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Tradition or Abuse? Chinese Views on the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

What is the general view on the dog meat festival within the PRC?

Manya Koetse

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The start of the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival has made global headlines, with international celebrities and politicians condemning the event. The tradition has mainly sparked outrage outside of China, but what is the general view on the dog meat festival within the PRC?

The controversial annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival (玉林狗肉节) has started in the southwestern Chinese province of Guangxi, despite loud voices protesting its takeoff this year. The festival, that is now internationally condemned by celebrities and politicians, draws mixed reactions on Chinese social media platforms.

 

A MORAL AND LEGAL ISSUE

“Is this even legal? That’s the question.”

 

Although many dog lovers and animal welfare campaigners from around the world call on the Chinese government to stop the festival and its dog meat industry, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying recently clarified that the Yulin government has never supported or organized the festival.

The event, that is locally organized by city residents, starts from June 21st every year and has been drawing controversy since 2010. The recurring festival celebrates the summer solstice by eating lychees and dog meat. An abundance of food stalls in Yulin sell dog meat specialties throughout the event, that allegedly is a long-standing local tradition. It is estimated that around 10.000 dogs are slaughtered during the ten-day festival (Yan 2015, 46).

Is this even legal? That’s the question. China has no law that bans the eating of dogs; eating dog meat is a personal freedom. This suggests that the controversy over the Yulin event is purely moral and not legal.

But what makes the issue murky and extra troublesome for dog lovers and animal welfare campaigners is that China actually has no legal dog farms, nor legal dog slaughter houses. It is therefore not clear where the Yulin festival dogs come from. Are they stray dogs? Are they “victims of dognapping”? And if so, would this not be considered illegal (Cao 2014; Yan 2015, 46)?

It is these questions, and the persisting reports of animal cruelty during the event, that have made Yulin’s Dog Meat festival extremely controversial – not just internationally, but also within China, where more and more people are now denouncing the annual dog-meat-fest.

 

MORE RESOLUTE OPPONENTS

“62% of Chinese surveyees think the dog meat festival harms China’s international reputation”

 

Over recent years, it seems that the Yulin Dog Meat Festival has grown more resolute opponents than enthusiastic supporters within mainland China.

A recent opinion poll revealed that 64% of Chinese now oppose the festival. The survey was conducted by Beijing Horizon Key (北京零点指标信息咨询有限公司) and was held amongst 2000 people in the 16-50 age category from 1000 different cities, 500 counties and 500 villages (Jiemian 2016).

dogmeatyesorno

Image shared on Weibo: “Yulin Dog Meat Festival: should we eat dog meat?”

The survey also revealed that 62% of Chinese surveyees think the dog meat festival harms China’s international reputation, and that 51.7% of the people feel that the Chinese dog meat industry should be banned altogether. 69.5% of the surveyed claimed they had never eaten dog meat in their life.

 

HYPOCRITICAL ACTIVISTS

“Yulin’s dog meat should be made into a brand and be widely promoted.”

 

Yet there are also those who are still strongly in favor of the festival. In the Beijing Review (2015), Hu Jianbing of rednet.cn suggests that it is hypocritical to denounce the eating of dog meat when there are so many other animals that are being eaten. Why would the consumption of dog meat be more “horrific” or “disgusting”? Hu says that the festival should go on, as long as there are no illegal abductions of dogs:

“The festival should be continued and could be further developed into a big business. Yulin’s dog meat should be made into a brand and be widely promoted.”

On Sina Weibo, there are also people praising dog meat for its taste and disagreeing with the Yulin protesters. By now, the Yulin dog meat festival has become a much-discussed issue, especially in light of the international condemnation for it.

 

MIXED REACTIONS

“My family also raises dogs, and we will always kill and eat them after raising them for years.”

 

Chinese netizens vehemently discuss the dog meat festival on Weibo under the hashtags of ‘Yulin Dog Meat Festival’ (#玉林狗肉节#), ‘Who Advocates the Dog Meat Festival?’ (#谁是玉林狗肉节推手#), the popular hashtag ‘Boycott the Yulin Dog Festival’ (#抵制玉林狗肉节#), and others. The topic has received thousands of comments, with many people venting their thoughts on their own Weibo pages or commenting under Yulin-related news articles.

The discussion draws many mixed reactions, because many netizens disagree on what the focus issue actually is. Is it about whether or not people should eat dog meat? Is it about preserving local traditions? Is it about animal welfare laws in China? Or is this about Western media condemning Chinese traditions? On Chinese social media, it is about all of those things, with different people viewing the issue from different angles.

One netizen writes: “I have seen so many posts about this, here’s my two cents: my family also often raises dogs (to protect the home), and we will always kill and eat them after raising them for years, because they’ve become old and useless. It would be a pity to bury it, especially because we can’t afford to eat dog meat very often. My dad likes to eat it, I don’t really. But I would never object to my dad eating dog meat. Ever since the Dog Meat Festival, I’ve begun to detest the behavior of all those activists. At this year’s summer solstice I’ll also eat a few pieces of dog meat!”

 

THE CORE OF THE ISSUE

“Eating dog meat is okay, animal cruelty is not.”

 

Many netizens emphasize that they feel it is not right to eat dogs because of their relation to humans: “It is true that we are carnivores,” another Weibo user comments: “But since ancient times, we’ve had a special connection to dogs. Every time I see people eating dog meat or hear them justifying it, it disgusts me!”

cartoons

Yulin Dog Meat Festival opponents post campaign posters on Chinese social media.

But not all netizens understand what the fuss is about: “China is so big and powerful, and yet some little dogs draw international attention. In Africa, people are starving to death yet nobody cares. In Syria there are so many refugees that people don’t care about. The Western world..” one netizen says.

“Every year it’s the same battle and I am sick of this issue. I try to avoid all news related to it, but I can no longer stand those of you morons who say ‘well don’t you also eat pork and cows?’ – screw you! We raise dogs and take them into our homes like friends, we take care of them with medicine and injections when they are sick. Do you take your cattle into your house like friends? If not, then you have nothing to say!” one Tianjin netizen writes.

There are also many netizens who share shocking pictures and videos of dogs being cruelly killed for their meat. Virtually all netizens respond to these images in shock: “Human nature is so low, it makes my hair stand on end. Society is evil.”

In the end, the Yulin dog meat festival discussion is genuinely multifaceted. As long as eating dog meat is not banned in China, eating dogs will remain a personal and legal choice. Perhaps the question of whether or not dog meat should be allowed is not at the core of the issue, nor is the question whether or not Yulin’s dog festival is tradition or abuse. The many videos, pictures, and online documentaries show that the Yulin festival is a tradition that undeniably involves animal abuse. It is therefore both a tradition and abuse.

Most Chinese netizens seem to agree that what should be tackled first is not necessarily the tradition of eating dog meat itself, but the abuse that comes with it. As one netizen puts it: “Eating dog meat is okay, animal cruelty is not.”

– By Manya Koetse

References

Cao Yin. 2014. “Experts: Dog Meat Festival ‘Illegal’.” China Daily (June 16). Online at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-06/16/content_17589087.htm [6.23.16].

Luan Xiang 栾翔. 2016. “调查显示六成民众呼吁取缔玉林狗肉节 官方称从未组织 [Poll Shows 60% of People Oppose the Yulin Dog Meat Festival – Government States They Do Not Organize It]” . Jiemian 界面 (June 20). Online at http://www.jiemian.com/article/704030.html [6.23.16].

Yan Wei. 2015. “Dog Meat Festival: Traditional Custom or Abuse?” Beijing Review (29): 46-47.

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Martha boltares

    June 24, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Red meat gives humans rectal cancer in the long run! I hope Karma gives these dog and cat eaters a lot! Torture before killing a being is evil! Do you do that to a fetus before you eat it? Do you beat up the mom to make it taste better? I’ll bet you don’t! You’re evil beings! May karma curse you!

    • Avatar

      Arun Dev

      February 17, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      if you eat red meat you will get cancer and high blood pressure and please stop this dog burning festival to make and torture the animals specially the dogs thank you.

  2. Avatar

    Rosa Aguirre-Sweet

    June 24, 2016 at 2:17 am

    well that was disappointing as hell, but glad to know that we all agree on one thing, the brutality and cruelty that is used on these dogs, Id like to see them watch how these dogs are tortured, skinned and cooked alive, then tell me how great dog meat taste….
    to mention Africa is ridicules, how does India live as vegetarians…they farm their food and grains, Africa also has access to many wild life animals for food, the wild boars are out of control all over the world, even the refugees eating the wild boars might help keep the population down and keep them out of the crops they destroy, deer population also out of control, have you ever watched “the great migration”? were talking so many wilde beast are killed, from trying to cross a couple croc infested rivers, OH WAIT, CROCS probably eat better then the africans and refugees, and crocs are edible, wilde beast are edible, anything deer related, antelope , elk, moose, and many others edible, birds are edible, and tell me again….WHY are people starving????
    during extreme droughts, fish literally die from lack of water, I understand that it would be difficult to grow crops because lack of water, what it takes to raise live stock for meat, would be more useful to utilize the grains used to feed the live stock, these grains can last much longer on a shelf then meat would… I myself have turned towards vegetarian, I also grow, can, dehydrate many of my own vegatables…the US throws away and waste more food, then necessary. ..and then the Africans poach Elephants and Rhino, wild cats to near extinction, for the Chinese of course…and leave the remains to rot in the sun, or for other animals to eat…then turn around crying their starving.

  3. Avatar

    Linda Ensing

    June 24, 2016 at 11:06 am

    This is no adition! This is animal cruelty!????

  4. Avatar

    Linda Ensing

    June 24, 2016 at 11:07 am

    This is no tradition ! This is animal cruelty!????

  5. Avatar

    Robyn Gale

    June 24, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    The Yulin Dog Festival should be banned, these people…if you want to call them that…. are barbaric they torture these animals skinning and boiling them alive, muzzling them and chopping their paws off, what do they say ” the more pain the animal is in the better the meat tastes” WELL SORRY THIS IS JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE. #StopYulinforever????????????????????????

  6. Avatar

    RSB

    June 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I don’t give a flying fuck if it is culturally insensitive. I am a mental health provider and I ALWAYS have to be culturally mindful. This is NOT about attacking one’s culture. I would say the same if other countries display this type of barbaric torture towards animals. And I am sick to death of people posting “what is the difference between dogs and cows?”, it is not the kind of animal that is being eaten. It is the philosophy of inflicting severe torture to animals to “tenderize the meat” and for “strength and fertility” purposes. This kind of torture and pain that is inflicted is pure evil and wrong and simply states that this “culture” lacks compassion. It is wrong and these people need to be educated. And lastly, the bulk of the dogs and cats consumed are stolen pets with collars. This also states that these people do not care about the morality of where their meat comes from and proceeds to slaughter stolen pets instead of letting them go to return to their owners. They can complain about their moods being spoiled but what about the pain that these innocent animals endure? Therefore, my final words.. Culturally insensitive, my ass, go choke on a bone!

  7. Avatar

    Mary johnston

    June 24, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    THIS IS ANIMAL CRUELTY!!!! TAKE THESE BARBARIC PEOPLE SKIN THEM ALIVE THEN COOK THEM!!! THAT IS WHY I STOPPED EATING CHINESE FOOD I DONT WHAT I AM EATING AND I DONT BUY ANY TREATS FOR MY PETS MADE IN CHINA!!! What’s next they gonna start eating they’re own children?

  8. Avatar

    lisa goudie

    June 25, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Would you slowly torture a person if it made them taste better? How can you think this way? You are evil and you use and abuse but give nothing back. You should never be near an animal. They are too good for you. You need to feel the pain that these animals feel. You are cowards!!!!!!!!

  9. Avatar

    Cynthia

    June 25, 2016 at 5:04 am

    Yu Lin dog meat festivil is not merely personal choice or traditions, but it is an organized marketing behavior. The maority of dogs are napped and shipped to Yulin, most are pets or stay dogs. The whole procudure of the business covers criminal and illegal activities. To say this is merely traditions and personal behavior is actually escape the responsibility of bureaucracy. It is very desappointing the government made this annoucing. It is an insult the Chinese and the culture to let this inhumane “festivil” exsit and even justify for it.

  10. Avatar

    susan shawket

    June 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    These poor dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are brutally tortured to death. They are companion animals and just want our love and attention. The Yulin dog and cat meat eating festival is absolutely horrific. The pain and suffering these animals endure is beyond our comprehension. The torturers are SAVAGES… they even eat dogs alive. Saying that, in Iraq the Kurds eat puppies alive and rip their poor little bodies apart. It sickens me that in this day and age, billions of animals, birds, insects, sealife and reptiles are tortured to death. ROT IN HELL the lot of you SADISTIC, EVIL savages.

  11. Avatar

    Tania micallef

    June 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    They say that Yulin dog meat festival is a tradition.In ancient years people in the Colosseum (Rome -Italy)gladiators used to combat with wild and hungry animals.Nowadays this has stopped because people realised that this was inhumane.Torturing and killing an animal in this barbaric state is inhumane.We are human beings and we must have feelings.A man without feelings at all is a monster.We need more people like Marc Ching .He saved 1000 dogs from dog meat festival.He deserves a nobel price for doing such a thing.

  12. Avatar

    Nicole

    June 28, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    The China government is clever. On one hand, they said they have not supported nor organized the festival. (to appease foreigners) Yet at the same time, they continue letting their citizens do whatever they want in regards to holding the festival. Even when tons of complaints about dogs being stolen from home, caught from the streets and even the vast amount of cruelty/torture were involved.

    Even the current festival, Marc Ching reported that there were police officers wearing street clothes following him around.

  13. Avatar

    Michele

    June 29, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I am very disappointed in the article re: Yulin Festival. There’s hardly any discussion regarding the cruelty involved in butchering the dogs (and cats..no one ever discusses the poor cats! ) alive. Next time around…or even all year long…let’s put a camera inside these houses of horror so all those about to sit down to a doggy feast can see how their dinner was made. The tragedy is that not enough Chinese are bothered by the cruelty: the torching, boiling, skinning and mutilating a living animal is tolerated in their archaic, pagan, society. Just send a couple of Viagra shipments to China! That may end their demand for tiger penises and thirst for tiger wine. Their abuse of bear for bile…and their need for rhino horn for ‘medicinal’ purposes. They must be the horniest men on the planet.

    • Avatar

      MF

      July 2, 2016 at 8:47 am

      It would be nice if people like Michele could oppose dog meat eating without slipping into racist comments and if people like Mary Johnston would read the article before commenting. Most people in China don’t eat dog meat or condone the festival. It doesn’t make any sense to boycott restaurants in your home country run by Chinese people who have no connection to the Yulin festival.

      • Avatar

        Eddie Wood

        June 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

        The very act of the torturing dogs and cats angers people beyond reason, these people who do this are sub-species, why comment on someone showing a distaste towards the chinese weather it is racist or not that is nowhere near as important as the torturing of these beautiful animals!!!!!!!
        If we all boycott chinese restaurants maybe then something will be done by their own people??? I see nothing wrong in doing that, what is wrong is the torturing of animals!!!!!!!!!

        • Avatar

          DingDongDoorknobs

          June 25, 2019 at 12:05 am

          What a stupid response. Maybe you should continue these nation-hating sentiments in other regions like Serbia & the Middle East. Maybe that way, you wouldn’t be a hypocrite.

      • Avatar

        Emma Hastings

        November 25, 2018 at 10:28 pm

        Basically there are no words I can think of to actually say apart from I am ashamed to be a human being and to share this world with such absolute vile disgusting horrible specimens as these idiots who think that it is ok to watch an animal die in such pain and hopefully one day they will die a horrific death let’s hope so

  14. Avatar

    SL

    August 2, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    the torture before killing these dogs/cats really breaks my heart & make me tremble… Are these even humans?

  15. Avatar

    sharon rowe

    August 25, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    You are right to say it is the torture of the animals which most offends people outside of China…and it is this savagery that makes many people look down on China for allowing this to continue in 2016. We have cruelty all around the world towards animals, but the extent and the nature of the cruetly involved in the dog meat trade is not defendable under the name of history, culture, diet, need.

  16. Avatar

    Jones Schmit

    August 31, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I am totally against this Festival. Because in the way they celebrating it’s out of humanity. Such festival should be banned. Many animal lovers and organisations like vanderpumpdogs.org are Uprising this festival. But I am still surprised how their government could not ban such inhumanity festivals there.

  17. Avatar

    Zach

    January 2, 2017 at 10:43 am

    The dog meat torture is so extreme that most people do not ever watch it, because the videos do not get circulated. On a daily basis, i see new videos of dogs in China being boiled alive, thrashing about and screaming in agony, or dogs hanged and blow torched alive while they scream, or having their skin peeled off as they kick and scream, or have their paws chopped off and eaten while the dog is left alive to suffer. This is torture that you would find in Saw movies. To support the Yulin festival in any way makes you the scum of the Earth. The problem is NOT eating dog meat necessarily. It is TORTURING dogs. And harming peaceful protestors by dumping boiling water on them or kidnapping them. Reading this article, i expected the number of people against this to be in the 90th percentile. China is a disgusting place.

    • Avatar

      DaveQB

      June 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      Perfectly said Zach. I feel the article doesn’t address the main issue, rather just touching on it at the conclusion. I doubt the treat of these animals is endorsed by other cultures in the world, including Chinese culture. It seems like this is a rogue community that is carrying this out. It looks like the festival has illegal activities all over it, so that is something that the local government can use to crack down on this with. The fact it hasn’t is disappointing and raises a skeptical eye that there’s some corruption going on here. The human race has so many disappointing aspects.

  18. Avatar

    Zach

    January 2, 2017 at 10:53 am

    People will call protestors “hypocrites” for eating beef and pork while being against dog meat in China. As a vegan myself, i get to say that’s a complete false equivalency. I cannot watch a family pet, writhing in agony and screaming desperately, as it is forced down in a pot of boiling water, and think that people who eat cows are just as bad. It is no contest. Where in civilized countries, we strive to kill animals quickly and somewhat “humanely”, China strives to inflict as much pain as possible. The only time they actually kill humanely is when they are in a hurry and don’t actually have time to torture the animal.

    By the way, it has been proven that lots of leather in the US imported from China is dog leather, labeled as cow leather, and those dogs were boiled and skinned alive. Boiled, and then had their fur scraped off their tender bodies as they were fully conscious, crying out in pain. Any torture you can think of, they have done it already.

    As i mentioned, these videos do not circulate, because to share them means losing most of your friends. I lost 75% of my facebook friends for sharing the Yulin Festival and asking others to spread the word. Everyone would rather look the other way, or even become angry at the messenger, rather than at China.

    • Avatar

      Adrian Shiva

      February 28, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      You are exactly correct. I myself am a vegan, yet I always see people attempting to excuse cruelty on the grounds that anyone who protests it is a “hypocrite” – but not only is it false equivalency to liken the torture-consumption of dogs and cats to the consumption of typical livestock animals, but an appeal to hypocrisy is known as a “to quoque” logical fallacy, which says that attempting to point to supposed ‘hypocrisy’ has nothing to do with the current topic but instead points to some other fault as if that excuses the current one.

      You know what’s interesting? ‘Hypocrisy’ accusations pretty much never come up with any other cruelty. If we try to save a human life, we’re suddenly not ‘hypocrites’ if we don’t donate to starving children, or don’t adopt a child. We’re not ‘hypocrites’ if drug addicts try to tell youths to stay out of drugs. A suicidal man is not called a ‘hypocrite’ for trying to talk someone else out of jumping off a bridge. Or should he instead say “jump, you coward!” because apparently the worse crime according to these cruelty apologists is to be considered a hypocrite.

      But when it comes to animal torture/consumption, it’s really interesting that so many people are bent on excusing it. After all, the apologists are not the ones being tortured or killed, and will look for ways to excuse sadism and gluttony that targets animals.

      They are wrong to assume that they are logically or morally right to suggest that no one can condemn a cruelty if they are hypocrites, because that places an emphasis on character imperfection *and* in this case relies on false equivalency, rather than on a position or proposed argument.

      Further, another reason many people go with hypocrisy disengagements is because, by suggesting that only vegans can speak out against animal cruelty in the proposal that ‘hypocrisy’ is the worse crime, they are attempting to morally excuse themselves from taking action if they are not vegan. Interestingly, at the same time many people are keen to mock vegans for advocating for animal well-being, yet when it comes to inviting advocacy from non-vegans, many would suddenly shift to the position that “only vegans can rightly advocate for animals, otherwise I would be a hypocrite”.

      I’ve found myself having to speak up for non-vegans who want to help animals – but who are wrongly attacked by naysayers and cruelty apologists who’d rather sit around and do nothing but swirl the proverbial wineglass from where they sit comfortably as they portray the advocacy for the well-being of animals as merely ‘hypocrisy’ in their attempts to disarm people from taking compassionate action.

      • Avatar

        Adrian Shiva

        February 28, 2017 at 5:41 pm

        tu* quoque (unable to edit last comment)

    • Avatar

      DingDongDoorknobs

      June 25, 2019 at 12:22 am

      But it’s easy to call you a hypocrite, though. People like you are why a minority of those Chinese respondents hesitate before opposing the festival. You generalise an entire nation while ignoring the vast majority of people who oppose its cruelty but don’t really have the power to stop it. Your views are actually mirrored in a lot of English/Western journalism, that many Chinese tend to detest as ‘biased propaganda’. Well, no wonder…

  19. Avatar

    Giolina Maksimovic

    March 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

    These people are sick what sort of heart do you people have ..i am sick to my stomach. .stop the torture of dogs..ban any every single dog from China. .

  20. Avatar

    Melanie Arena

    August 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    WE domesticated dogs to be companions hundreds of years ago. Every single dog breed came from a wolf, we domesticated them and now these barbarians with severe mental illness, to thank them for their loyalty, boil them alive and skin them alive. This is not normal behavior, and it sickens me to the core. How can you watch a screaming animal die and go about your day in celebration, shame on you, I sincerely hope karma finds each and every one of you……….disgusting.

  21. Avatar

    Steve

    November 24, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I am filled with such rage reading about what they do to dogs and cats that it’s been on my mind day in and day out. I can’t do a damn thing about it and it’s killing me inside! I live in an area where there are many Koreans Chinese and Japanese I have such hatred towards them now they may not be involved but just looking at them makes me sick to my stomach I swear one of them was to mess with me it will be the sorriest day that they could ever possibly have. These rotten sadistic evil bastards that do these things to these cats and dogs should have the same things done to them and die of slow agony and torture the government needs to get off their fucking ass and other countries need to get involved! I say boycott everything that’s connected to these countries .The world has to see that action is taking place And the world is watching. I rescue cats in my spare time I also volunteered for a few years at a rescue organization so my connection to these animals is extremely strong! I don’t even want to wear a piece of clothing from China or anything else that is made in the country or any country that tortures animals.

  22. Avatar

    Tasneem Sayanvala

    May 29, 2018 at 4:51 am

    Sick on every level.

    Every being deserves to be treated well.

    Why torture???

    Just sick.

  23. Avatar

    Hollie Lintz

    June 4, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    This is complete barbaric torture and needs to stop. What makes these horrible people think this is right. We have to standup for all of the fur babies and save their lives. China is wrong how would they like it if they were tortured in this manner.

  24. Avatar

    victoria

    June 13, 2018 at 7:18 am

    i read the article and one person from china who eat dogs said that they raise dogs and after sometime they eat because they are useless it that so horrible how can even u say these people have no feelings so cruel.. if this is the thing so that guy should cut abuse his parents and eat them aswell because human after getting old they get useless…i will pray god that you should be treated in same way the way u do to dogs torturing them and killing them for you insane festival

    • Avatar

      Christina DeGreef

      January 26, 2019 at 9:43 am

      What about pigs and cows? So dogs are more like humans than pigs. Pigs are smarter than dogs…

  25. Avatar

    sharon Gracia

    May 29, 2019 at 4:02 am

    What ever the meat you eat. Is your own affair. The problem lies in the method of slaughter. If the animal is tortured or stressed adrenaline eats up the lactic acid in the meat. causing it to be tough, tasteless, and it will be pale in color and sometimes crumbly.Also it will spoil more quickly. Each year the pork industry loses $275 Million due to pre slaughter stress. No there is no great way to slaughter. But taking a blow torch and burning an animal alive… Or skinning an animal alive… Or breaking the legs of an animal and throwing them into a pot of boiling water… So torture is OK.. I come from Native American Ancestry. We say thank you to the animals we eat. We do not drag them screaming. beat them break bones set fire to their eyes.. So It is not meat it is method.

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China Food & Drinks

Post-Covid19 Outbreak Reopening: Haidilao Hotpot Dinners Just Got Pricier

“My wages have gone down, Haidilao’s prices have gone up,” – netizens criticize Haidilao’s price surge after its reopening.

Manya Koetse

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First published

China’s number one hotpot chain has quietly raised its prices after its post-coronacrisis reopening, much to the dissatisfaction of hotpot-loving netizens: “While my wages have gone down, Haidilao’s rates have gone up.”

Huddling around the simmering hotpot was perhaps one of the last things on people’s minds during the coronavirus outbreak, but now that malls and restaurants are gradually getting back to business in China, the hotpot has been put back on the table – although not exactly the same as before.

Since closing its doors in late January, Haidilao, China’s most popular hotpot chain, is one of the restaurants reopening after the coronavirus outbreak. By mid March, it had reopened 85 locations in 15 cities across China, Caixin Global reports. Earlier this week, the chain also opened its doors again in Beijing.

Different from the pre-COVID-19 days, Haidilao restaurants now have fewer seats and there is an increased distance between dining tables.

Each table now can have no more than three guests and all tables have a distance of minimally one meter in between them. Customers also need to use hand sanitizer and have their body temperature checked before entering the restaurant.

Due to the restaurant’s limited tables and increased labor costs, its menu prices have gone up. Haidilao’s quiet price increase became a trending topic on Weibo this week under the hashtag “Haidilao’s Prices Rise Approximately 6% After Reopening” (#海底捞复工后涨价约6%#). One news post about the topic received around 224,000 likes and over 12,000 comments.

“It wasn’t cheap [to eat here] to begin with,” some commenters complain: “Now it’s even more expensive.” The restaurant’s exact price surge differs per region.

Haidilao, which opened its first restaurant over 25 years ago, is the dominant hotpot chain in mainland China. By late 2019, the chain had 768 locations in China.

The restaurant is known for its Sichuan hotpot with an innovative strategy: high-service, high-tech, and high-quality. The restaurant is so popular that customers often wait in line for one or two hours in order to get a table.

Despite people’s general appreciation of Haidilao, most netizens argue that the chain’s price surge is a bad move, mentioning that due to the coronavirus crisis, “many people have lost their jobs,” and that it is unfortunate that “food prices are rising, while we don’t get our wages.”

“My wages have gone down, Haidilao’s prices have gone up. I just wanna cry,” some commenters say.

Many Weibo users mention that Haidilao is a big company that already had relatively high prices, saying a price increase in these times is unfair to customers.

“I could tolerate it if my wages would also go up,” some write.

An online poll held by news outlet Sina asked Weibo users if they could accept Haidilao’s 6% price increase. Among the 122,000 respondents, 16,000 answered they were okay with it, while an absolute majority of 77,000 said they could not accept the surge.*

“They have the right to raise their prices, we have the freedom to stop eating there,” some write: “I won’t go there anymore.”

For more COVID-19 related articles, please click here.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)
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*(other replies to choose from included “it has nothing to do with me” or “other answer”),

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China Food & Drinks

China’s Best Fast-Food Restaurants: These Are the 11 Most Popular Chains in the PRC

These are China’s most popular fast-food chains and the most important trends in the industry.

Manya Koetse

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The China Cuisine Association (CCA) released a list ranking the strongest fast-food companies in China this month. The list is a top 70 (!), but here, What’s on Weibo provides an overview of the top 11 in this ranking list of fast-food restaurants in China.

Fast food has been trending on Chinese social media this week after the China Cuisine Association (综合自中国烹饪协会, CCA) issued a new ‘best brands’ report during its 23rd China Fast Fast-Food Convention.

The report by the CCA found two major trends within China’s fast-food industry.

Firstly, fast-food brands, in general, are becoming more and more popular within mainland China. The industry has seen rapid growth over the past decade, with the first half of this year already seeing a 9.4% increase compared to last year.

In the period from January to August of 2019 alone, China’s restaurant industry had a total sales revenue of 2.8 trillion yuan (355 billion US dollars) – making it one of the country’s fastest-growing industries according to Sina Finance.

Second, Chinese-style fast food brands are rising in popularity. Although KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King still dominate the top three chart, Chinese players such as Laoxiangji (老乡鸡), Dicos (德克士), and Real Kungfu (真功夫) are becoming favorite fast-food restaurants among Chinese consumers.

On Weibo, some commenters suggest that it is inevitable for foreign players to still rule the top lists since they were the first fast-food chains to arrive in China. China’s own homegrown brands followed later and needed more time to grow, but, they predict, will only become more popular in the years to come.

Fast-food first arrived in China in the 1980s, with Kentucky Fried Chicken launching in the PRC in 1987 and McDonald’s following in 1990. The very first fast-food restaurant in China was actually not KFC, but ‘Yili’s Fast Food Shop’ (义利快餐厅), a brand established in 1906 by Scottish businessman James Neil and taken over by Chinese managers in the 1940s.

So what currently are China’s most popular fast-food chains? The list as issued by the CCA actually contains the 70 strongest fast-food companies of China.

For the scope of this article, we highlight the top-ranking 11 fast-food companies of China for you, starting with number one.

 

#1: Kentucky Fried Chicken (肯德基)

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is the major brand by Yum China (百胜中国), China’s leading restaurant company that spun off from the American Yum! Brands in 2016. Yum China has the exclusive right to operate KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell in China, and also owns the Little Sleep hotpot concept. The KFC official Weibo account almost has 2.5 million fans.

People outside of China are sometimes surprised to find that KFC is so hugely popular in the mainland. Its success story goes back to 1987, when the restaurant opened its first doors near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Within a decade, KFC already had 100 different restaurants in China.

The question of how an American fast-food chain succeeded in becoming the number one in China, outnumbering McDonald’s, is at the center of the book KFC in China: Secret Recipe for Success. Some reasons that contribute to KFC’s success in China is the popularity of chicken in China, the chain’s management system, and the restaurant’s adaptation to local taste.

 

#2: McDonald’s (麦当劳)

Twenty-nine years ago, McDonald’s opened China’s first restaurant in Shenzhen under the name ‘Màidāngláo’ (麦当劳), a Chinese rendering of the name.

Since 2017, the restaurant’s official name change to ‘Jīn Gǒngmén’ (金拱门), literally meaning ‘Golden Arches’, made headlines both in- and outside China. The name as displayed on the restaurants, however, has always remained the same; ‘Golden Arches’ is just the formal Chinese name of the mother company.

Despite its rocky journey in China – McDonald’s has always faced strong competition within the Chinese fast food market and had to deal with a 2014 food scandal – the American fast-food chain is still popular among Chinese, with many sharing fond memories of their first McDonald’s experience.

The Weibo account now has 1,1 million fans.

The chain still has more room for growth in the PRC, and is looking at new ways to franchise on the mainland. McDonald’s is also always adapting to local tastes. The Chinese menu offers products such as Cola Chicken wings or big chicken cutlet rice bowls.

 

#3: Burger King (汉堡王)

Compared to KFC or McDonald’s, Burger King is somewhat of a newcomer to the Chinese market, but its growth is also rapid: the first restaurant in China opened in 2005, and its 1000th already opened in 2018.

China’s fast-growing middle class has helped the American brand to flourish on the mainland, as did McDonald’s former president of greater China, Peter Tan, who became Burger King’s senior vice president.

Burger King has a wide and strong social media presence in China, with various official Weibo accounts actively promoting Burger King in various cities. The accounts have a personal approach and often post jokes and funny videos.

 

#4: Home Original Chicken / Laoxiangji (老乡鸡)

Home Original Chicken currently is the most popular Chinese-style fast-food chain in the PRC. To celebrate this fact, various restaurants around the country held some promotional events this week, even giving out lunch for free in some of its 800+ locations across the country. The promotion went trending on Weibo, with the hashtag ‘Laoxiangji invited the whole country for dinner’ (#老乡鸡宴请全国#) getting 280 million views.

The short history of the restaurant goes back to 2003 when chicken breeder Shu Congxuan opened the first location in Hefei, Anhui province. The chain’s menu items look completely different from the top 3 in this list; ‘Laoxiangji’ serves some classic pork meatballs, meatballs wrapped in fried gluten, hot and sour fish, or steamed eggplant with chili and sour sauce.

A combi meal as promoted by Laoxiangji.

The ‘Laoxiangji’ Weibo account now has over 360,300 followers.

 

#5: Dicos (德克士)

Dicos, founded in 1994, is one of the biggest Chinese-style fast-food chains in the PRC. It was founded in Chengdu and serves fried chicken and different fried chicken rice bowls, among other things. It already opened its 2000th store in 2013.

Tianjin Ding Qiao Food Service owns Dicos. In a way, you could say Dicos is one of KFC’s biggest competitors in the PRC as it is also famous for its fried chicken buckets.

The restaurant’s Weibo account has over 727,000 fans. Besides promoting fried chicken dishes, the account also regularly promotes the Dicos brands’ various sweet desserts.

 

#6: Real Kungfu (真功夫)

Real Kungfu is probably the fast-food restaurant with the coolest logo – which looks like an image of Bruce Lee- and brand name here.

The restaurant is headquartered in Guangzhou and opened its first restaurant in 1990. The restaurant serves various meal sets at very reasonable prices, usually including a rice bowl, soup, boiled lettuce, and a meat main dish.

Photo of Zhen Kungfu order by Weibo user.

Weibo account @Zhengongfu has more than 188,000 followers. The account often posts about movies or series, with the chain associating itself with Chinese popular culture.

 

#7: Country Style Cooking (乡村基)

Country Style Cooking (Xiāngcūnjī, 乡村基) is originally a Chongqing restaurant that opened its first restaurant in 1996 under the name ‘Country Style Chicken’ (乡村鸡). It now has over 600 restaurants throughout China.

The restaurant’s name is literally also its theme: providing real ‘home-style’ cooking from the country to its customers. It serves some classic stir-fry dishes such as the Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁).

The brand is still relatively small on Chinese social media, having some 39000 fans on its Weibo account.

 

#8: Ajisen Ramen (味干拉面)

Ajisen Ramen is the first Japanese chain in this list, which focuses on Japanese ramen noodle soup dishes. It operates more than 700 noodle restaurants in Hong Kong and mainland China, but also has restaurants in other countries across the world.

Its history goes all the way back to 1968, but its franchise endeavors started later.

The chain has no presence on Weibo.

 

#9: Yonghe King (永和大王)

Yonghe King is another Chinese-style fast-food chain that, like Ajisen, also focuses on noodles. Its first restaurant was opened in 1995 in Shanghai.

The brand is not fully Chinese anymore, as it merged with Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC), the biggest fast-food company in the Philippines, in 2004. Since 2016, Jollibee is 100% owner of Yonghe King.

Yonghe King’s menu is diverse, as it offers various breakfast items, meal sets with noodles or rice, and desserts. It promotes its breakfast as the perfect start of the day for busy people who have to get to work early and have no time to prepare a meal.

With almost 409,000 fans on Weibo, Yonghe King is pretty popular on Chinese social media.

 

#10: Yoshinoya (吉野家)

Yoshinoya is the second Japanese chain in this list and it is the oldest brand, going back all the way to 1899.

Although Yoshinoya is a ‘fast food’ chain because, some of the items on its menu are not as fast to eat. The restaurant is known for its beef bowls, but how about a one-person hotpot set?

Hop Hing Group, based in Hong Kong, is the licensed operator of Yoshinoya in Hong Kong and Mainland China. The restaurant has recently become a target of violence during the Hong Kong Protests, as it was labeled as being a Beijing supporter.

 

#11: Mr. Lee California Beef Noodle King (李先生加州牛肉面大王)

The Beijing brand Mr. Lee is a popular fast-food chain in mainland China that specializes in beef noodle soup. Its first store was opened in 1988.

The ‘California’ part in its time comes from the Californian Chinese-American businessman Li Beiqi (李北祺) who started the company – hence the restaurant’s name (Mr. ‘Li’ in pinyin).

Besides the beef noodle soup, the restaurant also offers rice meals, dumplings, sweets, evening snacks and more. The Mr. Lee’s Weibo account has over 55000 fans.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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