The West's greed for cheap goods from China has a lot to answer for

Arrests of lockdown protesters and journalists in Shanghai has shocked the world, and one reader said that the West is partly to blame for China’s growth into a ‘materially successful fascist’ regime.

Increased trade with China since the Nixon era has enabled it in tightening its vice on Chinese citizens and its economic hold on developing nations while being the main contributor to the climate crisis, he argues.

Elsewhere, the talent of the late guitarist Wilko Johnson continues to strike a chord among music fans.

Also, the jury is still out on the mystery of whether UFOs and alien life really exist.

Talking of a different type of court, a reader said that 20 is far too young for tennis champ Emma Raducanu to be made an MBE. Do they have a point?

Read on to see what else people are getting off their chests.

The US made a terrible decision to open trade with China

■ Protests continue in China against the country’s strict Covid lockdown regime. A journalist was arrested covering a demo (Metro, Wed).

US president Richard Nixon made the terrible decision to open trade with China, ostensibly to ‘bring them into the fold’ but actually to get cheap consumer goods.

What is behind the rise of China to being the monster it is today?

The result was to turn a failing communist state, when I visited in 1973, into a materially successful fascist one that oppresses minorities, suppresses the freedoms of its citizens and acts as a neo-colonialist power in Africa, South America and Asia.

And, in producing the cheap goods we crave, it has become the largest emitter of CO2 on the planet. Nixon and our greed for cheap goods have a lot to answer for. Nigel Armistead, London

No hard feelings in debate over late Wilko Johnson’s strumming skills

■ Kevin from Suffolk (MetroTalk, Wed) thinks I have ‘no idea about guitarists’ because I thought Martin’s letter in praise of Dr Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson the previous day was ‘gushing’.

Kevin is clearly from the girls-can’t-play-guitar camp. And as per his suggestion, I did indeed try learning Johnson’s Going Back Home – it took me all of about five minutes to nail. This is nowhere near as long as it took me to learn Far Beyond The Sun by the Swedish virtuoso heavy-metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.

Let’s hear Kevin have a crack at that and he can report back in a year or so when he’s got past the first couple of bars. Denise Gordon, London

■ To a certain extent I think I have to agree with Denise Gordon’s observation about my letter in praise of Wilko Johnson, who died on November 21 after a battle with cancer. I think my point, though, was about how good Wilko’s stage presence was in small venues.

OK, a lot of his stuff is 12-bar strumming (albeit in a slick
style) and technically he’ll never be as good as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour or Eric Clapton etc, but for a live band in a small venue he was great.

Incidentally, I’ve never been called a ‘gusher’ before, Denise, but you make a good point – I guess my letter was a bit sickly. Anyway, no hard feelings. Martin Lawrence, South Croydon

Extra-terrestrial life would be televised

■ Steve (MetroTalk, Wed) says people who don’t believe in UFOs are ‘small-minded’. If anyone has indeed witnessed a UFO, why haven’t they used this magical device known as a mobile phone to record the footage?

Not only could they ‘prove’ all the doubters wrong, they’d be able to generate a fortune. The truth is out there. Oh, and I can’t wait for Metro to feature the iconic X-Files duo next to this comment! Mod, London

Is an MBE at 20 too much too soon?

■ Well done to Emma Raducanu on her MBE (Metro, Wed) but I can’t help thinking it’s a bit early in her career for a services to tennis award. She’s 20 years old. P, Tyne And Wear

■ On the subject of who does or doesn’t shorten their name to Mick or Mike, Dec (MetroTalk, Tue) says you’d never catch Michael Caine dong that. That’s because Michael is not his real name. It’s Maurice. Tom, Brighton

■ Here’s a quiz for Metro readers on their morning commute. Name five cars that are named after an animal. There are about 50 so it won’t be too difficult. Richard Farrar, London

■ Well done to Lois Finch for saving her dad’s life with CPR (Metro, Wed). She said ‘it was the first time I’d done anything really’. And yet she’s a third-year pupil nurse. That’s because training to be a nurse now requires having a degree, the course is more theory than it is practical. In the days before nursing degrees, pupil nurses did more practical training on the wards than theory in the classroom. I believe the former is definitely better than the latter. Anne, London

■ While everyone else struggles to make ends meet, Conservatives are worried that under Labour their £46,000 annual fees for Eton might not be exempted from VAT by it claiming to be a ‘charity’. That says it all. Christopher Clayton, via email

■ Kevin Webster from Corrie has worn the same purple bomber jacket on set for about 20 years. Can the cast buy him a new one for Christmas? Ollie C, Greenwich

And another thing…

■ Wales were knocked out of their first World Cup since 1958 after losing 3-0 to England (Metro, Wed). The Welsh fans have shown England’s fans that, even if your team loses, rather than abusing them, you can give constructive criticism and find positives in their games and players.

It’s disgusting the way some so-called English fans conduct themselves with their abuse. Let’s hope that whatever the outcome, this World Cup does not end like the European Championships, with the abuse aimed at the black players who missed penalties against Italy. Corin, London

■ Kirk (MetroTalk, Mon) says London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (Ulez), in which owners of the most polluting vehicles are charged £12.50 a day, will punish the less well-off. Yes, the air quality in London is poor.

London mayor Sadiq Khan wants us to believe that he’s doing something about it but targeting the small proportion of older vehicles is going to make (and has made) practically no difference.

The real problem is the sheer volume of traffic but Mr Khan doesn’t know what to do about that. The Ulez is being put forward as a green policy but the truth is that keeping an old car on the road is better for the planet than scrapping it and making a new one. Nick, North London

■ With a rise in atheism being the main reason for a decrease in those identifying as Christian, according to the 2021 census (Metro, Wed), it appears having no religion is fast becoming Britain’s new religion. Stefan Badham, Portsmouth

■ A chain of opticians is offering ear syringing for £55 – a simple procedure that GPs once did. Lots of elderly people are paying out and could be persuaded to buy expensive ‘hearing aids’ in a commercial setting. Pauline, Warrington

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