China, despite its economic reforms and rapid growth, remains a brutal Communist tyranny. Last week President Hu Jintao smiled with President Bush for our cameras in the U.S, basked in the bootlicking of a gala dinner given by Washington's business flacks, and clinked glasses with tycoons like Bill Gates, whose computer technology aids and abets China's massive repression. Yet we must not forget the student dead of Tiananmen Square; the imprisoned and tortured political dissenters, Christians and members of the Falun Gong sect; the slave laborers and child laborers whose work is sold in Wal-Mart; the fetuses aborted at nine months because they have Down's Syndrome or other diseases, or because the regime doesn't want them; and the people of Tibet, a country that has been culturally and demographically raped for decades.
The tyranny of the Chinese regime raises the question of why the U.S. should have friendly relations with it at all. Of course, the conventional wisdom is that by cooperating with the Chinese economically, we are leading them toward political freedom. But there is no evidence that this is happening, any more than that our touting of “democracy” in the Muslim Mideast has led to the liberalization of those societies. What is more likely is that our economic relationship with the tyrannical Chinese regime is merely serving to legitimize and empower it. Why would we want to do that? What’s in it for us, and for our supposed ideals? Is this just another example of American liberalism run amok, in which we imagine that it’s somehow noble to help raise up people who despise us and everything we stand for?
If we learned anything from the Cold War against Soviet Communism, it is that if a regime is cruel toward its own people, it will be hostile toward the outside world as well. President Hu and his party prefer to be identified more with their cheap products sold in Wal-Mart than with their cruelty to their own citizens, which they largely manage to hide from outside view. But one aspect of China’s brutality that is supported and encouraged by the regime is fully open to view. It involves their treatment of animals. Chinese cruelty to animals may not normally be the sort of issue that engages the passions of conservatives, yet it certainly gives us a “taste” of the brutality the Chinese inflict on humans.
Many readers are aware that the Chinese eat dogs and cats, an estimated 10 million each year, according to the Hong Kong humane group Animals Asia. Dog meat is sold in cans and vacuum packs in growing numbers of supermarkets in China. What people are not aware of is that the Chinese are slaughtering dogs and cats for fur for foreign export. According to one report:
Millions of dogs and cats in China are being bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be turned into trim and trinkets. This fur is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from other species and is exported to countries throughout the world to be sold to unsuspecting customers in retail stores. China supplies more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States, so the bottom line is that because dog and cat fur is so often mislabeled, if you're buying fur, there's no way to tell whose skin you're wearing.
The sale of such furs in this country may be stopped by a bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA).
As repellent as the slaughter of pets for meat and fur is to us as Westerners, the dogs and cats are not only killed, they are slowly tortured; they are bled or beaten to death; they are boiled or butchered alive. The Chinese believe that the more the animals suffer the better they “taste.” German shepherds have been seen being skinned alive in a frigid warehouse in Harbin. Ironically, China this year is celebrating “The Year of the Dog.” Does Wal-Mart, now operating and expanding in China, sell dog and cat meat there?
Another humane group website, the Asian Animals Protection Network, has photographs showing men thrusting knives into the necks of fully conscious dogs, then hanging them on an incline as their blood runs out. Others show people gathered at a roadside with dogs tied to a truck or railroad tracks. As man’s best friend cries out, and as the next victims look on petrified, several men or women are seen holding him while another cuts his chest open and butchers him on the spot. Mangled corpses are all around.
The dogs and cats are raised on huge “farms” in extremely crowded and filthy conditions that in any civilized country would result in the farms being shut down for animal cruelty. Some farms import giant, gentle breeds like St. Bernards, the beloved rescue dogs. These are cross-bred with local dogs to produce a fast growing “meat dog” that can be profitably slaughtered at the age of four months. The dogs’ journey from “farm” to market is worse. Animals Asia investigators have observed trucks carrying up to 2000 dogs arriving at a notorious market in Guangzhou. The animals had endured three days and nights wedged on top of each other in cages, deprived of food and water. Large numbers of dead and sick dogs and cats have been seen lying beside the cages at the market. The ones still alive are brutally lifted by the neck and flung into a pen by a man using metal tongs. Other investigators have witnessed dogs tied in nets being dumped from trucks, some crying as their feet are broken; then they are flung with the tongs into fenced areas where laughing men bludgeon them just for kicks. Cats are slowly bled to death on curbs as the expectant diners look on. See story here.
According to Animals Asia, these practices have arisen mainly in the past few decades and are not endemic to Chinese culture. They are, however, carried on with the knowledge and sometimes the active support of the government. They are growing rapidly into a large industry in many areas, including Guangzhou, Hubei, Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin.
China is not alone. Though human eating of dog or cat meat has been outlawed in some Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines, South Korea is on the same beastly level as China. Koreans go around in neighborhoods, find "edible" dogs, steal them and sell them for their meat. According to the Korea Animal Protection Society, millions of dogs and hundreds of thousands of cats each year are tortured to death for a dog-stew or a cat juice that many believe offer mythical health benefits—provided the victims suffer enough. Dogs in Korea are strangled to death, often from trees, for up to an hour, or bludgeoned to death with pipes or hammers, then blowtorched. Cats are boiled alive or beaten to death in sacks pounded into the ground. (see this and this).
Like East Asians, we eat livestock, poultry, and fish. But we have laws and moral norms against deliberate cruelty, even if there are many abuses. In China, the barbaric treatment of animals is combined with brutal treatment of humans. Indeed, just as cruelty toward animals has been found by criminologists often to precede violence against humans, China’s rampant, mindless cruelty toward man’s best friend, and toward his best feline friend, sheds light on its cruelty toward its own people, and those of Tibet. It is a further indication that the International Olympics Committee’s decision to hold the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing ranks with its infamous decisions to hold the 1936 games in Hitler’s Berlin and the 1980 games in Communist Moscow. The participating athletes, now in arduous training for their place in the sun, ought to review China’s human rights record, and its treatment of animals. They can look at the photos linked in this article, and think twice about what they eat if they decide to lend themselves, body and soul, to this still primitive, tyrannical country’s propaganda extravaganza.
Spencer Warren, formerly counsel to two congressmen and a senator, is president of the Insider’s Washington Experience, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy seminar. Lawrence Auster is the author of The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism. He offers a traditionalist conservative perspective at View from the Right.
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