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.”
“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.
©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
98-Year-Old Hotpot and Coca Cola Lover Becomes Online Hit
Are hotpot and cola the key to longevity?
This week, a 98-year-old Chengdu resident has become an online hit on Chinese social media, after videos of her and her granddaughter went viral. The popular grandmother loves to drink Coca Cola, eat hamburgers, and is crazy about hotpot – but only if it’s really spicy.
The 98-year-old became an overnight hit because of the videos posted by granddaughter Cai on China’s popular video app Douyin (TikTok), that show the grandmother’s great appetite for spicy food, alcohol, and sweet sodas.
When the granddaughter tries to persuade her grandma to drink less alcohol (“You’ve already had five!”) she’ll pour herself another cup; while dozing off, she’ll still talk about her favorite hotpot with beef tripe; when eating her hamburgers, she’ll eat so fast that her dentures fall out – all moments that were caught on video by Cai.
The woman, who has been nicknamed “grandma foodie” (吃货奶奶), has been starring in her granddaughter’s Douyin videos since August of last year. Since then, she has accumulated a social media following of some 410K fans and has now risen to nationwide fame, with dozens of Chinese news outlets writing about her. On March 4, she became the number one trending topic on Weibo.
On social media, most netizens praise the grandma for her positive attitude. “I hope I can do all the things I love, too, when I reach her age,” some say: “Eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and drink whatever you like, whenever you like.” “Eating good food is the key to happiness,” others write.
Some also see a lucrative opportunity in the grandma’s sudden rise to fame: “She should become a brand ambassador for Coca Cola.”
Granddaughter Cai told Chinese reporters: “I think it’s the contrast that makes her so popular. She drinks Coke, eats hamburgers, loves spicy food, and all that greasy food. She’s leading the life of a young person, and it appears to be very unhealthy. But she still has longevity.”
Because Cai’s grandma does not know much about social media, Cai tried to explain to her that “many, many people” like her a lot. “Why on earth would they like me for?” she replied: “I’m old!”
By Manya Koetse
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These Chinese School Are Awarding Excellent Students with Pork Meat Gifts
Awarding excellent students with raw meat or even fresh fish seems to be a new trend in Chinese schools.
A remarkable award ceremony at a middle school in Fuyang, Anhui province, has attracted the attention of Chinese netizens this week for the meat gifts the school offered to its outstanding students.
The award ceremony was held on January 26 at the Anhui Fuyang No. 1 Middle School. The five best students of every class were each rewarded with 2,5 kilogram (5.5 pounds) of pork meat.
At the end of the ceremony, a total of 600 students took home a staggering 1500 kilogram (3306 pounds) of pork meat in total.
Although the initiative of this particular school came as a surprise to many netizens, more schools across China are introducing these kinds of food gifts to their students lately.
“Nowadays, every household has enough stationery. So we came up with the idea to award our students with pork meat instead.”
The director of the Anhui school, Mister Sun (孙), told reporters: “In the past, the school always awarded its best students with pencils and notebooks. But nowadays, every household has enough stationery. So we came up with the idea to award our students with pork meat instead.”
The pork meat, gifted in a bag with a pig on it, was given just in time for the upcoming Chinese Spring Festival, which celebrates the start of the Year of the Pig this year.
Sun further added: “The students’ hard work is rewarded with something they can take home and share with their family members and other people they love. In this way, they can also experience the gratefulness of others.”
The Fuyang middle school is not the first school that awards its students by offering them fresh meat products. Recently, several stories of Chinese schools awarding their students with meat gifts made their rounds on Chinese social media.
A primary school in Liuzhou, in a mountainous and impoverished area of Guangxi province, received the praise of many netizens when they awarded their 71 most outstanding students with 1,5 kilogram of unwrapped pork meat on a string. It is the second year in a row that the school chose to present its students with a meat gift.
At another school in Dongguan, Guangdong province, the 90 most outstanding students were each rewarded with a fresh fish earlier this month. The fish were caught from the Humen Wharton School’s own pond, The Paper reports.
In a recent interview, director Wu (吴) of the Dongguan Humen Wharton School told The Paper that the fish are usually fed with the leftovers from the school canteen. By rewarding the students with these fish, Wu said, the school not only hopes to make the pupils happy, but also hopes to increase their awareness on the ecological environment.
“This is the reality. When you work hard, you’ll have meat to eat.”
Last year, a school in Fujian’s Nan’an awarded 30 of its highest-scoring students with a pork leg, something that also attracted the attention online at the time. More schools, including one in Shanwei, then followed their example.
On Weibo, various hashtags relating to the new ‘trend’ are making their rounds. “Middle School Awards Its Students with 1500 Kilogram of Pork Meat” (#中学用3000斤猪肉表彰学生#) received over 5.5 million views this week. “School in Mountainous Area Awards Students with Pork at the End of the Year” (#山区小学期末发猪肉奖状#) had over 3 million views on Weibo.
Chinese netizens applaud the schools for giving these food products to reward students, mainly seeing it as a way to boost the children’s confidence.
“This is great!” one commenter wrote: “The students can really experience how it feels to earn something and what it feels like to contribute. And at the same time, they can share and enjoy their achievements with their family.”
“What a great award,” others say: “They’ll feel so proud to bring this back home.”
“This is the reality. When you work hard, you’ll have meat to eat. Why weren’t there such good schools around when I was a kid?”, a Weibo user says.
It is a tradition in China to hold an award ceremony at the end of the semester. During the ceremony, that is attended by the school’s students, teachers, and sometimes (grand)parents, the best students are praised for their accomplishments. The purpose of the award ceremony and the public praise is to let the excellent students set an example for their fellow classmates, and to motivate the students.
But not everyone is equally positive about the initiative. “The intention is good, but how attractive is it for a child to receive a pork leg nowadays?” one man from Guangdong wonders: “Isn’t it more and more uncommon for people to perceive meat as something that’s rare to eat?”
“It’s not about the meat itself,” others argue: “It’s about bringing home something and making them feel accomplished.”
Among the few voices criticizing the idea, there are also those who advocate vegetarianism and think it would be more valuable to teach children the value of living creatures rather than to give them pork.
Others argue that the pork meat gift is not ‘halal.’
But the vast majority of commenters still praise the initiative, saying it is honest, nutritious, and lets the whole family benefit from their child’s accomplishments. For some, the idea is simple and straightforward: “Those who study hard get to eat meat.”
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