Archive for June 11th, 2008

Olympic Battery Crackdown

(Apologies for the recent lack of posts; a combination of weather, power, and computer problems have left me unable to post for a bit.)

Last December, the (United States) government instituted new rules regarding the transport of lithium batteries on airplanes, recognizing – and many would argue over-reacting to – the threat of damaged or defective lithium batteries turning into unholy firebombsfire hazards. Somewhat surprisingly, China – yes, China, land of frequently lax standards – has followed suit, banning the export of (at least some types of) lithium batteries by air carriers like DHL or FedEx, or via “priority” or “EMS” postal service. Unlike the American rule, however, China’s restrictions only apply until after the 2008 summer Olympics are over. Cynically, this leads one to suspect that Chinese officials are less concerned with absolute safety than avoiding any further disasters while media attention are focussed on them. Even more cynically, one could argue that China are largely unconcerned about the (very slim) chance of a plane out of the country bursting into flames because of an onboard battery, and would instead prefer that the notional government response, if any, to such an incident not be criticized by the world’s media jackals – at least before the Olympics. After the Olympics are over, obviously, Beijing couldn’t care less what happens…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General, Security | on June 11th, 2008 | No Comments »