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Beijing Meat Mystery

August 21, 2011

Here’s a remarkable little story that was originally published this week in China’s Global Times, kindly passed along to me and succinctly summarized by fellow Beijing-based expat Bill Bikales (you can read the original version here):

This wonderful story is about some pork sellers [in Beijing] whose product is unsafe — no details about how or how seriously.  The uncle of one of them, who was angry at him for some personal reason, reported this.  Not to the police, but to a journalist who rather than writing an expose instead posed as an inspector and extorted 50,000 Yuan with a threat of reporting to the police, and also seized the pork.  The next day the pork seller went back to get his pork (why?  not hard to guess) but it was gone, because the journalist had already sold the bad pork to the uncle, who had resold it as good meat for a neat profit.  The journalist then tried to pull the same trick on another merchant, who had been tipped off by the first, and called the police, who are — one hopes — trying to deal with all the illegal actions in this saga.

On that last note, I noticed the following, rather uninspiring quote in the article from the police:

“We retrieved 20,000 yuan, but the police has no means to check if the meat was unfit or not. Police have informed relevant departments of the matter,” Yang Jingliang, Xicheng [district] police spokesman said.

Ah yes, we have “informed the relevant departments of the matter.”  Usually not a phrase that boosts my confidence.  Who wants to bet that all the meat in question eventually ended up on the market?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Gan Lu permalink
    August 23, 2011 10:08 am

    Perfect. Contemporary Chinese society neatly summed up in one immensely entertaining and frightening (if, like me, you live and eat in China) paragraph. More twists and turns than an entire season of Desperate Housewives. Where’s the Chinese Upton Sinclair when you need him?

  2. Lao Why? permalink
    August 23, 2011 2:49 pm

    Hey, I live in Xi Cheng District! No more ma po dou fu for me!

  3. Joe Byerwalter permalink
    September 5, 2011 6:39 am

    HI Pat,

    Long time. I hope you are doing well. I check your blog occasionally and some of it I actually get. Not because of anything other than my level of intelligence. This post struck me enough to finally write and say hello old friend and also agree with the first comment from Gan Lu. I have read “The Jungle” by Sinclair and agree with Gan Lu that the story you cite sounds as if it is right out of the book set in a modern day society. Only thing is Sinclair’s society was full on unchecked capitalism. Guess every type of society/govt will have its corruptions. My uncle Johnny worked in the Chicago Stock yards and was the youngest seat owner back in his day. I think he was 17 or 18 when he bought the seat and started buying and selling cows. My Grandfather managed Oscar Meyers fleet of trucks before and after the depression. Both saw Upton’s Jungle up close and personal and I have confirmed with my 89 yr old father that “The Jungle” was quite true to fact. Hopefully, no matter what type of society people live in something will occur to stop this type of behavior.

    Drop me an e-mail if you feel like it. I still stay in touch with Bob Kass, Matt Glimco, Tom Maicke, Amy Peters and a few others. Later, Joe

    • ron sy permalink
      September 17, 2011 11:48 pm

      you are right bro!jungle will always be there and better watch out or watch your back its always not what it seems to be outhere…. trees bearing lots of fruits will always be a target simple as that….

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