Dog-eating festival exposes poor dispute consultation

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-6-24 0:13:02

Yulin, a city in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, should have celebrated the summer solstice by eating lychees and dog-meat last Saturday according to local folk traditions. But instead it was an occasion for arguments between dog-eaters and dog-lovers. Both sides even engaged in physical fights, which caused injuries to several people.

Although dog-eating is not related with religion in Chinese society, different responses toward it still reflect the diversity of Chinese society and values.

This dog-eating festival is a powder keg that scared the Yulin government and made it distance itself from the festival. In the meantime, dog-eaters and their supporters organized several counterattacks on the Internet, where a stormy public debate was soon ignited. With daggers drawn between each side, the local police had to intervene after physical confrontations took place on Saturday.

Generally speaking, dog meat is not regularly eaten by Chinese families. But it cannot be ignored when talking about traditional Chinese food. For thousands of years, dog meat was not controversial at all in Chinese society, until dogs were seen as pets in many Chinese cities.

On the one hand, dog-lovers have already gained the upper hand in terms of moral standing as eating dogs is gradually becoming improper in the minds of many people. But on the other hand, eating dog meat is still an option that can be freely chosen by dog-eaters.

This dog meat festival, a traditional activity in a small place, shouldn't have been disrupted by the attention of the entire nation. But in the era of the Internet, this dog meat festival cannot be simply categorized as a festival any more. It is a platform where two different cultures are colliding with each other.

The confrontation was also a test for the approach of both sides, which unfortunately were not positive approaches. Both of them resorted to dirty tricks to force the other side to surrender.

The rational ideas that would allow dog-lovers and dog-eaters to respect other people's choices were not adopted in this debate. This demonstrates a level of immaturity in Chinese society when dealing with internal conflicts. Chinese people are not pious believers in the rule of law, and they tend to think that the majority's choice equals the legitimacy of an action. In cases when the majority is committing the crime, law-enforcement forces will sometimes hesitate to take action. When there are disagreements on values, most people are eager to prove they are right and the others are wrong. So far, forgiveness and mutual understanding is just a slogan instead of an action.

Posted in: Observer

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