Jeremy Corbyn and My Considered Position on the ‘Jade Forest’ (玉林 – Yu Lin) Dog Festival (13.6.2017)

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In 2015, Jeremy Corbyn raised the issue of the Yulin Dog Festival in Parliament – expressing his concern for the welfare of the dogs concerned, the conditions within which they are allegedly kept, and the manner in which they are apparently killed. He called upon the Chinese government to ‘ban’ this event which sees around 10,000 to 15,000 dogs killed and eaten each year during the evening of the day of the Summer Solstice. I have written numerous times on this blog about Animal Rights in China, and have complained continuously about the Eurocentric and racist manner in which Western narratives of China – continuing the imperialist paradigm of attempting to ‘dominate’ at the point of contact – portray one-fifth of humanity (i.e. one billion people) as racially inferior, morally flawed, and culturally and politically backward. I must state from the start, that as a vegetarian I support Jeremy Corbyn’s unflinching support for Animal Rights, but would urge caution when acting as an intermediary for certain Animal Rights Groups in the West, that whilst using the veneer of animal welfare when it comes to assessing China, nevertheless pursue a thoroughly ‘racist’ paradigm in their critique of China. The race-hate aimed at China through Western Animal Rights rhetoric, is often delivered through purely ‘imaginative’ scenarios with no basis in fact. For a start, most involved in this kind of malignant ‘China watching’ do not possess the ability to read, write, or speak the Chinese language, and therefore are unable to provide any Chinese language source articles or materials to support their opinions. I want to make it clear that Jeremy Corbyn did not partake in this hyperbole, but rather very carefully read-out details (in English) that I have read in the Chinese language on the Mainland Chinese internet. In fact, as I am sure Jeremy Corbyn already knows, eating dog and cat meat has been illegal in China for a number of years – but there is a legal distinction between pets which are protected under Chinese law) – and dogs and cats that are bred to be eaten. This must be understood in a correct historical context, as the Communist Party of China has stated that it would prefer that the eating habits of feudalistic China, not be retained in an affluent, progressive and forward-looking Socialist China. As far as the Yulin Dog Festival is concerned, the Local Government of Yulin has officially stated that it is an event not supported by the CPC, and which the authorities have interrupted on numerous occasions – with the police ‘freeing’ lorry-loads of dogs into the hands of local Chinese Animal Rights activist (yes – China has ‘Animal Rights activists’) – of course, very little of this reality in China, finds its way into the West. As I am concerned about the ‘Eurocentric’ nature of much of the criticism of the Yulin Dog Festival in the West, I cannot, and do not, align myself with it, as I am well aware of its racist undertones (despite the fact that I personally believe the killing and eating of animals is wrong). The only way I could support such a criticism of the Yulin Dog Festival from a Western position, would be if all the correct Chinese cultural details were acquired and understood by the various (and concerned) Animal Rights Groups in the West, as well as including and/or consulting the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese Animal Rights Groups (in China), which should be invited to contribute to the drafting of the eventual statement of criticism. As matters stand, very few Westerners understand that the CPC has drafted many Animal Rights laws, and is even considering a universal legal statement about the sanctity of animal life (this is still being debated due to its legal implications for commercially farmed meat). This has come about due to the activities of Mainland Chinese Animal Rights Groups that work quietly but determinedly behind the scenes and inaccordance with the law. Many people in the West have no idea that Chinese Buddhism (even under Communism), insists that its practitioners follow a strictly vegetarian (or vegan) diet, and that compassion toward all beings (including animals) is a primary practice. This is the motivating attitude that underlies the formation of the many Chinese Animal Rights Groups in Mainland China. These groups do not exist in ‘opposition’ to the CPC, but work in co-operation with it, slowly but surely working through the required re-forms so as to ensure that animals are treated with respect. I think it is unreasonable to demand that the CPC ‘bans’ the Yulin Dog Festival (as the CPC never sanctioned it in the first place) – whilst Animal Rights Groups in the West continuously fail to call for the ‘ban’ of 24hr slaughter factories that exist throughout the UK (as this would upset the capitalistic profit of the industrialised meat industry).

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