Every culture has different good and bad things. Something about the Chinese that is not good, as those who have lived with them and spent time with them usually will attest to, is that there is an incredible amount of thoughtless greed in Chinese culture. One could say this about much of East Asia, and the human race, but the idea of “lucky money” and Chinese people doing things that are extremely unethical, immoral, dangerous, or foolish in attempts to get an extra dollar are well-documented. This and in addition to the miserable planning that accompanies Chinese projects save for certain notable historical exceptions, usually done by foreign invaders, results in Chinese skyscrapers collapsing because of bad materials or poor construction, good farmland being turned into a toxic waste site, or as Chinese history repeatedly notes, periodic events of mass starvation where millions die and people turn to cannibalism. For example, the “Four Pests Campaign” and the “Great Leap Forward”, both of which happened in the twentieth century, and resulted in humanitarian disasters where millions died.
Right now, China is on the edge of a food crisis because they need pork to feed their people, one-quarter of the world’s pigs have died, more are dying from pig-related diseases, food prices are increasing, and this is putting pressure on the Chinese government no matter what she says or tries to do because she is food-weak and the world knows it. To make matters worse, it has just been reported that Chinese gangs are helping worsen the problem by intentionally infecting what pig farms there are in China with disease in order to, as the pigs infected have to be destroyed, illegally take the pigs from said farmers, slaughter them, and sell them to people at below-rising market prices, and thus earn money.
Chinese criminals have been exploiting the country’s African swine fever crisis by intentionally spreading the disease to force farmers to sell their pigs for a low price before smuggling the meat and selling it on as healthy stock, state media has reported.
Sometimes the gangs spread rumours about the virus, which is fatal to pigs, but in more extreme cases they are using drones to drop infected items into farms, according to an investigation by the magazine China Comment, which is affiliated to state news agency Xinhua,
The disease has reduced the country’s pig herds by over 40 per cent because of mass culls designed to stop it spreading further.
The resulting shortages have seen pork prices more than double, providing opportunities for the criminals to exploit.
The magazine’s report said that the gangs tried to spread panic among farmers to force them to sell their livestock at a discount rate.
Sometimes they spread rumours about the disease spreading in the locality and may even leave dead pigs on the side of a road to make farmers believe the infection is spreading.
In some extreme cases, the gangs even placed infected feed inside local pigsties, the report said.
“One of our branches once spotted drones air dropping unknown objects into our piggery, and later inspection found [the] virus in those things,” a farmer manager told the reporters.
Once they have bought the pigs, the gangs then smuggle the animals or their meat to other areas where prices are higher, despite a ban on transporting pork or livestock between provinces to control the spread of the disease.
The profit margin can be as much as 1,000 yuan (US$143) per pig, so dealers have been stockpiling funds for bulk purchases.
“However many pigs you have, we are taking them all,” the story quoted a dealer as saying.
In the southwestern province of Yunnan alone, the authorities have already intercepted 10,000 live pigs, some infected with the virus, that were destined for other provinces. (source)
This is a typical example of Chinese social corruption in action, and it goes back well-before the Communist times, as some would argue that Chinese society has always ran by rampant corruption.
One also may wonder if the US or other Western powers encouraged this, or are helping pay these gangs, for it is known that the governments will work with criminal organizations. However, there is no tangible proof right now to substantiate this directly.
That said, this activity is going to make the pork illness situation in China much worse because while the disease does not hurt humans, it can survive transmission through the meat itself. That means that while the pigs may be dead, the illness can still be carried in the product and has the potential to infect pigs who are not sick. I noted this in my story about pork illness spreading into Germany and closing in on Denmark by way of Poland, and as Germany and Denmark are two of the largest pork producers in the world along with the US, to damage their markets is to seriously hurt the Chinese food supplies.
Something that should be pointed out is that this story was reported as taking place in Yunnan Provinces, which has a long history of serious gang violence, is a part of the “Golden Triangle” that is the world’s other major opioid growing area other than the Golden Crescent of Iran, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and is geostrategically located on the borders of Burma, Laos, and Vietnam, the former two of which are major food suppliers for China and which the US has been getting very close to as well as has been working with India to extend Indian influence into them.
Could the Chinese government be behind the murders of these pigs? It is certainly possible, but the motivation would not be clear, as it would only hurt China’s own food supplies. Then again, as it is noted, both Chinese businessmen as well as the Chinese governments throughout history have a pattern of engaging in behavior that is politically questionable or insane that causes their downfall in the pursuit of strange, nationalistic, hegemonic policies.
Likewise, the US or another western nation could be working on this because it is not uncommon for them to do such things in the name of political manipulation.
Finally, it could just be the long history of Chinese social corruption and greed at a popular level causing this crisis.
We really do not know what the exact cause is. What we can say is that such actions, clearly having at least some motive of profit with them, are not uncommon to Chinese history, and are part of a pattern of behavior that usually hurts China severely in the long term as part of her eventual decline and fall.
It will be interesting to see if pork sickness spreads in China, and what the consequences may be, and how the Chinese government will respond.