Most of the gear that is available to me for purchase, inevitably comes from China*. I have dreams of Hardinge, Schaublin and Myford, but the truth is I've never actually seen any examples of them with my own two eyes. In my part of the world (Australia), they rarely if ever turn up for sale, and importing them new (or even s/h) is prohibitive. So, like you I suspect, I'm stuck with the stuff from China.
But is that such a bad thing?
For one thing, your dollar goes further. A lot further. You can get a whole home shop started, with the money you might have dropped on a s/h restored Myford (assuming you could find one). Yes its substandard equipment, in almost every respect, but it will get you well and truly started on machining. As opposed to having a sweet little Myford on the bench, with nothing left over in the wallet, to buy anything else.
With the money left over, you can splash out on the better cutting tools, put them in the cheapo machine, and start making beautiful chips. Believe me, it makes a difference.
Secondly, it forces you to learn. All of the little defects, provide the perfect motivation to learn the craft of machining, and every defect made in China has a solution; it just depends on how creative you want to be with your efforts. Suddenly you're searching out mini-lathe.com and lurking around yahoo groups looking for the best ideas; maybe even coming up with your own. Before you know it, you're pushing engineering drawings in front of your wife, showing "your latest solution to the tail-stock runout problem". All very good practice, and also very good fun.
And finally it leads you inevitably to that important engineering fact: There is no such thing as perfect accuracy, just tolerances.
You are now well inside the abilities of your cheap little mini-lathe or mill, and you know what it can and can't do. You have a few little cheats and work-arounds for when it really counts, and you now have a good appreciation of when to relax and just accept +/- "whatever". And all of this was provided to you for a fraction of the price of the good stuff.
Of course, you can also crash the carriage, drop chucks on the bed and generally make all the stupidest, dumb a**, cringe-worthy mistakes a rookie can make, and know that all you've done is scar a cheap little disposable tool. But then I wouldn't know anything about that...
The dreams of course, never stop.
As always, thanks for stopping by,
* For the record: I have a Sieg SC4 Lathe, a Sieg SX3 Mill drill, and a CQ6125 9 x 20 lathe, all from "Over the pond" as Tubalcain says. My small Band Saw claims to be Taiwanese, but I think I detect a Chinese accent...
My USA made gear is top quality, and includes an outstanding (and much used) Delta 1" Belt Sander, a Bench Filing Machine made from Andy Lofquist's castings, and a fine little Sherline lathe.