For the past week, there is much media attention on China sending first female astronaut into space on the already ready-to-launch Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft. It will be China’s first manned docking mission with the country’s Tiangong-1 space station, which supposedly should be seen by the Chinese people as something to be proud of, that is to say if propaganda worked as planned. But nowadays, news won’t be news in China if there isn’t a dark side.
Yesterday, an article from Beijing News introduced a special food supply center at Jiuquan, China’s satellite launch center, that provides 100% organic food exclusively to astronauts. According to the article, the special food supply center is located on a huge area of untouched grassland. All breeds at the center, from cows to fishes, are 100% organic: cows need take a one-month rest period before being milked; pigs need to be kept around 90 kg.; fishes are purely natural without feeding. Even more natural than meats, eggs there are collected from wild ducks. As commented by one of the staff working at the center: “Every single plate on astronauts’ tables is extremely carefully selected. Strangers are prohibited to enter the center. Also no cars, not even bicycles. All is to ensure zero pollution.” Between the special food supply center and astronauts dining tables, foods must also be double-checked by designated health professionals before handed over to the chef.
So why are Chinese netizens anger over the new? Confucius told the answer thousands of years ago: “Inequality rather than scarcity is the cause of trouble. (不患贫而患不均)” In a country realing from toxic-food scandals and at a time when pretty much nothing is 100% safe to eat, a piece of news on exclusive organic food supply, no matter for government officials or for astronauts, will surely spark fury.
Sample comments from Sina Weibo:
以勒Luke :”Another proof that China’s space projects are nothing but a waste of the people’s money and sweat. Let Shenzhou-9 fail and wake up those who only want to fish for fame.”
君儿乐园: “WTF! Why nobody cares about whether the food we ordinary people eat are tainted or not!”
刺猬_Mm : “If they stop eating these special supplies one day, will they got instantly poisoned due to a less strong immune system?”
威廉的大叔 : “This only shows that those inside the system don’t trust the @ssholes working on food safety monitoring, either. When can the government take care of ordinary people’s food safety issues as seriously as they do with astronauts?”
籣烟草o_oCuAg: “I’m ok with astronauts getting special-supply food. All I’m asking is nontoxic food for us ordinary people. Now it’s like a contrast between heaven and hell.”
StelLa_Lu : “So…all those brands advertised as astronaut-supply products are just frauds?”
VV小一: “Ordinary people are the only ones who are Ok to die from tainted foods.”
鲸小嘀: “We are human beings, too. Why such different treatment?”
笑月宝贝: “Polarized treatment. Ordinary people feed on toxic foods and they have pollution-free organic foods. Is it because the spacecraft will fail if astronauts are also eating tainted foods?”
棠月: “Astronauts are human beings. We are not.”
明儿Orz: “Probably most of these special-supply foods are for government officials. How much can a few astronauts consume?”
牛郎的朋友: “What’s the big deal. It’s none of my business. I’m lucky if I can find my next meal. Who gives a damn to these astronauts?”