As the People`s Republic of China swings into final
countdown mode of a serious shape-up campaign a few
weeks before the
Summer Olympics, Beijing`s
extreme makeover is intended to present its
poison-product-manufacturing Communist state as a
fine upstanding member of the world`s community of
nations. Talk about a
major makeover project!
It`s like cleaning the house for guests you want to
impress—all the tasteless stuff gets shoved into the
closet. And China has a lot of cleaning up to do—from
jailing potentially noisy dissidents to making the
air invisible. Beijing is spending
$25 billion to divert scarce water supplies from
farming regions to the capital city so the "green"
Olympics the PRC advertises doesn`t run dry.
A couple months ago, reports popped up that the
Beijing arbiters of the new tastefulness were leaning on
restaurants to translate their food items in more
explanatory fashion for Olympic tourists; menu listings
"virgin chicken" and "steamed crap"
needed an editor`s fine eye to repair the often
hilarious expressions in
Double Cooked Dog
One of the big disappearing acts is the
removal of Dog (the dish) from Chinese menus, and
it`s not so funny. Few Westerners would be amused by
China`s normal behavior regarding dog eating. It`s not
so much that Chinese eat dogs and cats—which is bad
enough—but the wholly unnecessary level of wanton
cruelty is part of the cultural package, such as
China`s poor treatment of animals largely mirrors the
human rights record. Both are disturbing, to say the
least. It`s not just that animals bred for millennia to
trust humans are killed to eat. It would be
mass starvations, but increasing wealth has brought
obesity, not hunger. And yet the bad old habits of
needless brutality remain intact.
Painful slaughter is thought to release adrenalin
into the animal`s system which results in better tasting
meat, many Asian dog eaters believe. So the
methods of killing the creatures for eating are mind
- Pouring boiling water over the live animal to
increase the adrenaline production. Their throat is
cut and the meat left to dry.
- Holes are cut in the paws. The animal is then
left to bleed to death. This takes 10 minutes or so
but makes the meat taste better.
- Legs broken the night before slaughter then the
dog is skinned alive the next morning.
- Beating with sticks and slow strangulation/blow
the International Dog Meat Trade by Elly
Maynard and Deirdre Bourke]
Compare this horror with the work
Prof. Temple Grandin who has worked for decades to
make American slaughterhouses more humane.
Salon.com writer Ted Kerosote enjoyed his China ski
trip, until his western values confronted Chinese
attitudes about the treatment of animals:
An Olympic disgrace (March 28, 2008).
"On the day before we departed,
at lunch, our translator stood and called the mess hall
to silence. "To thank our
American friends for showing us so much about
skiing," he announced, "our chef will prepare a special
dish tonight." He nodded to the head coach, who waved
his hand toward the door. Two of the Chinese skiers,
standing at the ready, opened it with a flourish, and
the white-aproned chef stepped inside, holding aloft my
friend, the collie, by his tail. He had been gutted from
throat to groin. "
And aside from the food issues,
what could possibly be the reason to skin animals alive
for their fur? How hard would it be to kill them
cute kid`s toy made with real fur may well have come
from unspeakable cruelty on some Chinese fur factory:
Dying for Fur: Recent Investigation Shows Cruelty at
Chinese Fur Farms, Humane Society of the United
"Imagine buying a child`s toy or
a piece of furniture, never realizing you are actually
buying a product containing fur from a Chinese fur
farm—fur that was once a terrified Arctic fox, held in a
wire cage, abused, and eventually skinned alive. "
It has been
illegal to import dog or cat fur to the
United States since 2000, but we know how well that
product inspection thing has been going. For huggable
plush animals, forego the natural material and choose a
teddy bear in glorious pain-free polyester!
Can you imagine a
St. Bernard-skin rug as part of your home`s decor? A
Chinese entrepreneur thought one would be an attractive
addition to a bedroom arrangement he advertised in
New Zealand, until outraged Kiwis forced him to
present dog-free furnishings.
Another item in the Chinese parade of horrors is what
passes for zoos, at least the one described by a
Daily Mail reporter. Instead of providing
educational exhibits of wild creatures in their natural
habitats, the Badaltearing Safari Park is more akin to
the brutal sport of the Roman Coliseum:
Animals torn to pieces by lions in front of baying
crowds: the spectator sport China DOESN`T want you to
see, By Danny Penman, January 8, 2008.
"A man hoisted up the goat and
nonchalantly threw it over a wall into a pit full of
hungry lions. The poor goat tried to run for its life,
but it didn`t stand a chance. The lions quickly
surrounded it and started tearing at its flesh.
"Oohs" and "aahs" filled the air as the children
watched the goat being ripped limb from limb. Some
started to clap silently with a look of wonder in their
What a great start for youngsters
hoping for a fulfilling career in the People`s
For more dreadful details of third-world brutality to
domesticated creatures, see my 2006 article
Diversity Is… Cruelty to Animals.
All told, the decision to allow the Olympic Games in
China is looking like a bonehead decision from the
start. The hopeful spirits at the International Olympic
Committee thought that inviting the world over to the
PRC for some sports would improve
human rights there, but the groups who monitor such
things say that the opposite has occurred.
In addition, some untoward incident that would cause
a loss of face during China`s moment in the sun could
make them more belligerent. Many things could go badly
wrong, for example because of China`s wretched
air pollution, which was supposed to be cleaned up
looks iffy at this point.
If there is a human rights protest, concerning
example, the police reaction could get ugly. A
terrorist incident is always a possibility. Reporters
fear the kind of press freedom they were
promised as part of the original Olympic deal will
worthless as the other Beijing rubber checks.
Because Chinese officials are realizing they are not
ready for prime time, expectations have been downsized.
As a New York Sun headline recently observed, “New
Goal for China: Uneventful Olympics.” The
trade-off will be more repression for less chance of
disaster, so any enjoyment of athletic achievement will
be purely accidental.
The illusion of cheerful sports excellence against a
backdrop of the ancient Chinese culture can only happen
if the media acquiesce to the gruel fed to it by the PRC
government. Many news organizations will be happy with
predigested stories of photogenic athletes`
struggle to reach victory, but even a few curious
reporters could make control-minded police very nervous.
The Summer Olympic Games may show us more about Red
China than we want to know. An authoritarian government
plus the worst aspects of Chinese culture viewed under
even the cursory scrutiny of the whole world is a very
unstable situation. Removing
dog from the menus is the least of Red China`s
problems this August, but it is indicative of the bigger
Brenda Walker (email
her) lives in Northern California and publishes
ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She hopes that
skeet-surfing has finally been added to the Olympic