Chinese Food Blogger Fined $18,500 for Illegally Consuming Great White Shark
Would you have expected anyone to pay around $1,000 for a fish and then bear a hefty penalty of $18,500 for cooking and eating it? Well, this is the true story of a Chinese food blogger who faced dire repercussions for posting a video of her buying, cooking, and eating a great white shark!
Chinese Food Blogger Faces Legal Trouble for Great White Shark Feast
The food blogger is identified as “Jin Moumou.” She posts under the social media handle named ‘Tizi’ on the Chinese social media site, Douyin(TikTok). Jin uploaded a video of her buying a shark, cooking it, eating it, and claiming that the meat was tender.
In the video, Jin was seen striking a pose in front of a shop holding a shark roughly six feet long. She then prepared in two ways: grilling on an open fire and sautéing in a wok. The video showed her simmering the head of the animal in a stew, halving the rest of the animal, grilling, and seasoning it. Jin then picked the grilled shark, tore large chunks of the fish’s meat off with her teeth, and relished the dish. She recorded this entire process in the video and posted it on social media. The shark that she cooked was identified as the great white shark, a protected species in China.
Jin had nearly 8 million followers on social media then. Her followers had already seen her taking part in bizarre eating challenges of exotic animals, such as devouring ostriches and crocodiles cooked in spices. She took pride in posting such videos on her channel. No wonder she became popular for her “sweet look” and “bold food choices.”
However, this video particularly went viral and sparked outrage among social media viewers, who commented that it was truly horrific to watch this quirky culinary experiment. They also wanted the blogger to be punished legally.
Breaching the Boundaries: Why Was it a Punishable Offense?
The World Wildlife Foundation has classified the great white shark as a “vulnerable species.” Since these sharks have been hunted for their teeth and fins for many years, they are at a high risk of extinction. Consequently, the endangered great white sharks are protected under the “Wild Animal Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China.” This law strictly prohibits the transport, purchase, sale, and consumption of designated wild animals. Violating this law could lead to a hefty penalty and imprisonment of five to 10 years.
Legal Ramifications of a Social Media Celebrity
According to the reports of the local media, Jin claimed in her defense that she had bought this shark through legal channels. However, the local agricultural bureau dismissed her claims as inconsistent and took up the matter with the police. The DNA testing of the tissue scraps confirmed that Jin had indeed cooked the great white shark in the video.
The officials in Nanchong, a city in Sichuan province, reported that the blogger had violated the “Wild Animal Protection of China,” which is a grave offense. The officials also claimed that Jin had purchased the shark online in April 2022 for more than $1,000! She went on to cook the shark and posted a video in July 2022, which brought her offense to light. On legal grounds, the officials imposed a penalty of 125,000 yuan, which amounts to nearly $18,500.
Reportedly, the fisherman and the merchant who sold the shark had also been arrested. However, they were not affiliated with the shop that was featured as a backdrop in Jin’s video. Additionally, Jin’s videos were removed from social media sites after the vigorous uproar of the people.
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