Chinese-American traveler slammed by netizens for urging lower consumption of seafood
Published: Jun 09, 2021 11:32 PM
People visit the China (Fuzhou) International Seafood & Fisheries Expo held in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, Sept. 4, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

People visit the China (Fuzhou) International Seafood & Fisheries Expo held in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, Sept. 4, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

A famous Chinese-American professional traveler has become a target of mockery among Chinese netizens over his advice to stop eating seafood "for the earth's sake."

Kyle "Guyue" Johnson, who has over 2 million followers on China's Twitter-like social networking platform Sina Weibo, said in a post on Monday that Chinese people should "be responsible consumers" and he urged them to cut back on seafood consumption after he was told by a fisherman that fish stocks in Madagasar have almost been used up. 

"I just realized how much demand there is for fish in China," Johnson wrote in his controversial post, which was later deleted. "As the world's number one consumer of seafood, China's insatiable appetite for seafood is depleting fish stocks around the world."

Many netizens left opposing comments but Johnson replied. "The earth's resources have been exploited by some countries that developed first such as the US and Japan, and now we, as a country with a large population, have to set an example for other countries," he said.

However, netizens soon discovered that Johnson himself is actually an avid seafood lover and consumer. As a traveler around the world, he has repeatedly posted various photos of himself eating luxury seafood on his account. This apparent contradiction drew a great deal of sarcasm.

"An average Chinese person doesn't eat half as much seafood as he does in his lifetime, so who is he to ask Chinese people to eat less seafood?" one netizen wrote.

Johnson was born with the name of Gu Yue, and has many followers in China. He is best-known for his trip hitchhiking from Beijing to Berlin. Johnson was born in China, but emigrated to the US when he was 11 and later became a US citizen and renamed himself "Kyle Johnson." 

Many netizens said Johnson is not Chinese so he has no right to talk to Chinese people in such a tone. 

"What does he mean by 'we'? He's not even Chinese," many comments said.

Netizens also pointed out that Johnson's claim is actually untrue. Although China is a large consumer of seafood, China's seafood production is far greater than the amount caught and the per capita catch is far below the world average.

Data released by the United Nations in 2018 showed that China is the world's largest producer of seafood and accounts for only 15 percent of the catch, even though it has 20 percent of the world's population.

According to official data released by China, in 2018 China exported $22.33 billion of fish products and imported $14.86 billion, with a trade surplus of $7.46 billion. 

After being inundated by various objections and factual arguments from netizens, Johnson did not respond, instead simply deleting the two previous Weibo posts. He has not responded to the Global Times' request for comment as of Wednesday evening.

Global Times