regime conducted its own inspections on exported goods and confiscated 89 million unqualified masks.

‘All Junk’

“Eleven million masks, all junk,” German Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said on April 24, Germany’s Der Spiegel reported.

The director of a German textile company purchased medical masks from China, who said his employees checked the products and found that they were of bad quality.

The filter function of some masks did not work properly, while others had broken elastic cords.

The 11 million masks were planned for an April 13 shipment to Germany, but the company director canceled the order. The company later found a different Chinese supplier to purchase the masks.

Brussels Times reported on April 9 that Belgium had to reject three million masks that were imported from China “because they did not meet the required quality standards.”

“At first glance, there were problems with them. We had them tested. The Federal Public Economy Service confirmed that the [Chinese] supplier had not been able to provide conclusive test certificates, and that the masks were of unacceptable quality after an additional test in a Belgian lab,” the report quoted Belgium digital agenda minister Philippe De Backer as saying.

The Netherlands also recalled 600,000 faulty masks from Dutch hospitals at the end of March. These masks were part of a shipment of 1.3 million masks that were purchased and imported from China on March 21.

Chinese Claims

On April 26, the Chinese regime addressed about the quality of exported medical supplies at a press conference in Beijing held by the State Council, a cabinet-like agency.

Jin Hai, director of the general department at China’s General Administration of Customs, said that China had exported 55 billion yuan ($7.76 billion) worth of medical supplies from March 1 to April 25.

Those consisted of 21.1 billion facial masks, 109 million protective suits, 32.94 million goggles, 763 million pairs of surgical gloves, 110,000 monitoring machines, and 9.29 million infrared thermometers.

With regard to bad-quality products, Li Xingqian, director of the foreign trade department at China’s Commerce Ministry, claimed that this was because Chinese standards were different from those of other countries, causing some exported medical supplies to be returned.

Li admitted that some Chinese exporters exported non-medical masks as medical masks, while some Chinese manufacturers sold their products at “an abnormal price.”

On April 26, Gan Lin, deputy head of China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, spoke  about counterfeit and shoddy protective materials at another press conference held by the State Council in Beijing.

Gan said authorities confiscated 89.05 million masks, 418,000 other protective materials, 7.6 million yuan ($1.07 million) worth of disinfectant products, and more, without specifying the time frame.

Gan said there were four types of unqualified protective products in China: products that can’t meet regulatory standards; non-medical products sold as medical products and bad quality products sold as good quality ones; products packed without production date, manufacturer’s name, qualification certification, and so on; and counterfeit products.

US Lawyer

Dan Harris, a lawyer at the Seattle-based Harris Bricken International Law Firm, posted on his firm’s website on April 21 about scams initiated by PPE suppliers in China.

Harris said that his law firm helped research suppliers in China, to ensure that clients who need to purchase PPE are not scammed.

In the past few months, the law firm found that some Chinese companies used internet-bought certifications to export unqualified products, while some Chinese exporters were brokers who did not have anything on hand. They would send buyers whatever they can get or take the money and send nothing. Some exporters did not have the authority to export, while other times, employees of a certified company would sell the products illegally.

Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.