Sunday, November 14, 2010


Back in 1983, when I spent three weeks in China, every family there seemed to have at least one canary. Every outdoor market had loads of bamboo cages full of the little yellow birds for sale. You could hear them chirping everywhere.
Mail Online
November 12, 2010
Shanghai citizens have had 30 years to grow used to the single child quota. Now they must swallow a new restriction: the one-dog policy.
City authorities have proposed a law that will limit ownership to one hound per home, saying the high population density in a city of 20 million people and limited living space means pets will have to pay.
The draft legislation, which cites the number of dog attacks as around 100,000 a year, is set to become law next year.

An estimated 800,000 dogs live in Shanghai, most as pampered pets of newly rich residents who regard their cherished canines as a sign of wealth not to mention companionship.
It was decided tighter rules were needed due to rampant barking, unscooped waste, and the growing risk of dog attacks – all factors affecting the city’s environment and sanitation.
As an incentive to owners of multiple pets to comply, the city will reduce the fee to buy a licence and for vaccinations and identification chips from as much as 2,000 yuan (£200) a year to 300 yuan.
In Shanghai, owners will also be responsible if their dogs have puppies. There will be no mercy for unplanned pregnancies and owners must have them adopted within three months or send them to approved agencies to rehome them. The only alternative will be sterilization, Shanghai authorities said.
Many pet owners were attracted by the reduction in license fees – long a bone of contention in Chinese cities where many dogs go unregistered because of the cost.
But not everyone was pleased. One dog owner commented in an Internet chat room: ‘One family, one dog is obviously unreasonable. Do dogs have family planning too? This is so inhumane. What about those owning two dogs? Do they have to throw one away? I strongly oppose this rule.’

And owners raged on the Shanghai Dog ( pet forum. One said: ‘If my dog gives birth to puppies of course I will keep one. Do they want me to kill the mother? If some day raising a dog is forbidden, I will raise many many cats and let them have many many kittens!’

Another was defiant: ‘We are prepared to keep our dogs at home. Will they break into my house to take them away? Try it if they dare!’

Another issued a challenge: ‘We should unite together to establish a Dog Party to fight for our rights. If anyone’s dog is taken away we should demonstrate.

Similar restrictions are already in effect in Beijing, in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou as well as in several other cities.
In Beijing, for example, owners are not allowed to keep dogs taller than 14cms lest they attack or frighten non-canine loving residents. Thus waddling Pekinese, prancing Pomeranians and tiny chihuahuas are to be seen everywhere strolling with their owners down the capital’s streets.

The latest vogue is for caramel-colored poodles. As with so many policies in China, it was not clear how officials would be able to enforce the ‘one-dog’ policy.
One elderly Shanghai resident said: ‘Even if the law gets passed, I doubt whether the government will be able to discover any violations if owners keep their dogs secretly.’

Although the one-child policy is still law in China, family planning officials in Shanghai last year began encouraging residents to have a second child in a bid to ease the burden of the city’s growing senior population.
Officials distributed leaflets and made home visits to spread news of the 'loophole' – applicable if both parents are from ethnic minorities, from rural families or only children themselves.
But the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission was quick to emphasize that the move did not signal any change to the population control rule, rather it was an exception.

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