Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Held Hostage in a Toy Factory

Read David Barboza's piece on My Time as a Hostage, and I'm a Business Reporter, which describes how he is held hostage at the Thomas & Friends toy factory in China:

“You’ve intruded on our property,” one factory boss shouted at me. “Tell me, what exactly is the purpose of this visit?” When I answered that I had come to meet the maker of a toy that had recently been recalled in the United States because it contained lead paint, he suggested I was really a commercial spy intent on stealing the secrets to the factory’s toy manufacturing process.

“How do I know you’re really from The New York Times?” he said. “Anyone can fake a name card.”

Thus began our interrogation, which was followed by hours of negotiations, the partial closing of the factory complex and the arrival of several police cars, a handful of helmet-wearing security officers and some government officials, all trying to free an American journalist and his colleagues from a toy factory.