The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : China Denounces Pet Dogs as Filthy Imports From the West The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : China Denounces Pet Dogs as Filthy Imports From the West

Thursday, August 14, 2014

China Denounces Pet Dogs as Filthy Imports From the West

Bangkok, China - They slink through Chinese streets dropping poop like “land mines.” They are a blight on “social peace and harmony.”

Pet dogs, in the eyes of China’s Communist Party, are a modern-day menace. And the Chinese urbanites who’ve grown infatuated with Spot and Rover are acting out a “crude and ludicrous imitation ... of a Western lifestyle.”

So goes a recent op-ed in the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official news outlet.

The op-ed decries a “dog infestation” in China’s cities. Its urgent message to selfish dog owners: scoop those land mines - or else.

And yet the writer concedes that pet ownership is proof of China’s economic ascent. After all, starving peasants can’t afford to pamper Shih Tzus.

The ranks of people who can afford dog chow is rising fast. By 2030, according to the United Nations, China’s middle class will be four times the size of America’s middle class. Many Chinese can now seek out what Western consumers have long enjoyed: cars, flat-screen TVs and, yes, pet poodles. In Beijing, the number of registered dogs hit 1 million in 2012.

The doggie denouncement coincides with a revived effort to stamp out certain Western beliefs and behaviors taking root in 21st-century China. Officials are taking aim at bigger perils to social harmony, including democracy, an obsession with “individual rights” and the “free flow of information on the internet.”

“During Mao’s cultural revolution, dog ownership was condemned as elitist.”

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A Chinese man who supplements his income by walking dogs around the Houhai Lake area of Beijing on December 11, 2012. Dog ownership is popular amongst China?s elderly and the growing middle class but Beijing owners cannot keep dogs taller than 36 centimeters.

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This picture taken on March 18, 2014 shows an unidentified man posing for a photo with two Tibetan mastiffs after they were sold at a "luxury pet" fair in Hangzhou, in eastern China's Zhejiang province. One of the Tibetan mastiff puppies (L) was sold in China for almost two million USD, a report said on March 19, in what could be the most expensive dog sale ever.

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An old man and his Pekingese dog in an ancient street of Beijing, China.

Officials in Shanghai have experimented with an even stricter edict: If dog owners can’t convince neighbors to approve of their dogs, the animal is confiscated by the state.

Dogs who aren’t up to code can be yanked out of owners’ arms. That was the fate of one white pooch, confiscated by cops in this cell phone video that went viral in China.

All of these rules on dog ownership, however, are increasingly flouted.

A documentary titled “Oversized Dogs” focuses entirely on Chinese citizens defying dog laws. Its director calls this trend “an important part of Chinese dissent.”

Meanwhile, the Communist Party’s media arm keeps cranking out editorials about dogs.

Just one month ago, the People’s Daily published another piece urging animal rights activists to stop berating fellow Chinese who view dogs as a culinary delicacy.

The op-ed first revives the elitist legacy of pet dogs in China: “Over China’s long history, they have only recently become pets except in the imperial court where Pekingese were kept exclusively for the royals.”

Another group suspiciously fond of canines? That’s right — foreigners. Though Westerners call dogs “man’s best friend,” the People’s Daily states, “Chinese people have only ever kept watchdogs or hunting dogs — along with those to be eaten.”


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