Tags: forgery | china | fakes | art | drugs

Chinese Fakes Can Have Deadly Consequences

Tuesday, 11 November 2014 12:33 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Chinese counterfeits inundate the Internet on websites like eBay, Amazon and Alibaba, but most sellers do not admit they’re offering fakes for sale.

Beijing’s Silk Alley only sells counterfeit products. China’s online shopping network Taobao has 500,000,000 users and 48,000 items are sold each minute, many of which are Chinese fakes. The anonymity of the Web allows sellers’ identities to be concealed by using encrypted communications, and dangerous or deadly products are sold including chain saws that snap; exploding airbags that ignite into flames; faulty brake pads; flammable lithium batteries; weight loss drugs like Alli that may cause strokes and heart attacks; toys that can choke, cut or kill children; construction sheet rock that rapidly deteriorates and molds, and more.

The FBI says that the underground economy of fakes robs businesses of $250 billion a year in sales and eliminates over 750,000 jobs.

Chinese officials claim counterfeiting is the price foreign companies must pay to do business in their country, yet they become irate whenever their forgers replicate Chinese paper money, coins, and historical antiquities. Those who permit ruthless people to dupe others by selling them fakes shouldn’t be surprised when the forgers they trained take advantage of them. Dog eats dog.

China’s counterfeiters are faking thousands of Chinese, American, and European gold and silver coins. They also cover with a thin layer of silver or gold base metal alloys to replicate bullion bars. In many countries it is considered an act of war to counterfeit another country’s currency.

The Chinese Daily Web reports that almost 95 percent of items sold as ancient Chinese antiquities are not authentic. They’ve been forged for centuries. In 2014, the Lucheng Museum and the Jibaozhai Museum were closed after exhibiting a majority of fake artifacts.

Recently, 73-year-old Pei-Shen Qian (a Chinese citizen) was identified in America as the forger of over $80 million worth of Modernist paintings, including works by Rothko, Motherwell, Pollock, and DeKooning. After having tricked the “experts,” Qian fled the country and is at large.

Playing Russian Roulette With Lethal Fakes

Many Chinese phony products made with low-grade components or illegal ingredients are hazardous and lethal. More than 60 percent of Chinese imports into the U.S. account for product recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission because they are unsafe.

Whenever anyone makes counterfeit drugs and sells them as the real deal to consumers, innocent people can become ill or die. No one is immune.

Hundreds of Chinese babies died or became extremely sick after being fed counterfeit baby formula laced with a deadly chemical to make a diluted product appear to have high protein content.

It is believed that 10 percent to 15 percent of pharmaceutical products sold are bogus and Pfizer claims that 107 countries fake its drugs. These drugs are sold on the Internet, in stores and some have infiltrated pharmacies throughout the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

Knockoff pills are cheaper than real drugs. Those who aren’t wealthy enough to pay for costly drugs search to find less expensive drugs and counterfeits fill that bill. 

The most popular fake drugs are Viagra; potassium iodide; the heart medication Plavix; the counterfeit cancer drug Avastia and the blood-thinning drug Heparin (which killed 149 people in 2007-2008). It has been well documented that the terrorist organization Hezbollah profits from selling counterfeit drugs, according to a report from CNN, "The Deadly World of Fake Medicine," and "How Can Counterfeit Drugs be Useful to Terrorists?" from SafeMedicines.org. 

The Worst Is yet to Come

The invention of 3-D scanning systems has made it easy to replicate any object and they are exceedingly difficult to detect. With a working template, 3 dimensional objects can be made exactly like originals by using layers of plastic, metals and other components. 3-D scanning systems have already produced working, functional guns; cars; paintings with museum exhibition labels on their stretchers; musical instruments; camera lenses; looms; medical machines and pills; iPhones; lights; clocks; food.

3-D scanning weakens the work force and could completely revolutionize how all objects are produced and marketed. If no one can tell what is and what is not “an original” because 3-D scanning creates exact replicas of originals, how will value or cost be determined for originals in the future?

Deteriorating Worth of Originals

The concept of owning “an original” is eroding. If a person purchases from Herm�s a genuine $55,000 handbag and a 3-D scan template is made of that handbag and it is replicated 500,000 times, will the original be more or less valuable?

Some might think the original will be rarer, but the fact of the matter is, if no one can identify an original from a knockoff, or if the original can be switched with a 3-D scanned object and go undetected, then most people would conclude the original is worth what the reproduced handbag sells for, because they all will be exact duplicates.

Thus, designer companies like Herm�s, Gucci, Fendi, Cartier, Tiffany, Louis Vitton, and other high-end retailers may be forced to change the way they sell and promote merchandise. If demand to own original products drops dramatically, prices will fall and top designers may be forced to conduct business as common discount chain stores that compete for business with counterfeiters.

Patricia Jobe Pierce is a freelance writer, art historian, art dealer-consultant, certified AAA appraiser, public speaker, photographer and American art authenticator for museums, auction houses and collectors. She graduated from Boston University with a BFA in 1965, is owner and director of Pierce Galleries, Inc. in Nantucket and Hingham, Mass., and is author of many works, including, "Art Collecting & Investing: The Inner Workings and the Underbelly of the Art World." For more of her submissions, Click Here Now.


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The FBI says that the underground economy of fakes robs businesses of $250 billion a year in sales and eliminates over 750,000 jobs. Worse - fake pharmaceuticals can have deadly consequences.
forgery, china, fakes, art, drugs
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 12:33 PM
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