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The Yulin Dog Meat Festival: 10 Views From Chinese Netizens

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual event that has become more and more controversial, both in China as well as internationally. What are the main comments and views on the controversial dog-eating festival on Chinese social media?

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The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual event that has become more and more controversial, both in China as well as internationally. What are the main views on the controversial dog-eating festival on Chinese social media? Here are 10 opinions and comments from Weibo users.

The annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival (玉林狗肉节) is taking place again this year, starting from June 21. 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 already clarified in 2016 that the Yulin government has never supported nor organized the festival.

The annual event, that celebrates the summer solstice by eating lychees and dog meat, has been drawing controversy since 2010. It is a ten-day festival that is organized by locals. Since China has no law that bans the eating of dogs, the festival itself is not illegal.

Its legal status, however, does not stop the controversy. It is estimated that around 10.000 dogs are slaughtered during the ten-day festival, and Chinese welfare groups gather in Yulin to protest the tradition. In previous years, there have been altercations between stall owners and activists trying to rescue dogs.

This year, it is likely that more clashes will occur. One activist in Yulin told BBC she was prevented by police from entering the market where live dogs presumably were on sale. The night before the festival, China-based Dutch journalist Marcel Vink said on Twitter that he was put out of his Yulin hotel: “Wow, kicked out of my hotel in the night, suddenly no foreigner acceptance, after hours. And all hotels in town suddenly full.”

What do people on Weibo have to say about the festival amidst all the contention? Here are ten different views and comments on the Dog Meat Festival controversy, from ten different Weibo netizens.

 

1. “I oppose the dog meat festival!”

 

Many people on Chinese social media deem the eating of dog meat immoral due to the relationship between humans and dogs, and the role of dogs in human lives.

One message that was copy-pasted and shared by dozens of netizens on Weibo today says:

“I oppose the dog meat festival! I don’t eat dog meat! I would dread eating the dog that has guarded and protected his family for the most part of his life. I would dread eating the playmate of a young child. I would dread eating a retired police dog. I would dread eating the eyes of a blind man.”

Overall, many netizens on Weibo express this sentiment. A young woman from Xinjiang responds:

“Every time I say that I am against eating dog meat, there is always a group of people who will say: ‘Chickens, ducks, fish, and cows are all living animals too, then you shouldn’t eat them either!’ Well, have you ever seen a duck guiding the blind, or a chicken tracking down narcotics? Will a fish come and welcome you when you come home? After an earthquake, whose paws are it that will drag you from underneath the ground? What cow will stay by your side in times of danger? Resist the dog meat festival! It’s okay not to love dogs, but don’t hurt them.”

 

2. “Just a Chinese tradition.”

 

One person writes:

“I find this all [all the controversy] very strange, the Dog Meat Festival is just a tradition. We can’t do this anymore, we can’t do that anymore – what’s actually left of Chinese traditions with thousands of years of history? (..) Look at yourself before judging another.”

This is a sentiment that is expressed by many other people on Weibo. A typical comment says: “I don’t eat dog meat myself, but I do respect other people’s right to eat dog meat.”

 

3. “You’re giving China a hard time.”

 

There are also people who think the protestors do not reflect well on China.

One man from Nanning, Guangxi, writes:

“Even if there is no Dog Meat Festival, there are still dog meat traders. All you pure leftists should stop your useless actions. Those of you scolding Yulin should know that Yulin is a part of Guangxi, and Guangxi is a part of China. If you’re giving Yulin a hard time, you’re giving Guangxi a hard time, you’re giving China a hard time.”

 

4. “What else should we do with unsold dogs on the dog market?”

 

Weibo netizen @sven_shi points out the alleged hypocrisy of the anti-Yulin campaigners when he says:

“If you run into people who want to rescue dogs, you can ask them one thing and they’ll look foolish. What should we do with the dogs on the dog breeding [pet] market that still aren’t sold after six months? The answer, in fact, is really clear: they will be sold for slaughter. The market can’t provide for the dogs that aren’t sold. The Tibetan mastiffs that aren’t sold will go into a dog stew. If the real dog lovers ideally don’t want any dogs to be killed, they should block the door to the dog market, and take home all the dogs that are left over. Because the reason that dogs are killed is in the dog market.”

 

5. “Don’t rob people of their livelihood because of your love for dogs.”

 

A popular blogger from Beijing holds a similar view when he says:

“Since you are animal activists, you should go and buy all living dogs and pay the price for which their meat is sold.”

They continue:

“Those people there make a living by selling dog meat. Does your love for dogs mean that you should rob other people of their livihood? In any way, I won’t go there and buy dog meat, but you also won’t allow other people to buy it. Then go and buy it all yourself!”

 

6. “You shouldn’t blame all Yulin people for this.”

 

Some people who come from Yulin (a city of 6.9 million people) also respond on Weibo. This girl writes:

“As a person from Yulin, I feel innocent. Firstly, because I don’t eat dog meat. Second, because I don’t kill. Third, I am just one small citizen. It’s enough for you to curse the dog meat festival – you shouldn’t curse all people of Yulin. Some of you keyboard warriors are just too vulgar. You are the ones with a problem, even more so than those who eat dog meat!”

 

7. “Don’t force your moral point of view on other people.”

 

Another person from Yulin also comments on Weibo, and says that loving dogs and eating dogs can go together.

“When it comes to the Dog Meat Festival, loving dogs and eating dogs are two separate things. To the dog activists I would like to say: don’t force your moral point of view on other people. I am from Yulin, and I’m also a dog lover. I’ve raised dogs. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like eating dog meat. Mao Zedong said: ‘Only when you eat dog meat will you know how tasty it is.'”

One woman from Guangdong takes a similar stance, but points out that the abuse that often comes with the dog meat market is unacceptable. She says:

“These days on Weibo I’ve seen so many ‘oppose the dog meat festival’ posts. Actually I also love cats, dogs, and animals a lot. But to be honest, I don’t really oppose it. Many people like to eat dog meat and it’s part of the food chain. I can understand it. But I do oppose the stealing of dogs, the abuse of dogs, and other illegal and immoral actions. I despise this behaviour.”

 

8. “I’m going, but I won’t touch any dog meat.”

 

There are also people who say they will visit the festival but not eat dog meat. The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival celebrates the Summer Solstice.

“Today is the Summer Solstice, and the Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival. I am meeting up with some friends. We’ll go out to eat some lychees. I won’t touch any dog meat.”

 

9. “Turning this into a special treat day for dogs.”

 

For other people, the Yulin festival is another reason to treat their own dog to snacks today. A female netizen by the name of ‘Flying Lolita‘ writes:

“Since the Yulin dog meat festival has started, I can’t help but notice how fat our own little Harry has become! Haha. I love him. And I just hope you all won’t eat dog meat.”

Many other people also post pictures of them cuddling their own dogs or cats on this day, turning the dog meat festival into a dog-loving day.

 

10. “The festival has become world famous.”

 

Ironically enough, there are also people who think the growing controversy and international attention for the festival is a positive thing. The dog meat festival hardly received any attention before the previous few years. The national focus on Yulin bring many outsiders to the city – some come to eat dog meat, others come to protest it.

As one young netizen from Guangxi says:

“The Lychee & Dog Meat Festival is here. Yesterday on the train, I heard people say: ‘Even foreigners are now coming to Yulin for the dog meat! Never in my life would I’ve imagined that the traditional feast I grew up with would at one time become so world-famous!”

As the ‘world-famous’ Yulin festival has started, so has the turmoil surrounding it. On June 21st around 18.00 Beijing time, some netizens post photos of cars driving around the festival with ‘dog activists belong to an evil cult’ signs, and other photos of people holding up signs to condemn the festival. Despite all the disagreements and different views, one thing is certain: as long as the Yulin festival continues, so will the controversy.

“Resist the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Respect life. Care for animals.”

“Dog activists [dog-loving-people] are an evil cult.”

By Manya Koetse

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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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, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Eddie wood

    June 22, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    How in the name of God can anyone accept the brutal torture of the dogs and cats that are killed in the most heinous manner, SKINNED ALIVE, BOILED ALIVE, DISMEMBERING OF THEIR LIMBS WHILE ALIVE, BLUDGEON UNTILL THEY ARE SEMI CONSCIOUS AND ALL THIS IS DONE IN FRONT OF OTHER DOGS TO IN STILL ‘SHEER TERROR!’
    How can anyone say this is ok? they are NOT KILLING THEM TO EAT, THEY ARE TORTURING THESE ANIMALS FOR THEIR OWN GRATIFICATION. Thousands of dogs and cats are killed and no way are thousands of people eating them!!! All animals have a nervous system and to know that they are skinned alive is utterly horrific, a dog or cat only wants to give and receive LOVE, AND THESE PEOPLE KILL THEM THIS WAY??? WHY?????

  2. Anna

    June 23, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Ban the torture of cats and dogs! I hope the ones that eat them live to suffer bad luck and contract the worst disease contained within their own chain of relations!

    • tu suying

      June 26, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Hypocrisy:

      I have watched PETA videos of cows and pigs getting slaughters in the US and being torn apart while still being alive, male chicks ground to death, lobsters boiled alive (no from PETA video). Why love one and eat another.

      Bullshit argument from Hypocrites:
      1. Dogs and Cats are more intelligent – Research shows that pigs are as intelligent as dogs.
      2. some are meant for meat and some are for companionship – Hindus consider eating cows as barbaric and yet they are slaughters in millions especially in the west.

      Please don’t shove your morality over others.

      Thank you.

      • nikki

        June 27, 2017 at 10:34 pm

        Okay, but have you ever seen a cow guide the blind? Or heard of a chicken rescue someone from the wreck after a natural disaster? Or a pig fight and help men in war? No I didn’t think so. Everyone knows the meat insutry as a whole is often cruel and horrible. But that does NOT JUSTIFY this cruelty to a species which has saved lives and have ALWAYS been there for humans through good and bad. Why extend the list of animals getting tortured? Shouldn’t we start stopping the cruelty? Then why not start with this? It’s merely a step towards a kinder world.

  3. TigerClaw

    June 23, 2017 at 10:36 am

    This is sick …It’s gross I could never eat my pet …Dogs and cats are house animals they are a part of family…This needs to “Stop ” Stop making excuses of how this is a tradition in culture. Dogs are like humans they feel and think like us ….We live in a future here were not living the old ages !!! I respect every culture but not when it comes to eating a dog or cat or brutally killing them it’s disgusting. These people have no souls they have no feelings …They need education .

  4. TigerClaw

    June 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    We all come from different cultures and we all have a tradition…But there’s a limit to everything …Some animals are not ment to be eaten, chicken and fish is not a dog or a cat …These animals are a lovable pets specially dogs they are very loyal to their human companions , they love you til the day you die…How dare you hear the cries of these sweet animals how can you bare it listening to their cries when they are being tortured alive…This is barbaric it’s disturbing. I read these articles and I can’t stop balling my eyes out . THIS NEEDS TO END NOW “STOP” KILLING DOGS AND CAT FOR GODDESS SAKE.!!!????????????????????

  5. Kelly Schadt-Kelly

    June 23, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I cannot understand the killing of dogs for the purpose of eating. I love my pet dog and could never sell her or have her slaughtered for meat. However, I do not oppose the act of consuming any animal for food. From what I understand, some cultures value cows, but I love beef hamburgers and steaks. I don’t see them picketing my local grocery for selling beef flank steaks! Still, the abuse of any animal before slaughter is horrendous! Why torture? In front of other animals? If it is truly for meat, the release of adrenaline ruins the taste of meat! Dumbass slaughters! No animal should be tortured, stolen, and brutalized before death for the pleasure of a crowd!

  6. Nikki

    June 27, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    To the people who say: “But you all probably eat other animals, that are also killed horribly, why is that okay? Blah, blah” I’m sure everyone knows that other animals are also killed. Yes, we know farm animals are often treated like shit. And yes many people do eat meat and still oppose dog meat. Why? Because dogs are NOT farm animals! “But everyone has different cultures and we eat animals that other cultures consdier saint”. Yea, but who says I agree with the meat industry as a whole? I myself don’t eat much meat, and try to buy from companies which have shown video footage of better care for their livestock. Besides, dogs have been a COMPANION animal for humans since the beginning of time. Look at all they’ve done for us! Guide the visually impaired, search and rescue, police work (locating drugs and bombs and helping officers catch criminals), therapy dogs who help patients with anxiety/depression or other disorders, helping men in war, protecting our homes, herding livestock or simply being SOMEONE’S BEST FRIEND. Have you ever seen a sheep or a cow do all that? No. I’m not saying I agree with how the meat industry treats them. But don’t use their suffering to justify this horrible cruelty. Why extend the number of animals getting toruted? Why not work towards kindness? And dogs sure as hell deserve better than this.

  7. lola

    July 23, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    For me it’s totally fine to kill dogs and eat them since everyone kills the cows/chicken and fish in a PAINFUL way and NO ONE CARES, Kill them all so people can stop being such HYPOCRITE

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China Food & Drinks

McDonald’s China Will Still Be ‘Maidanglao’

McDonald’s China has changed its name, but the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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The name change of McDonald’s in China from Maidanglao to Jin Gongmen caused much consternation on Weibo this week.

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

Similarly, in Japan, the fast food chain was called ‘Makudonarudo’ (マクドナルド) in 1971 to make it easy to pronounce while still sounding like the original name.

But on October 25, news of company name change from Màidāngláo to ‘Jīn Gǒngmén’ (金拱门), literally meaning ‘Golden Arches’, made headlines both in- and outside China.

The company name was already officially changed on October 12, People’s Daily reports.

The company’s name change follows after McDonald’s sold most of its stakes in China to the Chinese CITIC Group and the American Carlyle Group. This partnership, which was formally announced in January 2017, forms the largest McDonald’s franchisee outside the US. They plan to add over 1500 new restaurants in China and Hong Kong over the next five years.

On Weibo, news of the name change immediately led to much consternation. Some netizens worried that it would impact the fast food chain’s daily business in China, making it more of a Chinese chain than a Western one, also potentially changing existing food safety standards and preparation processes.

They also ridiculed the ‘Golden Arches’ name, saying that other foreign brands, such as Starbucks and KFC should also change their name to describe their logo: ‘White-haired Woman’ and ‘Happy Old Man.’

But McDonald’s China officially responded to the name change on its Weibo account, saying:

“Yes, it’s true! McDonald’s China has changed its name to Jin Gongmen China Ltd, but the name change is only for the official certification. For you, Maidanglao will still be Maidanglao!”

McDonald’s China’s spokeswoman confirmed to the press that the name change purely relates to formality and will not the change the restaurants or their marketing.

Similarly, the mother company of KFC and Pizza Hut in China is called Baisheng – a name that does not affect the business or marketing of its restaurants.

For now, netizens can rest assured that the McDonald’s ‘Maidanglao’ brand name will not be changed in China, nor on Weibo, where @maidanglao is promoting its latest burger special today -business as usual.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Food & Drinks

Beijing Medical Graduates Open BBQ Diner, Offer Discount for Every Academic Publication

These Ivy League medical graduate students from Beijing love the academic world and barbecued meat. They will give you a discount if you’re the author of a recent scientific publication.

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Top medical students from Beijing’s Ivy League universities have started their own BBQ restaurant. To ‘encourage research,’ they offer customers a discount if they can show they have recently been published in a scientific journal.

Wang Jian (王建) and Cheng Si (程丝), top medical graduate students from Beijing’s most prestigious universities Beida and Tsinghua, have operated hand in hand with sixteen other former classmates in opening up their own barbecue joint in the capital’s city center.

The restaurant, “The Lancet BBQ” (柳叶刀烧烤), named after one of the world’s oldest and best known general medical journals, is located near Xizhimen and Beijing Jiaotong University and was opened in April of 2017.

On October 10, the ‘Lancet BBQ’ became a top trending topic on Chinese social media after a WeChat article by the restaurant’s owners received much attention by Chinese media and was read 100,000 times within an hour.

On Weibo, the hashtag ‘Top Students from Beida & Tsinghua Open BBQ Place’ (#北大清华学霸合伙开烧烤店#) received 840,000 views on Tuesday.

The post says:

Since three months ago, we started with a promotion at our restaurant. (..) It is meant to encourage everyone’s research and is also meant for those people who have had their academic paper published and want to celebrate it at our restaurant.”

“Every person who is the author of a publication in an academic journal listed in the SCI, SSCI, or CSSI within the past five years, can come to the restaurant, show us the proof, and obtain a discount.”

The restaurant owners have a special way of calculating academics’ discounts, namely: “Total Bill – Impact Factor * 10 = Discounted Price” (“总费用-影响因子*10=优惠价格). The impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which a scientific journal has been cited.

To give an example, a recent publication in the Cancer Research journal will give you ten points for impact factor, meaning a 200 RMB (30 US$) restaurant bill will get a 100 RMB (15$) discount.

If your publication was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, it will give you a 20-points impact factor. If the total costs at the restaurant are 200 RMB (30 US$) you will then get the entire bill for free (200 – (10 * 10) = 0).

For a publication in the Lancet, that has a journal impact factor of 47, you could get the biggest discount.*

From performing surgery to roasting meat

The idea to start the barbecue restaurant came from Wang Jian. The young doctor and fresh graduate found himself short of money in 2016 and decided he needed a side job. His love for Xuzhou cuisine led him to the idea of starting a Xuzhou barbecue diner.

China Youth Daily writes that it took Wang Jian some time to convince his partner Cheng Si, also a young doctor, to open up the restaurant together. But within a time frame of six months, Wang turned himself into an expert on the restaurant business and was able to gather a group of fellow graduates to raise the capital and start up the restaurant.

Although the 12-table restaurant might seem like any other barbecue place, the medical background of its owners does seep through. Cheng Si will sometimes say: “There are two new patients at the door,” when the restaurant has two new customers.

Besides serving healthy foods, the restaurant reportedly also upholds the best hygiene standards.

Despite the recent attention for the restaurant on Weibo and in Chinese media, some netizens are critical about the owners’ double job. “You’re already doing the brainy jobs, let the common people do work like this,” some say.

“How is being a doctor not enough to provide for your income?”, many wonder.

According to China Medical News, a typical doctor at a large tertiary level hospital in Beijing will officially earn about 46,000 yuan (US$7500) a year. But in reality, they note, doctors earn more than three times that – about 180,000 yuan ($29,000) a year – due to, among others, bonuses and commissions.

But some people do not seem to mind much, saying they would prefer to have a doctor who also happens to be a BBQ cook, than a BBQ cook who also happens to be a doctor.

By Manya Koetse

* The discount explanation on WeChat is as set out here, but in an interview with China Youth Daily the owners say the discount can be up to 30% of the total meal bill, and that this discount can be shared with everyone at the table.

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2017

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