Political fashions

DISDAINING short-term profits for long-term moral principles, jeans giant Levi Strauss is pulling out of China, even as other US corporations scramble to get in. The reason: Levi Strauss considers Beijing's human rights record far short of the standard it expects of its trading partners. Levi Strauss, however, will continue to buy cloth from China.

A company spokesperson notes the firm has already terminated 5 per cent of its more than 600 contracts with manufacturers in 50 countries for human rights reasons.

Shrugging off the decision, a Chinese government spokesperson said, "They're quite free to move in and out and they don't need to make excuses."