Things were so much easier when we could trust a "Made in China" label.

Far removed from the toxic lead paint recalls, but just as susceptible to being called back, many of China's recent IPOs have smacked into the Great Wall of investor indifference.

It was ChinaEdu's (NASDAQ:CEDU) turn to go splat yesterday. The online-degree enabler for many Chinese universities priced its Wall Street debut at $10 yesterday, only to see it dip just shy of $8 at the close.

It's yet another sobering moment for a market that has lost its Midas touch. Fellow for-profit post-secondary schooling specialist Noah Education (NYSE:NED) is also trading well below its $14 IPO price. The markdown comes despite a healthy quarterly report last month, fueled by the company's upbeat guidance, which pegs top-line growth next year in the 30%-32% range.

Am I the only one who remembers when the market couldn't get enough of this niche -- for example, when New Oriental Education (NYSE:EDU) went public? It's still a winner; its shares have more than doubled since Bill Mann recommended the stock to Global Gains subscribers. The problem appears to be general apathy for all of the "me too" sympathy plays that are finding the ride to be brutally bumpy on the coattails.

Don't think it's just the schools getting schooled. Online gaming specialist Giant Interactive (NYSE:GA) and jeweler Fuqi (NASDAQ:FUQI) are recent Chinese IPOs trading below their original IPO prices.

How bad has it gotten? Well, let's just say that Focus Media (NASDAQ:FMCN) isn't complaining. China's leading display-advertising provider has been taking advantage of the iffy market to acquire smaller rivals that have abandoned plans to go public before a suddenly disinterested audience.

Earlier this week, it snapped up CGEN Digital, a company that watches over a fleet of ad-supported flat-panel monitors that are strategically placed in high-traffic areas. The deal could be worth as much as $350 million, though CGEN probably had bigger dreams when it filed with the SEC to go public. It would rather take the near-term certainty of a buyout today than risk becoming another busted IPO.

The same thing happened earlier this year when Focus Media acquired online advertiser Allyes, another company that had taken steps to go public as a standalone company. It's probably not a coincidence that the Allyes deal was announced a day after the Shanghai exchange tumbled 9% lower.

So as bad as things are right now, you can count on others trying to turn lemons into lemonade. Until that "Made in China" lemonade gets any sweeter, it's going to be hard for all but the slam-dunk IPO candidates to be trusted.  

Some other thoughts on buying into China now:

New Oriental Education has been a winning recommendation in the Global Gains newsletter service. A free 30-day trial subscription will give you all the freebie lemonade you can drink over the next few weeks.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of China's growth story, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.