(BEIJING) — In the midst of a growing outcry, China appears to be responding to criticism that prison authorities failed to provide sufficient care to ailing Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, saying that he received regular health checks but nothing abnormal was detected until May. Liu, 61, has been released from prison on medical parole…
Could the barbarity be at an end? It just might according to jubilant animal rights activists, who say this year’s Yulin dog meat festival — where 2,000 to 3,000 canines are rounded up, forced into cramped cages, bludgeoned to death and eaten — has been canceled by authorities in the southern Chinese city.
Citing local sources, campaign groups say the sale of dog meat has been banned from a week prior to the June 21 annual festival, with offenders facing arrest and fines of $15,000. The move was apparently ordered by Yulin’s new Chinese Communist Party Secretary Mo Gong Ming in a bid to reform the city’s image after a sustained international outcry. A petition calling for the festival to be abolished gained 11 million signatures last year.
“Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect, leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade,” says Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Project, an anti-dog and cat meat campaign group. “This ban is consistent with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better.”
However, it is unclear how any ban can be enforced, especially when the annual festival brings a healthy injection of cash to the city of 7 million. As the event has never been officially sanctioned, some advocates doubt the government’s ability to prevent individuals from partaking.
“Eating dog has been Yulin people’s tradition for quite a long time,” Ms. Tan, the owner of Three-Six Delicious Meat Restaurant in Yulin, tells TIME by phone. “I haven’t heard our government will stop the festival, or stop the selling of dog meat.”
While eating dog and cat has historic cultural roots in China, like many Asian nations, activists say the Yulin festival was only concocted in 2010 by dog meat traders and tenuously linked to the summer solstice. In fact, dog meat is much more common in China’s rural north, even as the nation’s burgeoning urban middle class increasingly keep well-preened pedigrees as pets.
“More people like dogs now, and especially in Beijing a lot have pet dogs,” says housewife Cheng Jie, while walking her four-year-old Pekingese by Beijing’s Houhai Lake. “But because there is rabies, a lot of people are still afraid of dogs and many parents teach their children to be wary of dogs.”
Activists say most of the 10 million dogs and around four million cats killed for meat each year in China are strays and stolen pets. The unregulated nature of the trade helps the spread of rabies and cholera, according to the World Health Organization. China has the second highest number of reported rabies cases in the world, with an average of 2,000 deaths per year for the past 10 years. About 90% of cases are due to dog bites.
“Most dog meat currently on the market doesn’t have a legal certificate,” says Li Weimin, a lawyer based in Beijing who has worked on the legality of dog meat. “It’s hard to tell the enforcement of the new rule in Yulin, but it’s progress. Other cities will watch Yulin closely and may follow its example.”
Even so, economics means the wider dog meat trade will likely continue. Because the majority of dog meat comes from stolen pets, there are no rearing costs, making it much cheaper than pork, chicken or beef, for example. Activists want stricter enforcement on existing prohibitions on the transportation of live animals to stamp out the trade for good.
“The Yulin dog meat festival is not over just yet,” says Peter Li, China Policy specialist at Humane Society International. “But if this news is true as we hope, it is a really big nail in the coffin for a gruesome event that has come to symbolize China’s crime-fueled dog meat trade.”
Edited For mb3-org.com
By Nina Golgowski
An Arizona woman’s purchase has weighed on her conscience ever since she discovered a chilling note folded up inside, she says.
Christel Wallace opened a zippered pouch in her new Walmart handbag in March and found a mysterious note written in Chinese, The Arizona Daily Star reported on Saturday.
After her daughter-in-law helped her locate a translator, Wallace learned the note was a cry for help describing conditions at a prison in Guangxi, China.
The unidentified person said prisoners work 14-hour days without breaks, endure beatings for unfinished work, and have medical treatment docked from their already-meager pay.
“Being a prisoner in China is even worse than being a horse, cow, sheep, pig or dog in the U.S.,” reads the letter, translated by HuffPost.
“My heart went into my stomach,” Wallace told the Daily Star.
Wallace’s daughter-in-law, Laura Wallace, said the note opened her eyes to the lives of laborers who create such bargain buys. Wanting to help, she decided to spread the word about the note’s contents.
“I don’t have the means or the access to help in any way. So I think this was my way of putting in my two cents,” she told local Tucson station KVOA. “I don’t want this to be an attack on any store … That’s not the answer. This is happening at all kinds of places and people just probably don’t know.”
A Walmart spokesperson, reached by HuffPost on Monday, encouraged Wallace to contact Walmart and share the note so the company could “verify the letter’s authenticity.”
“We care that our products are sourced responsibly and transparently, and we take allegations like this seriously,” wrote Ragan Dickens, Walmart’s director of national media relations, in an email. “With the limited information we now have, it is difficult to verify the letter’s authenticity.”
According to Walmart’s “standards for suppliers” posted online, laborers are prohibited from working excessive hours, being forced to work and working without pay.
U.S. consumers have discovered similar pleas for help in Kmart and Saks Fifth Avenue products.
In 2013, a former inmate of China’s Masanjia Labor Camp told The New York Times he’d written a note hidden inside Halloween decorations sold at an Oregon Kmart.
The man, who asked only to be identified by his last name, Zhang, said he wrote 20 different letters during his two-year incarceration, hoping they’d eventually catch the attention of a human rights organization.
Here is the full text of the note, translated by HuffPost:
Inmates in the Yingshan Prison in Guangxi, China are working 14 hours daily with no break/rest at noon, continue working overtime until 12 midnight, and whoever doesn’t finish his work will be beaten. Their meals are without oil and salt. Every month, the boss pays the inmate 2000 yuan [about $290], any additional dishes will be finished by the police. If the inmates are sick and need medicine, the cost will be deducted from the salary. Being a prisoner in China is even worse than being a horse, cow, sheep, pig or dog in the U.S.
After police shot and killed a Chinese man in Paris, protesters clashed with police. The case has caused diplomatic tension between France and China and heightened concerns among local Chinese, Jake Cigainero reports.
By Jake Cigainero
His family says he was holding scissors because he had been cutting fish. French police claim he attacked them, and shot him in self-defense. Authorities have opened an investigation into the death of a Chinese national, and China is calling for more protection for its citizens in France.
Paris’ Chinese population is now looking for more security and assurance from the French government. Tamara Lui, president of the association “Chine de France – Francais de Chine” in Paris, says the city’s Chinese inhabitants already felt unsafe in the streets of some neighborhoods, especially after a Chinese shopkeeper was killed in a mugging last year.
Now after police shot someone from their community under unclear circumstances, she says they don’t know where to turn.
“Because this drama was caused by the police, we don’t know what to do. Today it’s them who kill us,” Lui told DW. “We don’t know anymore who we can ask for help.”
Monday night about 150 people gathered outside the police commissariat in Paris’s 19th district to protest the death of a Chinese man killed by police at his home. The northeast area of the city is home to one of Paris’s largest Chinese communities.
The demonstration in front of the police station began peacefully but deteriorated later in the evening when security forces tried to disperse the crowd. By the end a police car and trashcans had been set on fire, and police detained 35 people. Three officers were lightly injured. Protests continued Tuesday evening, where clashes with police were smaller than the previous night.
According to police, officers responded to a call on a family dispute Sunday evening. They say Shaoyo Liu, a 56-year-old father of five, tried to attack them when they broke through his door, and so one officer opened fire. A police spokesman told French media that the officer acted in self-defense.
The family’s lawyer, Calvin Job, said they “totally contest” the police’s version of events, and that Liu didn’t try to injure anyone. Job told French media that Liu had been cutting fish with one of his daughters when police attempted to enter the apartment. Security forces allegedly broke down the door and shot Liu at pointblank range in front of his children.
Police say it was a neighbor who called emergency services and reported hearing shouting. The Liu family’s lawyer also denies that there was any shouting from the Liu apartment. Le Figaro reported that in 2012 Liu was arrested at his home and sent to a psychiatric hospital after a call to police from the same neighbor.
The case has put pressure on diplomatic relations between France and China. China’s foreign ministry summoned a French diplomat in Beijing to explain and demanded France better protect “the security and rights” of its national citizens. They also asked that French authorities thoroughly investigate to “shed light on this case.”
France’s foreign ministry responded that the safety of Chinese people in the country was a high national priority.
The Chinese government’s statement was assuring as it let expats to know that the government still supported them even in other countries, Lui says.
In previous years, China has called on France to reinforce security measures for its citizens after a string of robberies targeting Chinese tourists.
Community members feel unsafe
Lui says the Chinese community is “an extremely easy target for delinquents,” especially in the suburbs. The police shooting of Shaoyo has only diminished their confidence in French security forces.
“We don’t exactly feel protected by the state,” says Lui, who has been in France more than 20 years. “There isn’t a sufficient police presence in the streets. There aren’t enough cameras. So we don’t feel protected in some neighborhoods.”
Last September, thousands of protestors from the community marched in Paris after shopkeeper Zhang Chaolin died from injuries in a robbery in the northern suburb of Aubervilliers.
In the same Paris neighborhood as the most recent drama, a Chinese supermarket’s sliding door glass remains cracked from an attempted robbery in February. A woman who did not want to be identified said it was not the first time. She added that Chinese have become less safe in the streets of Paris.
Lui says the Chinese population frequently feels like police response comes very late and that victims wait a long time. She says since a lot of Chinese expats don’t speak French well, it’s difficult for them to explain when reporting crimes, and that they feel the police aren’t very welcoming or helpful to them.
Lui suggests the police and the Chinese community should work together to improve the reception of Chinese inhabitants when they go to report crimes. “But not just for us, for everyone and other populations.”
“We’re like others. Maybe we are seen as easy targets because Chinese people have a reputation of being quiet, not causing trouble, not speaking French well. All of this constitutes a type of myth about the Chinese,” says Lui. “But we’re not the only victims.”
BEIJING—Zhou Youguang, a linguist considered the father of modern China’s Pinyin Romanization system, died Saturday at the age of 111.
Born in 1906 during China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing, Mr. Zhou died at his home in Beijing, one day after celebrating his birthday, according to state broadcaster Chinese Central Television and other official media outlets.
After receiving a Western-style education at Shanghai’s St. John’s University, Mr. Zhou moved to the U.S. and for a time worked as a banker on Wall Street.
Returning to China along with other idealistic youths after the communist victory in 1949, he was placed in charge of a committee working on a new system to allow Chinese characters to be converted into Roman script.
Adopted by the People’s Republic in 1958, Pinyin has virtually become the global standard due to its simplicity and consistency, although some Chinese communities, especially in Taiwan and Hong Kong, continue to use alternatives. In the era of computers and smartphones, Pinyin has become more ubiquitous than ever, with traditionalists lamenting that it is supplanting the original Chinese characters from which it derives.
Mr. Zhou went on to work on an official Chinese translation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and write on topics including the evolution of Chinese historical languages and scripts.
In his later years, he became a scathing critic of the ruling Communist Party and an advocate for political reform, making him persona non grata at official events. He continued writing even after age 100, although many of his books were banned and the government censored discussion about his work online.
Mr. Zhou told America’s National Public Radio in a 2011 interview that he hoped to live long enough to see China’s government acknowledge that the bloody crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests was a mistake and the victims bore no guilt. That has yet to happen, and the topic remains taboo.
”Ordinary people no longer believe in the Communist Party anymore,” Mr. Zhou said in the interview. “The vast majority of Chinese intellectuals advocate democracy.”
Image:archivenet Breaking news received from the Anonymous collective #blackhat reports that some 1500 China-linked usernames and passwords have been hacked as part of the ongoing #Op_Tibet action. This latest strike, taken in support of Tibet’s cause for human rights and national freedom has left many Chinese websites exposed and vulnerable to further attacks. Sincere thanks […]
Photo courtesy of Dossier Tibet News broke today of a Tibetan who self-immolated in protest at China’s violent and illegal occupation of Tibet, the incident happened around 5pm local Tibetan time. At present we are waiting on confirmation of details and shall update this post. Many thanks to Claudio Tecchio of Dossier Tibet for the […]