The recent dog-meat festival of Yulin and the spectacle that followed thrust China into media glare for reasons that are not exactly positive. If you were one of the people who thought that the dog-meat festival was seriously weird (and seriously inhumane), you really need to read the following facts about China; they are incredible and outrageous, and some of these will make Yulin’s annual (and now, thankfully banned) festival seem tame.
1. 20 million trees are cut every year to meet the Chinese consumption of 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks within a year.
If these chopsticks were to be laid out, they can cover Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which is one of the world’s largest public squares, 360 times! Perhaps because of this, China’s forest cover is one of the lowest among all countries at 20.36 percent.(source)
2. The rich and affluent in China who are sentenced to prison hire body doubles to take their place and serve the time.
If you are rich, you can buy anything you want. However, in China, this privilege extends to escaping prison sentences as well: the rich and powerful of the country have been known to hire “body doubles” to serve their time in prison. In fact, this is so common that the Chinese even have a phrase for it: ding zui, literally, “substitute criminal.”(source)
3. Every day, about 10,000 cats are eaten in the Guangdong province.
This is the Yulin dog-mean festival all over again, except, this time, with cats: each day, over 10,000 cats are consumed in the Guangdong province, infuriating activists and leading to several protests. The cats are apparently kept under abominable conditions, skinned, and cooked alive.(source)
4. The Chinese often dye their pets to have them resemble other wild animals.
Several Chinese people have dyed their pets’ fur in a way that they resemble other animals: take, for example, the golden retriever who was dyed orange and black to resemble a tiger, or the dogs whose fur was dyed to have them look like pandas. Maybe these extravagant dye jobs have something to do with the money spent on pets in China increased by nearly 500 percent between 1999 and 2008.(source)
5. China has WALL-E robot restaurants, with one of them – located in the Anhui province – having around 30 WALL-E robots that take care of the orders, the cooking, baking and delivery of meals.
These robots – costing approximately $10,000 – mainly greet customers and deliver their food to them. However, they also take care of cooking and baking duties in the restaurant – which, by the way, is an unauthorized restaurant.
Similarly staffed restaurants – and there are several in China – are all the rage among the Chinese.(source)
6. Most Chinese people consider cheese barbaric and have never tasted it.
Dairy products are associated with the nomadic people who resided on the outskirts of China and were considered to be barbarians of the first order. Many Chinese people, therefore, avoided dairy products altogether. The consumption has increased in the last few years; despite this, cheese still remains off the table, perhaps owing to its strong odor.(source)
7. All the pandas in the world are on loan from China.
China has been lending pandas to other countries as a sign of goodwill since the Cold War – a tradition that has lived on. A newborn panda is sent back to China according to the agreement, in order to help expand their gene pool; these baby pandas are shipped using FedEx.(source)
8. Over 35 million people in China still live in caves.
Many in China, especially those in the outskirts, live in caves, most of them being concentrated in the Shaanxi province. These caves are called yaodong in Chinese, and most have a long, vaulted room with a semicircular entrance carved into the side of a mountain, and although living in caves might seem primitive, some of these caves can provide for very luxurious living.(source)
9. A “cult” branch of Christianity in China believes that Jesus is still alive and living in China as a Chinese woman.
Also called the “Church of the Almighty God”, this sect preaches that the “second Christ” is a woman who calls herself the “Almighty God”. This group has been cited as a cult and, quite often, as a terrorist organization.(source)
10. Women who remain unmarried in their late 20s in China are called Sheng nu, literally, “leftover women”.
Although the term originated in and is used most extensively in China, it has now spread to describe unmarried women in their late 20s across the rest of Asia and North America.(source)
11. The pin in the picture has been placed just below the chin of a soldier in the Chinese army during training so that his chin remains straight; the pin also prevents the soldier from falling asleep from exhaustion.
The Chinese army’s discipline is legendary, and this picture is testimony to that: the Officers of the People Paramilitary Police have strict training, and, in order to ensure that their posture remains unwavering and perfect, they have pins attached to their collars, along with crosses on their backs.(source)
12. China had the longest traffic jam in history, lasting 12 days and stretching across 62 miles.
The longest traffic jam in history, this 62-mile long jam wound all the way to Beijing’s outskirts. During the traffic jam, vehicles moved less than one mile within a single day; drivers were spotted playing cards and sleeping on the asphalt.(source)
13. Companies in China have been caught making tofu in “gutter oil” and marinating meat in goat urine.
“Gutter oil” is the umbrella term used for cooking oil that has been recycled from waste oil collected from sewers, slaughterhouse drains and grease traps; several Chinese food manufacturers and restaurants have been found using this oil to cook their food in.
Some businesses have also been caught marinating duck meat in goat or sheep urine in order to give it the smell and taste of duck.(source)
14. Breathing Beijing air has the same effect on one’s health as smoking 21 cigarettes a day.
So polluted and toxic is the air in Beijing that a chain smoker would be at lesser risk of developing respiratory diseases than people residing in the capital city of China – perhaps the reason why they are strongly urged to wear surgical masks at all times.
In fact, the country is so polluted that its air pollution is visible from space, while the Great Wall is not.(source)
15. In Dongyang, China, every spring, eggs boiled in the urine of young boys is sold as a delicacy.
Called the “virgin boy eggs”, these are a delicacy that is enjoyed by those in the city, and are cited to have several positive effects on one’s health, such as purifying blood and providing energy. Of course, the fact that they “taste like spring” adds to their appeal.(source)