NGO in Special
Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United
Demonstration Against New Dog Laws and Cull
Beijing, 11th November, 2006
Following the dog culls in other Chinese cities, the capital Beijing recently introduced new restrictions on the keeping of dogs, limiting the dog's height to 35cm and ownership to one per household. People owning dogs over this height, termed "fierce" by the authorities, or more than the permitted number faced having their dogs confiscated and killed.
On the 11th November 2006 a demonstration was held outside Beijing Zoo to protest this brutal and inhumane treatment of both the pets and their owners. Below are two reports of this protest, the first from a demonstrator, the second from the Associated Press news agency. Both are quoted verbatim.
11/11 Dog Saving Demonstration
Date: Nov 11th and start at 11am.
This demonstration had not applied in advance, so gvmt recognized it is illegal.
I don't know who is the originator, but the participators all attend in their own will (I think at least 1000 ~ 2000 people). Before us arrived the BJ zoo, we have heard that there have been many police waiting there. While the activity began, the police caught several people by no reason or set them up.
Ex1: A plainclothes policeman pushed and kicked one participator purposely. The participator pushed him back, then… 2~3 plainclothes policeman rush up to caught him and drag him into one room in the zoo.
Ex2: The police told some participators that they have set a place in the zoo for us to do the demonstrator legally, and cheat some participators to go into the zoo. The fact is…the participators, who go into the zoo, were taken into a room then could not go out…
Police want to use this way to scare us and force us to leave or do some illegal action against the police, and then they can put an accusation on us and caught us reasonably and legally.
Ex3: A police try to drag down our banner, toy dogs…etc. to enrage the participators.
From ex1~3 we can see how police use that kind of despicable way to treat us. But we still have to keep calm down and can not against the police.
Fortunately, we all hang together and still keep rationality. At the same time we found that police had made 3 blockade lines around us. However, they set the blockade lines too early and only trap partial participators in the square in front of the zoo. There are as many as participators coming and they stand outside the blockade line to respond the demonstration inside the line. I think this was what the police never thought… Developing to this situation, it seems that the police change their strong attitude to moderate way… Once, I saw the anti-riot police had standby outside the line, but they left afterward. Maybe the police know that our purpose is not to make any riot. We started to yell the slogans……
1. Stop slaughter the dogs
2. Legislate to protect animals
3. Abrogate the 35cm restriction to dogs and legislate scientifically
4. Be civilized to keep dogs
5. Release the participators caught unreasonably by police
At the same time, the leader of police came to negotiate with us. They wanted the participators to leave first then they will release our people, but we wanted them to release our people first then we will leave. This is like an endless negotiation. Our demonstration continuing to about 4 hours, and finally police released all the participators they caught and let them go out from the other door of the zoo. We kept our word with police and began to leave. However, several participators still did not want to leave. We had told them but no use. Then we leave…
I think maybe this is the first time that China gvmt treat the participators of demonstration so kindly. Or they understand that what we want is not related to the political affairs. Or because the coming of 2008 BJ Olympic Game, China gvmt don’t want to make any more bad event to influent country’s image in the world. Or… does the democracy of China move forward a little? I don’t know…but I hope so…
In general, the demonstration this time is success, because we have expressed our thought to gvmt, to all the society, and to the entire world. Originally, I never wish that China gvmt can change their unreasonable and unscientific law of dog immediately. It takes time to change…
Protesters decry Chinese crackdown on dogs
By Charles Hutzler
The Associated Press
BEIJING — Demonstrators angry at a crackdown on dogs staged a noisy protest in China's capital on Saturday, decrying police killings of dogs and new limits on pet ownership.
About 200 police strung up tape to cordon off the roughly 500 demonstrators who waved signs and chanted near the entrance to the Beijing Zoo. Many clutched stuffed animals and wore buttons that said "Stop the indiscriminate killing."
Police detained at least 18 demonstrators in nearby vans for several hours before releasing them, protesters said. Police declined comment.
Touching off the demonstration were new restrictions that limit households to one dog and ban larger breeds. Police in recent days have gone through city neighborhoods, seizing unregistered dogs and beating some of them to death, witnesses said.
"All of us who have dogs to walk are feeling very anxious," said Wu Jiang, a protester and pet-shop owner who has a yellow Labrador retriever. "Most of us only dare come out at night and even then we have to be really careful."
Keeping pets has been controversial in China for decades. Banned as a middle-class habit during the radical Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s, dog-raising surged anew with the introduction of free-market reforms.
Complaints about vicious dogs, barking and excrement-covered sidewalks prompted Beijing to impose height limits in 1995, banning dogs taller than 14 inches from the city center. Many cities have enacted similar measures.
A sharp rise in rabies cases this year led to a renewed clampdown across China. State-run newspapers reported Saturday that 326 people died from rabies in October, again making it the leading cause of death among infectious diseases.
To enforce the crackdown, police in many parts of the country have beaten stray or unregistered dogs to death, sometimes in front of their owners.
Beijing responded by raising fines for having unregistered and unvaccinated dogs, adopting the new one-dog-per-family rule and extending the ban on larger dogs from the city center to encompass the surrounding suburbs.
"We're asking city residents to go along with us and if they discover any unregistered or stray dogs to report to us by phone," the Beijing News quoted the city's vice director of agriculture, Ren Zonggang, as saying in comments on the government's Web site.
In some cases, protesters said, dog owners have been given as little as one week's notice to get rid of their large dogs or move to outlying districts. Protesters said the measures are not only inhumane but wrongly place the burden of punishment on the dogs, not the owners.
"The main point here should be the way dog owners raise their dogs," said Jeff He of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Beijing, who watched the protest from beyond the cordon of yellow and black police tape.
Organizers of the protest said they had applied for a permit but had been refused. Though the demonstration was largely peaceful, anti-riot squads in helmets and dark uniforms were dispatched, plainclothes police milled through the crowds and large numbers of uniformed police sat in trucks down the street.
Police tried to prevent reporters from taking pictures and warned protesters that they could suffer serious consequences for their actions.
"It was like martial law out there," said Wu Jiang, the pet-shop owner. "We said to them 'We're taxpayers. Why are you treating us this way?' "