Panda in Shenzhen Zoo Sick, Hungry & Exploited

Poor panda, poor Yongba in Shenzhen.

This is a recent internet topic that is spreading on the Chinese internet. It was posted less than two days ago on 2008 January 5. It is about a 25-year-old female panda named Yongba who is now living at the Shenzhen Wild Animal Park (their website currently does not work) and the heartbreak of a netizen who went to see her one afternoon.

From Tianya and Mop:

Yongba is 25-years-old this year. One year for pandas is similar to about 3-4 years for humans, so Yongbu can be said to have entered her final ailing years. She came to settle at the Shenzhen Wild Animal Park in 2004. I am ashamed, I only started paying attention to our national treasures’ lives after the 5.12 [Sichuan] earthquake last year, having spent a little over two months in our Panda Homeland BBS discussion forum. In our crowd, there is a friend who said Yongba is in Shenzhen, and what more, has heard that her life is not very good there. It was because of this that I found time yesterday to go take a look at her. Upon seeing her, I truly could not stop myself from crying outside her cage.

This is an older picture of Yongba when she was only 12-years-old and much healthier than now.

The above is a picture of Yongba when she was young [13 years ago, in 1995], a very pretty panda. Tian Tian inherited her eye spots.

Yesterday noon, I went to the the Shenzhen Wild Animal Park [Zoo]. Right upon entering the Panda exhibit there were workers calling out: Buy panda souvenirs. Then there was a worker who followed me saying: We can let you take a picture with the panda. I asked him: “How?” He replied: “We can have the panda come to the outer cage. We will take the picture for you, 10 RMB each.”

At the time, I only replied: “Maybe later, let me first go look at the panda.” Upon seeing Yongba, she was in the inner cage, and the glass had not been cleaned in a long time. Yongba was banging on a metal door in the inner cage. A little while later, I saw a worker bring her a bowl of milk and a few sticks of bamboo. Yongba drank the milk and ate the bamboo. Finished eating, about 10-20 minutes later, Yongba again goes and knocks on that metal door.

I stayed at there [the zoo] an entire afternoon. Upon seeing there tourists come over, the workers tell them that they can take pictures with the panda, each time 10 RMB. There were indeed two sets of tourists who came over to take pictures.

When there are guests who want to take pictures, they [the workers] open the small door that lets Yongba go from her inner cage to the outer cage. Yongba will then come to the outer cage. I felt this is not something recent, but something that has been happening for a long time. Once Yongba arrives at the outer cage, workers stick a small piece of apple on a bamboo stick and give it to Yongba while the visitors sit in front of Yongba to take a picture. There is even a worker who uses a toy gun making noises to get Yongba to look at the camera lense. For each picture taken [with tourists], Yongba can get two small pieces of apple. After the picture is taken, Yongba immediately returns to her inner cage, never looking back, as if maintaining her last remaining bit of self-respect. Once Yongba returns to her inner cage, the little door connecting the inner cage and outer cage is shut. I stayed an entire afternoon, there were two sets of visitors who took pictures [with Yongba].

While I was at Yongba’s outer cage, I saw Yongba every 10-20 minutes would go knock on that big metal door where the first worker mentioned above brought her food, only then realizing that Yongba was asking for food from the workers.

I asked the worker: How much food do you give Yongba a day?

The worker replied: Each day, milk two times, “wowotou” three times [a type of steamed bread made of corn].

I asked further: Are nutrients added to the milk?

The worker replied: No.

Me: These bamboo, where are they shipped from?

Worker: They come from here, Shenzhen.

According to my observations all afternoon, Yongba is presently 25-years-old, and has very little capacity to eat bamboo leaves. After returning [home] last night, I asked [probably online] a panda nanny [someone who takes care of baby pandas?], and the panda nanny said: usually old pandas should not be drinking milk because it is bad for their bodies. A Fuzhou grandmother panda [old female panda] named Ba Si eats chopped bamboo leaves and two apples a day that have been shredded. Moreover, old pandas usually begin collecting water in their stomachs [swelling?], so Ba Si has been taking medication and other health products. But for Yongba, these are luxuries. Each day, Yongba can only eat two bowls of milk, three “wo wo tou” [a small cone-shaped steamed bread made of corn], can only get apples by taking pictures with tourists, and each time only two small pieces. Yongba does not get any medicine or health products. Perhaps a 25-year-old panda is already of no more use or value in many people’s eyes. When she was young, she made a huge contribution to the panda population by breeding a circle of pandas. Her sons, Tian Tian and Long Fei (now at Fuzhou Panda World), daughter Xi Xi (the giant panda that was lost in the 5.12 [Sichuan] earthquake and later found), Fei Fei. Amongst the Olympic pandas, Mei Qiao and Feng Yi were both Yongba’s grandchildren. Now hat she is old, unable to give birth anymore, she had no choice but to come to Shenzhen Wild Animal Park to spend her old years Can it be that we cannot give Yongba a little respect and some concern?

A picture of Yongba looking up from her outer cage, waiting for the zoo staff to give her two pieces of apple as a 'reward' for taking pictures with zoo tourists.

This is a recent picture of Yongba, standing where she takes pictures with tourists. Her energy is very different compared to other pandas her age, Dong Dong and Ming Ming, and Ba Si who is even older than her. Yongba looks truly like an old lady.

Yongba is given two pieces of apple for each photograph she takes with zoo visitors.

Workers stick a small piece of apple on a bamboo stick to give her, while tourists take pictures in front of her. Everyoen can see Yongba’s four limbs are all very emaciated, but her stomach is very big. Old pandas usually all have ascites. However, from the coversations I had with the workers, Shenzhen Wild Animal Park do not give Yongba regular medical check-ups, and have no considerations with regard to food. While I was there for the entire afternoon, Yongba only defecated twice, the feces amout was very little, and it was obvious that it took her a lot of effort to defecate. Because Shenzhen’s climate is humid, it even easy for humans to develop constipation. In this aspect, Shenzhen Wild Animal Park also have not given any special care [to Yongba].

Netizens say her large, hanging belly shows that she is not healthy and not being taken care of properly.

This picture is particularly obvious that Yongba’s body size is very small, similar to a 2 to 3-year-old pre-adolescent panda’s body size, but her abdomen is very large. Usually old pandas will all have ascites. Because Yongba generally always stays in the inner cage and the inner cage’s glass is reflective, the picture is very unclear.

Hungry, Yongba bangs against the metal door where the zoo staff delivers food. She is begging for more food.

Every 10-20 minutes, Yongba will go beat on this metal door. The workers deliver her meals through this metal door. is where the workers give her food on the metal door. According to the amount of food the workers said they give Yongba when I asked, I do not think Yongba has enough to eat.

A picture of Shenzhen zoo workers arranging tourists to get a picture with the panda, Yongba.

When there are tourists willing to pay 10 RMB for a picture, workers will put Yongba in the outer cage. The tourist will sit on this threshold with Yongba behind them. The person holding the long stick is a worker.

After taking a picture with zoo guests, Yongba immediately goes back to her cage.

After taking the picture with the tourist, Yongba immediately returns to her inner cage and the little door between the inner cage and outer cage is immediately closed. Looking at the words “Giant Panda is precious” painted on the fake stone, I feel it is a kind of ridicule.

Yongba stays awake all day hoping to get more apples by taking pictures with zoo visitors who pay 10 RMB each picture.

Unbearably, I could only watch Yongba through the glass. This inner cage is also where Yongba sleeps at night. There for an entire afternoon, Yongba basically did not sleep. Maybe she remembers she has the task of taking pictures, and that each time she can get two small pieces of apply. Usually old pandas should spend most of their days sleeping, just like how people are always complaining that when they go to see pandas, the pandas are always sleeping. Actually, people should not complain, them being able to sleep is a good thing. Watching Yongba, I felt really awful in my heart.

A picture of a sad and old Yongba.

Yongba, are you resentful? Do you resent the people who sent you here to Shenzhen Wild Animal Park, resent the people who take care of you at Shenzhen Wild Animal Park? Actually, we should not say “take care,” we should say the people who are still trying to squeeze some profit off your body. Do you miss your children? Tian Tian is living very well in America, and gave you a very beautiful and cute grandson called Taishan. The Americans like their family of three very much. Your daughter Xi Xi and Fei Fei are both very pretty, both inheriting your good looks. For the 8 Olympic pandas, your two grandchildren Mei Xi and Feng Yi were both chosen and are still in Beijing right now. Mei Xi is very beautiful and Feng Yi’s disposition is very good, often smiling at people. Your little son, Long Fei, is currently in Fuzhou. You can rest easy, Fuzhou Panda World all treat pandas very well.

A sign about Ming Ming, a giant panda in Guangzhou.

This is a picture I took when I when I went to Guangzhou Xiangjiang Safari Park to see old grandmother Ming Ming last year in November. Ming Ming is older than Yongba by 5 years, but Ming Ming’s energy is very good. She is drinking the zoo’s specially prepared drink.

Ming Ming, a giant panda in Guangzhou Zoo eating from a big bowl.

This is a picture of old grandmother Ming Ming having her drink. You can see that Ming Ming’s energy is very good and Xiangjiang Safari Park takes very good care of her.

Giant panda Ming Ming in Guangzhou lying down.

After finishing drinking, old lady Ming Ming rests happily lying on her back with her four legs sticking up towards the sky. Seeing this kind of circumstances, it really makes people feel relaxed [unworried].

Comments from Tianya:

Can it be that the zoo is so poor that it cannot afford to give the national treasure [panda] good food?

I strongly demand changing Yongba’s living environment, but what can be changed only relying on the internet’s power? The internet can human flesh search bad people, can punish, but is truly powerless in regards to the panda that lives there…I do not know how we can help it. What should we do?

I remember the Chengdu Research Base’s “gun gun” [a nickname for “pandas” that means “rolling things” like how pandas play], they were living very happily….
Every Spring Festival when I return home, I go visit “gun gun“…but no break this year, cannot go back, tears flowing…

Not allowed to abuse pandas!
Not allowed to abuse pandas!
Not allowed to abuse pandas!
Not allowed to abuse pandas!

This is the reality of the world. Even if it has the halo of national treasure, so what?
Moreover, every animal in every zoo all do not live well, right?
I do not know how we can help them.

I fucking really want to buy a train of apples and crash it onto the Shenzhen Zoo boss’s face! Are you fucking still human?
Reading this was unbearable, I cannot take it anymore. Tomorrow I will begin to make phone calls. Everyone work together, and hopefully we can give Yongba a more comfortable environment. It would be good if she can just get eat enough to eat. This outcome is truly not what she deserves.

This is the first Tianya topic I have replied to. Seeing this makes me want to cry. “Ding” this up, so Yongba’s life in her final years will not be this tragic!

Upon reading the part where she knocks on the metal door every 20 minutes to ask for food, I felt so terrible. Keeping “gun gun” hanging like this, is it because they are afraid she will go to sleep after she is full and they cannot make money using her to take pictures with? The zoo is too inhumane!

The more I look at Yongba, the more terrible I feel.
The “gun gun” I remember seeing, if they not playing, they were eating bamboo, eating “wotou,” eating fruit, or sleeping.
Last time I saw a show that said “gun gun” are animals that eat, then sleep, then eat~~~ now, in order to get such a small piece of apple, she forces herself to stay upright~~
So sad~~~ Yongba ~~ I will buy a pile of apples for you ~~~ you be good and go to sleep~~

It is old now and no longer has any value for exploitation so it is thrown to a side.
I do not think the zoo cannot afford to give her more food, but rather they hope it can hurry up and die because it no longer has any value for exploitation.

Ding.” I also used to like going to the zoo but now that I go, I just feel awful when seeing them~~~
Poor Yongba. I just want to ask, of the people who take care of the animals in the zoo, just how many truly love them [the animals]? I even bang my head [against the ground] wanting to a job of taking care of pandas~~~

Another netizen in the comments for the Tianya post also posted this old story about baby tigers being abused also in a Guangzhou province zoo (probably the same one):

[The workers at] Shenzhen Wild Animal Park truly are not human!!!

Abuse of baby tigers in Guangzhou Zoo

Guangdong News. Yesterday (October 4) was “World Animal Day,” and this Guangzhou zoo was condemned by visitors for the abuse of baby tigers. Souvenir photo workers beating little tigers caused children to cry out and adults to feel regret.

The exposer Mr. Liu. said that the zoo’s souvenir photo department arranged for two tiger cubs to be on a 1 square meter wooden platform to take pictures with visitors. If the tiger cubs try to leave the wooden platform even a little, the workers will “disicipline” with various “tiger-control” methods they created. WIthin about half an hour, Mr. Liu witnessed six commonly used “actions”: using both hands to raise the tiger then slamming it down, using one hand to raise and slam, full-force pressing on the tigers head, using a bamboo whip to whip the tiger’s nose, seizing and lifting a tiger by the ear, and slapping the tiger’s face.

Mr. Liu was startled when seeing such casual and rough actions. As a zoo that protects animals and disseminates information, such behaviors should not be allowed to exist.

A report of a Guangzhou zoo abusing baby tigers.

Strongly protest Shenzhen Wild Animal Park workers rough abusive of animals!!!
Ding [this topic] until something is done!!!

Tiger cub being pressed down by zoo worker.

Seizing and lifting a tiger by the ear.

Tiger cub being raised into the air by its ear.

Anther Tianya member replying to this topic later posted more pictures of Yongba from 2008:

Let me post a few pictures of what the panda looked like when I when I went to Shenzhen Wild Animal Park in 2008 March.
Very thin, abdomen very large, body very dirty, walked around very slowly, very sad.

Yongba in March 2008, also in Shenzhen.

The giant panda in Shenzhen Wild Animal Park.

The panda also did not look healthy almost one year ago.

One more picture. Look at how skinny and bony she is. My heart really hurts.

Yongba looks thin and bony.

This original poster updated the first post with information on who to call or contact to complain:

China Forestry Bureau Tel:
84238800 (114 investigation, switchboard to change)
010-84238568 (National Giant Panda Management Office)

Guangdong Forestry Bureau Tel:
83340326 83389053

China Wildlife Conservation Association
Tel: 010-84239015

World Wide Fund for Nature

World Organization for Animal Protection Association

Today, the Tianya post was updated again with this news:

Newest progress report, related department taking action:

Investigation: Shenzhen Wild Animal Park asked to rectify and reform [from Sina]

Sichaun News Network January 7 report: Yesterday, Li Desheng told this reporter that China Giant Panda Research Center has received reports, and at present has already asked Shenzhen Wild Animal Park, where “Yongba” is currently living, for a written reply and a deadline for when the current problem will be fixed. Shenzhen Wild Animal Park is denying that “Yongba” is being “abused.” Li Desheng states that there may be a problem with a segment within Shenzhen Wild Animal Park but until the final investigation results come out, we cannot be sure that there is a situation of “abuse” towards “Yongba” in this zoo. Li Deshen says if netizen reports are truly so bad, China Giant Panda Research Center will consider taking “Yong ba” back to Wolong.

The Guangdong Province Foresty Department yesterday afternoon also stated that they are presently investigating this matter. (Chengdu Business Newspaper) (Original text from: Sichuan News Network, Journalist: Liu Wei & Guo Jingjing)

See more posts about animals in China:

Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


Leave a Reply

    Some posts were deleted by accident this morning and I was force to reload an old backup of the website. The website has been very slow, so I have spend the last 6-7 hours trying to fix everything. Before I reload the old backup database, I tried to save most of the comments for the new posts but I know some comments have been lost. Here are the comments I saved:

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    What has the world come to when animals are mistreated in China?

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    i’m not surprised. i’ve been to shanghai zoo last week and it was the same, if not worse. one very sad looking panda in a very small and dirty cage. shame on them! so much for a “national trasure”

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 1:19 am

    When I was in Sichuan I went to a horrifying zoo; one of the animals there was a bear in a pit and to make money the zoo literally had a menu of animals, you could pay them and they would feed that animal to the bear. The bigger the more expensive, of course. What does it say about a people when watching animals get ripped to pieces is entertainment that you pay for? It’s not just Sichuan, because on the other side of the country in Heilongjiang they have a Siberian Tiger reserve that has the same thing. Also, the fact these types of business models exist serve to prove that there is definitely an active market for these things. Before you fenqing and panda-lovers get your panties in a wad and point out animal abuses in the West through grit teeth, remember that just because a sin happens elsewhere in the world doesn’t mean it absolves the guilt of China doing it, nor does it cancel out one’s ability to criticize it. ;D

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 1:40 am

    This is so sad!!! Isn’t there an international organization that deals with these sort of things???

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 4:25 am

    This is disgusting. I believe there’s plenty of funding to protect panda, so how come the zoo worker treat panda like this?

    @ 哈哈哈

    You lost your sense after the “Before you fenqing..” sentence. Can you find a single translated comment that supports the mistreat or use foreign abuse as an excuse? Don’t stereotype a country and its people. It’s funny you used the word fenqing since your comments make you fit into that category pretty well: fenqing attack everything blindly because of their childish(qing) angry(fen) mood.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 5:05 am

    It is so very expensive to keep pandas. There are only four zoos here that have any. They have to pay China $1 million a year and any profits to borrow the animals. The only way they can afford it is to take donations, at the zoo and on the internet. They also find corporate sponsorships to help bring the cost down. Even then each zoo loses about $4 million a year on care and feeding.

    It might be that Shenzhen just doesn’t have the money to properly care for Yongba. Maybe that’s why they try so hard to sell souvenirs.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 7:00 am

    lack of regulation/enforcement = lack of requirement for qualification = lack of education and qualification = anyone can become a keeper = animal abuse

    once the men at the top fix all the other crap, maybe they will come around to the zoos.

    now quit bitching noobs.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 8:27 am


    First of all, when does comments from a blog count as a proper guage of a social phenomenon? That’s a stupid thing to think of. Just because comments on that particular post show an outpouring of disapproval against the treatment of this panda doesn’t mean that animal abuse in China *isn’t* a large-scale social problem enabled by the apathy of most Chinese people. You could find blog comments on any number of blog posts that could depict the Chinese people in any number of ways (except, of course, critical of the government because those get deleted). I would think someone like you would be more intelligent than to suggest individuals use blog comments to inform their opinions on Chinese culture, because if you really subscribe to that belief I could “prove” to you with your own standards that the Chinese are a bunch of mindless nationalist idiots; they’re not, but they could be proven so by your own standards.

    No, I don’t use blog comments to sense out social phenomenon. I try to find more concrete indicators, one of which I wrote about in my comment, and you failed to address.

    Like I said above, the fact that it seems to be a regular business practice for Chinese zoos to offer the spectacle of predatory animals ripping other animals to pieces in front of whoever pays – be it adult or child – definitely means that there is something wrong with Chinese cultural beliefs on animals. We have to recall that much of China runs on a market system and the mere existence of “Pay to watch animal ripped to shreds” business plans across the country means that there are enough people in this country who are buying this service to make it profitable. Granted, you may be tempted to say “Well, not EVERYONE is paying to see a lamb get ripped to shreds by a starved bear,” but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this is a sustainable business model and therefore there are enough people supporting it and “enough” has to be a lot for it to be operating all over China – even in a place as well funded as the Siberian Tiger reserve in Harbin. Secondly, and more importantly, the existence of this type of business means there isn’t enough social pressure from the silent majority at large to shut this horrid type of business down. In other words, not enough people care. Sure, when a bunch of super duper cute cats are rounded up in Nanjing and sent to be eaten in Guangdong, a bunch of college students try to protest – admirable, in one sense, but still disappointing because obviously forces profiting from the eating of cats managed to reschedule the shipment of cats to avoid a run in with the protesters – profits prevail. Sure, a bunch of people get indignant at the treatment of a panda, but it’s the national animal, a symbol of national pride. But it shouldn’t be about cute kitty cats or respecting the national symbol, there should be a shared, cultural belief that animals shouldn’t be treated like shit, and China has a long, long way to go. Sure, this type of mentality takes a very long time to develop and even in the West only a few decades ago things were pretty bad and even today the raising of commercial animals such as pigs and cows is pretty inhumane, but that doesn’t eliminate my right to puzzle at why such a business exists in China.

    USTCer, you are a fenqing. First of all, you seem to have a tendency to immediately dimiss anything negative a foreigner says about China as bashing. Secondly, just because my tone is snarky and sarcastic you think that negates the substance of my observations. Both of these are wrong. Foreigners have every right to criticize China, and they can do so in whatever tone they want. Likewise, Chinese people have every right to criticize, say, America, and do so in whatever tone they want. I hold this belief, perhaps because I was educated in a Western system and taught that all arguments should be heard and none should be silenced, that this is the ideal we should stive for.You should respect that right, as I do, on all sides, and analyze arguments based on their content, irregardless of tone.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 8:28 am

    My zoo in California has pandas and has had some success in breeding them. The pit they stay in is pretty awesome, with lots of bamboo, plants and space. However their nice arrangements mean that if you go see them they will almost always be hiding somewhere by themselves. Its better that way i guess. China seems overdue for better regulation or public pressure on animal abuse.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 8:45 am

    never forget that mexico was the first to have panda kids, chinese vets where very idiots, while mexican vets invented special food and cares for them, china gave 2 pandas to mexico in 1975 and they had so many pandas, that they had to return some pandas to china, and of course all the knowledge to take care of them, seems that the bread they eat is a mexican recipe, but they also invented a special drink, also you will never see them asking form money to take pictures with pandas, if you are lucky and you find them outside thats all, but if any of those pandas are a gift from Mexico, and they heard about this, they could ask the pandas for return, and never forget that if you can see a panda in a zoo, is thanks to mexico, because chinese, american and any other zoos with pandas, just had them some time and then they died, because they didnt know how to take care of pandas.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Beijing Zoo is the only one I know of that treats animals right, because their stuff are morally and professionally competent at maintaining non-human’s well being and its an iconic place of china, the rest I’ve been to, including small ones in beijing and other cities, well, they simply build some pens and throw whatever in, then occasionally drop some raw ribs or carrot, so animals are worse off in these places than in the wilderness.

    Swiss James
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Am I the only one who read that and thought

    “Wow, only 10RMB to get your photo taken with a Panda? Cool”


    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:58 am


    I think you are getting on the right track. Poor regulatory controls and lack of education and more importantly ON THE JOB TRAINING for handling animals.

    It will help if the people are properly trained, educated and paid appropriately.

    When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Well is this a surprise to anyone who has been in China and seen how people treat animals and each other? 5000 years of civilization my ass

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Where is Shenzhen’s elite. All the people in luxury cars, fancy offices and condos. Shame on you all for letting a national treasure like this be treated in this way.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 10:30 am

    @ 哈哈哈

    Find my ‘tendency to immediately dimiss anything negative a foreigner says about China’? Hey I didn’t deny anything about the part of your comment before the “Before” sentence. It’s the second part of your comment that looks funny to me that you think people would use foreign abuse to justify their own faults to animals, and I wanted to say something. Yes, you don’t take “blog comments to sense out social phenomenon” but why take fenqing’s words that seriously? The word fenqing is more about ability of reasoning rather than political view point (the biggest role model for fenqing, Lu Xun, is anti government and against unhealthy part of Chinese tradition).

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm


    I never knew 鲁迅 is role model for fenqings, in fact fenqings don’t deserve to be his fans. Mr. Lu had the courage to voice and stand up against corrupt government that sold china to foreign powers and then trashed its own people, this act alone is beyond impossible for fenqings to, shall we say, imitate.

    and he was full of reasoning and logic, which is another virtue fenqings fail catastrophically.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    and how do you add an avatar??

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    @ Swiss James:

    I did. LoL. I heard of another place that lets you hug a panda but I forgot how much it cost. Something astronomical, and I bet it was because it was a foreigner.

    @ Peteryang:

    Go to, register, and upload your avatar. The avatar is associated with the e-mail you use when commenting, and should show up if the blog is set up for showing Gravatars. This one is.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    And that is how the national symbol of China is treated in the Shenzhen Park. Just as bad, if not worse, are the ostriches at the very same park that have less than 50% of their feathers. And alligators in swimming in filth.

    paul tergeist
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Nothing new here, typical chinese zoo. Chinese are known to abuse animals for their entertainment.
    And typical chinese reaction too, hypocritical indignation when last week nobody saw any problem with treating cats as worthless living food.
    What’s the difference between a panda and a cat ? whoever says the number should consider the number of chinese people in earth human population.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I actually work for a zoo in China. This is normal. There are only one or two zoos in China that actually care about animals. Most zoos still tell you how the animals are best cooked or used in Chinese medicine.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    thanks kai!

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm


    I take fenqing’s word’s seriously becuse the PRC is not a democracy. There are thousands of vital distinctions between democracies and non-democracies. One of these vital distinctions is that in a democracy the ruling power is gains and maintains power by appealing to a majority of the populace. In a non-democracy, the ruling power gains power usually through dubious means and maintains it by preserving stability at all costs.

    In many contexts, for a non-democracy, “preserving stability” does line up with “appealing to the majority.” However, this is not always the case. A non-democratic government has to pay far, far more attention to the extreme fringes of society than a democratic government because the fringes of the society are more capable of causing unrest in a non-democratic one than a democratic one. First of all, and most obviously, in a non-democratic government there is no outlet of expression for extremist sentiments and so fringes on both sides – be they ultra-nationalist fenqing on one hand or disenfranchised, stripped-of-their-ancestral land farmers, can only made their voice heard by rocking the boat. Hard (see thousands of protests every year by disgruntled farmers, see 2005 anti-Japanese riots). Secondly, in a democratic government the political clout of extremists is blunted by the fact that the “silent majority,” your “average Joe,” has the power to vote and to influence political affairs. This is conspicuously absent in China. Cozy, comfortable middle class Chinese citizens who are not fenqing may not hold nationalist ideals but they also have no political influence whatsoever and so they are of no interest to the government in terms of political direction or ideological agendas. The government is only interested in its various constiuencies ability or non-ability to cause instability. The Party knows that middle class, educated citizens will not resort to instability as long as they’re given continued economic prosperity. The Party knows that farmers won’t cause social instability as long as they give enough concessions or as long as the farmers remain too poor or unorganized to be able to assemble. Most importantly, the Party knows the fenqing won’t become a destabilizing factor as long as the fenqing *believe* the party represents its interests and the interests of China. Herein lies the problem. The Party has to take the fenqing seriously. I believe in Chinese they even have a saying about nationalism, I don’t remember it perfectly but something like, “Once you have started riding the tiger it is difficult to get off without being eaten.” This Chinese-originated observation of nationalism in modern China reflects how even the Chinese themselves recognize nationalism’s disproportionate role in national politics. Again, the Anti-Japanese riots are a perfect example of this. The government had a sort of shaky, ambivalent role towards the riots. On one hand, by allowing them to happen the government was happy to see anger vented at Japan and not them. On the other hand when it got too ridiculous they had to move in. It’s difficult to see sometimes whether or not the government controls welling nationalist sentiment or welling nationalist sentiment controls the government.

    Here’s a summary and a simplification. Democracies are about “appealing to the masses,” and so the government has to stand somewhere in the middle of the national political spectrum. Non-democracies are about “maintaining stability” at all costs – after all, look at the motto of Hu Jintao’s presidency, “Harmonious Society.” This produces an opposite focus where the middle is neglected because they have no voting power and the extremes are paid disproportionate attention because they are the far liklier sources of instability.

    And thus, I pay close attention to the fenqing. Many of these fenqing are well educated and have close connections to the communist party. In modern China, the fact is that well educated Chinese individual who is NOT a fenqing would rather go into business or start an IT firm or something like than go into the government. Those educated individuals who still take socialist values seriously – many of whom are fenqing – are those in line to become the next leaders of China. You may say a majority of Chinese individuals are not fenqing. But China is not a democracy. If it were, than what the majority thought would matter. But it’s not. In a non-demoracy, as far as political leverage is concerned, the extremes are more important. Therefore I pay close attention to the extremes, like discontent Uyghurs and Tibetans, landless farmers, migrant workers, and of course, vocal fenqing. The people in the middle are following Deng Xiaoping’s religious tenent “To get rich is glorious” and most of them don’t give a damn about politics.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    i thought this ‘are they brainwashed or is it really what they think?’ debate has been covered and settled quite well in another thread somewhere.

    i say this because theres so many holes in 哈哈哈’s posts that you could write EPIC essays rivalling YC’s best efforts.

    i am super tempted but i know it would just drag on into another forum fight…maybe someone new can take this one up?

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I couldn’t bring myself to finish reading the post knowing what was coming. I guess in a country where people take pleasure eating pets, animal abuse doesn’t seem so bad to the multitude. Certain humans disgust me! My new year’s resolution to God: please bring more tsunamis, earth quakes, and volcano eruptions to earth. I want armageddon. Now!

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    I guess you could say this post really pandars to the audience’s emotions

    Friday, January 9, 2009 at 12:03 am

    In China, what use is an animal if you can’t eat it or make money from it?

    Swiss James
    Friday, January 9, 2009 at 3:30 am

    Yeah I was so shocked at the pictures of the poor Panda that I nearly dropped my ham sandwich.

    How do we insert those rolly eye emoticons?
    # 30 USTCer
    Friday, January 9, 2009 at 8:56 am

    @ 哈哈哈

    You are exaggerating the ‘vital distinctions’ between democracy and non-democracy. Check out democratic countries around the world, voting doesn’t solve all problems and there are still cases that people are fooled by the one they selected. Will democracy solve China’s problems? At least in this animal abuse case, I don’t think so. It’s wake-up of social awareness of animal rights and government regulation that is lacked. The former is more important since without it, the majority of Guangdongness still vote their leaders who eat cats. Thus, I see the translated comments and other blog posts like the girl protecting eating cats one as positive signs because they definitely make people reflect on their traditional way to treat animals.

    There are also many misunderstandings about Chinese society in your last comment but I will leave them alone since I don’t want to fall into the class that have “tendency to immediately dimiss anything negative a foreigner says about China” :)

    Friday, January 9, 2009 at 10:59 am


    Typical response 1: pointing to failed democracies. First of all, you’re doing the typical defensive, non-thinking Chinese reaction: as soon as the word democracy comes up, your feelings get hurt (I’m using this phrase sarcastically). Many individuals I speak with in this country automatically shutdown to the conversation as soon as the word democracy appears. I’ll outline your mistakes.

    You think that whenever a Westerner uses the word democracy, the ONLY reason he is using it is as the miracle, cure-all solution for all of China’s problems. Thus, the knee-jerk reaction of almost all Chinese individuals is to point out failed democracies. As you have done here, proving that you’re definitely drawing from a vast reserve of original thinking.

    The problem is, oftentimes, Westerns AREN’T bringing up democracy as the miracle, fool-proof, cure-all solution for China’s problems. And here’s the rub: if you actually read my post, that’s precisely not what I was doing.

    In my post, I was explaining my belief as to why the fenqing, despite not being a majority at the present, should be listened to and taken seriously. I was not proposing that democracy is the solution China’s problems. Democracy as a ruling system was simply brought up as a distinct counter example to China’s system. In a democracy, the ruling government focuses on the center. In a non-democratic government focused on stability, the government focuses on the opinions of the fringe and on merely sating the middle. I was merely illustrating a model.

    So your first mistake, one often made by people who don’t know how to properly proceed in a discussion, is counter-attacking an argument that doesn’t even exist. I have yet in the dialog between you and I to suggest what I think will contribute to solving China’s social ailments. At the present, ironically, I think democracy would be quite a bad thing for China. This brings me to your second mistake.

    When on the topic of making a democracy a success, it cannot be discussed in a vacuum. The reality is, democracy must go hand in hand with a wide set of values, held in the national consciousness and implemented in reality, in order for it to succeed. These values, for example, include a free press, an independent judiciary, rule by law, transparent government, and many more. Failures of democracy all over the world, including collapsed states in Africa and South America, including Russia, and including America’s botched attempts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, are not illustrations of the failure of democracy in general, rather, they show that democracy cannot function if at the time the society in question does not firmly hold liberal, Enlightenment values.

    And so I go back to typical response 1: Chinese people pointing to failed democracies as soon as the word democracy comes up (never mind it wasn’t brought up as a proposed solution to China’s woes). These people think that by pointing to failed democracies, they have struck a blow by pointing out democracy’s shortcomings. Hilariously, Chinese people who do this are actually making a farce and a joke of their own country. By pointing out how democracy is failing, say, in Zimbabwe, to defend your system, you are simply admitting that, like Zimbabwe, China is lacking the Enlightenment values that would make democracy a success in either. Rather than saying, “Look at Zimbabwe! Democracy is a broken system!”, you’re actually saying, “Look at Zimbabwe! Like them, we have a corrupt government, a lap-dog judiciary, severe restriction of free speech, etc.” So 哈哈哈 at you. In the end, USTCer, you and I agree. At this juncture I absolutely do not think democracy would work with China. The man-eat-man life of the Mao era and the “Get rich is glorious” rat race of the reform and opening have obliterated social trust and numbed people to the mind games and machinations of the government. Democracy would definitely not work.

    So don’t answer the question, “Will democracy solve China’s problems?” because that’s not the question I asked. In sum, I merely brought up democracy as a counter example to non-democracy to illustrate the fact that different styles of government produce different priorities for government rulers. By rather amateurishly *not* addressing the point I brought up, instead giving me a exposition on how democracy doesn’t fit in China (that was right – but not in the way you understood), you totally failed to answer the point that I made in the first place: fenqing should be paid attention to by non-Chinese China-observers because their ability to prop the government or contrastingly cause instability and unrest is something the rules genuinely respect.

    Typical response 2: “Foreigners” don’t understand China.

    This is one of the most trite, cliche, stupid counter arguments in the millenia long history of China. Chinese people starting using this smug non-argument ever since the first big nosed foreign devil set foot in the middle kingdom and have been using it ever since. China is so inscrutable! Our thought is like a fort, we’ve scuttled Zheng He’s fleet, we built a Great Wall to keep the barbarians out, and even have a Great Firewall to keep our unique Chinese minds pure. My response? Total, utter BS. The “Foreigners don’t understand China” card is one of the most stupid, overused, inane observations in the history of human communication. It is the most supreme mental laziness – with it, any Chinese individual or lover of China can dismiss anything anyone has to say about China. You can be talking about your da bi zi waiguo pengyou who can’t use chopsticks, you can be talking about the chair of the Fairbank Center, but whenever the Chinese want to snort at the silly waiguoren it’s reliably “oh, silly waiguoren, China is for the Chinese!” Hilariously, this is the internet so you have no idea if I’m some hairy blonde Swede, if I’m a Chinese American who was born in America, if I’m a Chinese British who immigrated when I was 15, or if I’m a Chinese person in Sichuan whose parents hired an awesome waiguo tutor/nanny when I was a baby. Welcome to the webs. Anyways, “You don’t understand China” is a lazy, unverifiable phrase. Frankly speaking, if you want to get serious about this phrase, YOU don’t understand China, either. At this point in time, China is such a huge country with so many people it’s gone beyond possible for any one individual to understand what China is. Don’t forget that you have 56 minzu and they’re all just as much a part of the great family of minzus that if you think you understand China then you also undertstand how Uyghurs, Mongols, Tibetans, Zhuang, Bai, feel. You don’t. Another fallacy behind the “You don’t understand China” error is the assumption that there is one China to understand, there isn’t. Even if we look at the Han alone, there isn’t. And rest assured, unlike you, I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to claim that I understand *my* home country and you don’t. America, Britain, China, Japan, these are not single, distinct, uniform entities that can be “understood” or “not understood.” They’re complex social, cultural, part-real, part-imagined entities. You understand parts, components, behavior, etc.

    So yeah, remember that non-thinking fenqing always follow a model. This model is usually 1) wrong and 2) lazy. You’ve already done the “point to failed democracies” error, inadvertently admitting the sorry social state of your country, and you’ve done the classic “Foreigners can’t understand China” error which I’m surprised at since usually dumb and/or angry people use that one, and smarter people only use that after being cut down for a period of time. Two strikes.

    fcuk da lu ren
    Friday, January 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    @ 哈哈哈

    “The “Foreigners don’t understand China” card is one of the most stupid, overused, inane observations in the history of human communication. It is the most supreme mental laziness – with it, any Chinese individual or lover of China can dismiss anything anyone has to say about China. You can be talking about your da bi zi waiguo pengyou who can’t use chopsticks, you can be talking about the chair of the Fairbank Center, but whenever the Chinese want to snort at the silly waiguoren it’s reliably “oh, silly waiguoren, China is for the Chinese!”

    Spoken like someone who truley DOES understand China. Its funny how Chimatrons rail on about other countries, world situations, other cultures with absolute authority, but when you bring up something that does not present the middle monkey kingdom in a glowing light, you get “oh this is China, you cannot understand because you are not Chinese”

    HMMMM, my response is also, “no, YOU don’t understand China because you ARE Chinese. Let’s face it, this is country with one of the largest cases of mental instability in the world and not becuase of population. They live in a culture that promotes, lying, cheating, deceit, debauchery, ludeness, and mental control and yet claim that their “5,000 years of history” aliviates them from any form of critisizm.

    Well, as I understand it from my Master’s degree in Chinese (part of which is from a prominent Chinese university), most of that history was feudal and agriculturally based. Thus, leaving them BEHIND the rest of the world in terms of development and “enlightened” thinking. I sat through a meeting yesterday where I heard a 50+ 3rd grade educated woman ramble on about how “we” cannot understand China. She failed to grasp that I already understood that I have to pay kickbacks under a table to a “person of authority” in order to facilitate the operaton of the business I wished to commence.

    I don’t understand that? hmmmm, my 20+K a year eduation (which I didn’t cheat to get) must have failed me. In the end we have to realize that alll the people with any education or culture were either killed or now reside in “the rebellious province lol”. This country is run by peasants who siezed power, that is not character assult, it is a HISTORICAL FACT recognized by both sides.

    I don’t give a crap about democracy in China, Dalai Crappa, or any of their other “political” issues. But what pisses me off, is the Chi Mate, who cheated on his gao kao, paid his teachers in university, sleeps during the day at the office, and chats on MSN the other 7 hours, glazing his/her eyes over and launching into “5,000 years of history, that i can’t possibly understand”

    Its like watching a bunch of freshmen argue over who’s dad’s bigger, or who can drink the most beer. To all Chinese: Despite what you think, “westerners” are capable of abstract thought and understanding. We are even capable of …. wait for it…. adapting to Chinese cutsoms and cultures, unlike most of you.

    There are some great people here and great methods of articulating beautiful thoughts through language and practiced methods. But all of that flies out the window when you turn to me with your unwashed hair, dirty teeth, and stinky BO and say… “oh you can’t understand because you are not Chinese”

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

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