Food scandals are undermining trust in China’s new regime
Rat meat dressed up as lamb, adulterated milk and baby formula, substandard school textbooks – the Chinese have plenty to be concerned about right now apart from the perennial problems of pollution and growing concern about falling economic growth. The country’s new leader, Xi Jinping, has been talking of pursuing a “China dream”, but cruder everyday realities keep intruding, posing what may be the central challenge for his administration.
There have been recurrent cases of milk being treated with harmful chemicals to raise its protein count, not to mention buns recycled being after passing their sell-by date, plus the thousands of diseased pig carcasses that floated down the river through Shanghai in March. This is all on top of an environmental crisis – not only the heavy smog in Beijing and other cities but also poisoned rivers and heavy metal deposits from smelters together with fears of toxic discharges from petrochemical plants.
Student activists try to save wildlife on China’s menu
Eating rare wildlife is normal in southern China, but a growing group of student activists is trying to do something considered far stranger: they are trying to save them.
The nascent NGO conservation movement is stepping in where the authorities have had limited success by monitoring markets and restaurants, reporting sales of endangered species and trying to change the consumer culture. Among the youngest of several small groups is the Asian Turtle Rehabilitation Project, established earlier this year to save the reptiles from the soup pot.
The founding members say they are trying to cross the divide between the culture in which they were raised and the global conservation concerns they have been exposed to via the internet and schooling.