From The LA Times:
It's fairly amusing that even this sector of the economy has been outsourced to China. There could be some benefits to the Chinese pipes though. Smoking out of Chinese made glass, given the problems with lead paint and other hazardous chemicals that US products manufactured in China have had in the past, could very well give their users a wide array of added stimulation.
Customs officials at the Los Angeles Harbor received a shipment from China listed as Christmas ornaments.
But when they opened the "presents" Tuesday, they found 316,000 bongs and pipes.
“They’re very colorful and big,” said Cristina Gamez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Some of them are like 2 feet tall.”
Gamez said glass bongs and pipes, contained in nearly 860 boxes of cargo, are worth about $2.6 million.
One difference between the US and China that I often told my Chinese friends and former students is the difference in recreational drug cultures. In America, nearly one out of three college students smoke marijuana.
I'm not even going to try to find statistics for China. I can guarantee you that it is nowhere near America's rate. In fact, I couldn't imagine that it is even close to being 1%. Marijuana, from everything that I've seen in China, just isn't popular there. Whenever I told Chinese people (admittedly mostly well-to-do ones) about young Americans' largely lax attitudes towards the drug, they could not believe it.
The only times that I ever really heard anything about marijuana were in foreigner tourist spots - the little old ladies in Dali and stocks of it at hostels throughout Yunnan Province come to mind - and in the expat community in Xi'an, for which foreigners living in Xi'an did actually seem to have a system in place for getting the drug consistently (which I think is insane).
Although marijuana is not being embraced by Chinese people, drugs like ecstacy and cocaine seem to be catching on. Whenever I went out to night clubs with friends, it just seemed like such drugs were around. I wasn't offered the drugs persay, but a large portion of the people there seemed to be on something and I knew foreigners in Xi'an who were in to that sort of stuff (and found it readily available).
I think America's drug policy is screwed up. But China's is even scarier. People are executed for drug related crimes there. Messing around with such stuff in China is not a good idea, in my opinion.