Well, Beijing’s ‘crackdown of the month’ this November is swinging into high gear. After announcing the successful end of the last crackdown (a 100-day campaign against pirated DVD’s, which of course re-appeared as soon as the crackdown was over), now they’re going after dogs. This coincides with the recent announcement by the Ministry of Health that rabies (yes, rabies!) was the number one infectious disease in China for the first half of 2006. What’s the solution? Round up the dogs!
It’s estimated at that there are at least 550,000 pet dogs in Beijing, and it is feared that many of them are not properly innoculated against rabies. So the city government has announced they will enforce size limits on dogs (big ones are not allowed), and will be going door to door looking for un-registered and un-innoculated dogs. When they find them, they take them away. Just like that. It is a veritable reign of canine terror. People are now suddenly walking their dogs late at night and hiding them whenever someone rings the doorbell. Locals are so upset that some even staged a demonstration near the zoo this weekend.
The Christian Science Monitor recently had a good article on dogs in Beijing:
In most cities, taking your dog for a walk in the
dead of night could be seen as a personal quirk or a byproduct of
insomnia. But in Beijing, it’s a sure sign that the city’s dogcatchers
are on the prowl for illicit mutts. If you don’t want your pet to end
up in the pen or as protein on someone’s plate, it’s best to keep a low
profile. Once shunned by communist ideologues as capitalist
vermin, dogs have become a firm favorite among China’s fast-growing
middle class and a status symbol among the well-heeled. A generation
raised in one-child families is eager to bond with household pets.
Interestingly, I haven’t heard my neighbor’s dog bark in a few days. I wonder…..