Steve's China Blog

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dog gone it

Back on August 9th I provided a link to a story about dogs being beaten to death here to stop the spread of rabies.

Chinese county clubs to death 50,000 dogs

SHANGHAI, China - China slaughtered 50,000 dogs in a government-ordered crackdown after three people died of rabies, sparking unusually pointed criticism in state media Tuesday and an outcry from animal rights activists.

There have been some developments about this story. In August there was this story about the Humane Society offering to help setup a program to immunize the dogs in China...

Humane Society Offers Aid for China Dogs

The Humane Society on Wednesday said it will give China $100,000 to vaccinate dogs against rabies if it promises to immediately stop their mass slaughter in areas where humans have died from the disease.

The financial aid was offered to help set up a rabies control program in Jining, a city in the coastal province of Shandong, where officials last week killed thousands of dogs after 16 people died of rabies over an eight-month period.

I have not heard of any rabies control programs being setup, so who knows where that money went. Earlier this month the government came up with the idea of the "One Dog" Policy in Beijing.

China issues 'one dog' policy in Beijing

BEIJING - It's the year of the dog in China, but it's not a good year for man's best friend: an effort to stamp out rabies has prompted authorities to limit families in Beijing to only one dog. The directive, reported by state media on Wednesday, follows a campaign in which tens of thousands of dogs were killed to fight the disease.

In a reminder of the country's "one child" policy, the official Xinhua News Agency said Beijing was instituting a "one dog" policy for each household in nine areas.

"Only one pet dog is allowed per household in the zones, and dangerous and large dogs will be banned. Anyone keeping an unlicensed dog will face prosecution," Xinhua said.

A few days after this new policy was announced something rather amazing happened... A few hundred dog owners staged a protest in the middle of Beijing!

Dog day afternoon

Demonstrators angry over a crackdown on dogs staged a noisy protest in China's capital yesterday, demanding a stop to mass killings to control pet populations.

About 200 police kept watch and strung up tape to cordon off the roughly 500 demonstrators, as they held up stuffed animals, waved signs and chanted "Down with Dog-raising Restrictions" near the entrance to the Beijing Zoo.

...and Dog owners bite back in China’s great pet purge

In an echo of the days when Chairman Mao denounced his foes as "running dogs", hundreds of angry pet owners confronted the police in Beijing yesterday in a protest against the regime’s new "one-dog policy".

Eighteen people were arrested in noisy scuffles as about 500 dog owners gathered in a rare unauthorised demonstration near Beijing Zoo.

Several of the middle-class protesters wore badges that read "stop the killing" and waved furry stuffed toys in the hope of softening the hearts of the riot police and plain-clothes security men who surrounded them.

One complained that the pet-lovers’ protest was treated as if Beijing were under martial law. Police cordoned off the area, massed hundreds of reinforcements in nearby streets and tried to stop photography and filming.

This news article is in Chinese, but it has some really great pictures, such as these:

Usually we hear about protests out in the country where some corrupt politician is stealing land from farmers (such as in this story), or students rioting for some reason or another (such as in this story), but I had never heard of a pet owners' protest before.

Of course, the protesters have a point... Not all dog owners should be punished, or their dogs killed, simply because the owners of 97% of the dogs in China are either too cheap or too stupid to get their dogs immunized against rabies. Like most Chinese policies this is just a cruel short term solution. And the police response was a good indication of how these protests scare the people who make the cruel policies.

Crackdown infuriates dog owners

In an effort to disperse the crowd, the police seized several placards and detained 15 protesters, allegedly beating some of them. This further infuriated the crowd, which responded with shouts of "Release the people!", attracting passers-by to join the protest.

Although the demonstration was largely peaceful, anti-riot squads were sent to maintain order and plainclothes police milled through the crowd.


"Why can't I raise more than one dog, while the nation raises stupid or corrupt officials? Why can they go to our homes to take away our property?" a man shouted. The crowd yelled: "Down with corrupt officials!"

Zhang Luping, a Beijing-based animal rights activist, said her animal protection website was shut yesterday. Police told her the closure was due to her "leaking state secrets".

It sure would be strange if there was a regime change in China because of dogs.


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