Two heatedly discussed stories this week compose an interesting picture of urban life in China.
The first story is the large dog ban in Northern China city, Harbin, the capital of Helongjiang Province. A new local policy banned residents from raising 49 species of large-size dogs in urban areas, such as Tibetan mastiffs, German Shepherds, Chinese rural dogs and Samoyeds. The new regulation raised public indignation across the country. Netiznes have been attaching SOS pictures to their dogs and campaigned a boycott of Harbin tourism on Sina Weibo.
“Save us! Repeal dog ban. Or no trips to Harbin.”
随手拍救助流浪宠物: “Protest against Harbin dog ban. Such little cuties. How could someone do anything bad to them.”
天堂孤星star: “#Protest against Harbin dog ban# This is a support from Nanjing. I’m nobody and don’t understand significant things like national regulations. But if I cannot even protect my dog, I don’t deserve to own it, don’t deserve to have its loyalty and companion. Don’t think no one would listen. Your retweet will increase the chance of living for dogs in Harbin.”
The protesters’ biggest fear is that these banned dogs, once captured, will be slaughtered and served as meals. While most of the voices are against the ban, there are occasional supporters, too. For example, tenderisDnight commented, “I don’t understand why so many people are against the dog ban. Shouldn’t large-size dogs be banned? If not, who would be held responsible if a Tibetan mastiff attacks people on streets? Who would take care of all the dog shit left on streets? Those dog lovers are shouting loud about how cute dogs are. But have they ever thought about those kids or elderly people who are afraid of dogs?”
The second one is about whether or not the elderly should avoid taking buses during rush hours to make way for the young. The story started on a bus 605 in China’s Southern city Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province.
On April 16, on a morning bus crammed with people, the bus driver shouted when he saw two 70-years-old ladies thrust their way onto the bus, “These people [already on the bus] have a family to feed. Why on earth do you two have to come out during rush hours?” The two old ladies, without being anger, muttered, “Indeed, we shouldn’t be out this early. Sorry for the troubles we bring.” They refused people who gave up their seats for them, squeezed to the back of the bus and got off a few stops later. The conversation annoyed many people who were also on the bus at the time. They thought the bus driver was too cruel to the two old ladies and had no respect for the elderly. According to a news article by Sina, the bus driver was already punished.
Netizens on Sina Weibo, however, think very differently. The news stayed on Weibo’s Top Trending Topics for days and a whopping number of netizens think that the elderly should avoid going out during rush hours.
To justify their support, Ginina argued, “Those who think the elderly shouldn’t avoid going out during rush hours have never encountered one themselves. Have you ever seen an elderly who would sqeeze the hell out of people to get on a bus, and get off at the very last stop just to buy an ice cream? They would corner you to the side like it is life and death on the way onto the bus. But once on, they act as fragile as they can be. If they want to do morning exercises, why don’t they walk? Walking is better for health, isn’t it? Why taking buses?”
Of course, there are milder ones. “How to treat working class and the elderly equally requires actions from the government. We need mutual understanding. It’s a pain in the ass to take the bus to work in the morning. Whenever the bus passes a park or a wet market [where the elderly are], those on the bus feel the pain. But if the old people have something urgent like seeing a doctor, they need to be allowed to go out,” commented 愚人自鱼.
There are also people who hold the view that it is beneficial to everybody. “If they don’t have anything urgent, they’d better avoid going out during rush hours, not only for the convenience of other people, but also for their own good. Going out in such crowds is not safe for the elderly,” commented 阳光下的angell.
On the opposite side, most thought that the voting itself was nonsense and blamed the government for allowing a situation like this to happen. As Moe_gor是个高四党 said, “50000 vs. 6000? What is wrong with this country? The problem of limited public transportation is the fault of the government, not the elderly. To solve the problem, we need to enhance public transportation capacity, not to set up limits on who can go out and who cannot. Plus, buses are not for working people only. It is a shared public resource. For those who liked this idea, go buy a car or leave the elder alone.”