January 25, 2007, - 8:08 am
By Debbie Schlussel
More evidence you can’t trust Communist China, that the country is not and hasn’t gotten more tolerant from Western culture entering its borders.
The front page of today’s Wall Street Journal says it all. The headline:
Pigs Get the Ax in China TV Ad, in Nod to Muslims: Porcine Prohibition Sends Marketers Scrambling; A New Year Complication
Though I have no respect for Communist China–its slave labor, lack of human rights, one-child-per-family policy, etc., etc., etc.–I thought, at least, the country got tough on Islamic extremism. The Chinese government has raided and destroyed camps populated by Chinese Muslim Uighur (pronounced “Wee-gur”) extremists. As I’ve written, last year, several Uighurs were Al-Qaeda terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay, and China protested their release (to Albania). But, as I also wrote, China gave millions to HAMAS, last year.
And there’s another stark indication that China’s not so tough. The country is as PC when it comes to the “Religion of Peace” as we are. The proof is in the new prohibition of pigs in advertising and on TV in light of next months Year of the Pig–all as a sop to a tiny group of Chinese Muslims. Interesting how the country bows to Islam, but is quite tough on the practice of Christianity.
Can’t wait for the Islamolympics.
Here are a few excerpts from the WSJ story:
SHANGHAI — Next month, China will ring in the Year of the Pig. Nestle SA planned to celebrate with TV ads featuring a smiling cartoon pig. “Happy new pig year,” the ads said.
This week, China Central Television, the national state-run TV network, banned Nestle’s ad — and all images and spoken references to the animal in commercials, including those tied to the Lunar New Year, China’s biggest holiday.
The intent: to avoid offending Muslims, who consider pigs unclean. “China is a multiethnic country,” the network’s ad department said in a notice sent to ad agencies late Tuesday. “To show respect to Islam, and upon guidance from higher levels of the government, CCTV will keep any ‘pig’ images off the TV screen.”
Suddenly, companies reaching out to China’s booming consumer market have a pig problem. The edict has sent Nestle and others scrambling to adapt to the last-minute rule change, altering spots that had included pigs. . . .
The pig ban is a significant shift for a government that seldom puts the interests of minority groups ahead of those of the broader population. China has more than 20 million Muslims, but they constitute less than 2% of its population.
For most other Chinese, the pig has powerful and positive cultural associations as one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac. Year of the Pig decorations already festoon cities and villages all over China.
Pork is the meat most widely consumed by the country’s Han Chinese majority. On average, Chinese annually eat more than 80 pounds of pork , according to United Nations statistics. At banquets in southern China, people often roast whole pigs, decorated with blinking red lights in their eye sockets. . . .
Chinese TV’s ban comes in the wake of the killing of 18 Muslims by police in the country’s remote northwest earlier this month. The government accused the men of being terrorists. Muslim activists have called for an independent investigation. . . .
Advertising-industry executives in China say senior Communist Party leaders recently told CCTV that references to pigs should be avoided to prevent conflicts among ethnic groups. CCTV’s move was then announced to advertisers just as many were finalizing their spots for the holiday, which begins Feb. 18. . . .
Pigs have often been at the center of communal violence between China’s Muslim minority and the Chinese majority. Protests ensued when a pig’s head was nailed to the door of a mosque several years ago.
Tensions have flared again since security forces killed the 18 accused terrorists in an area — the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region — known for Muslim separatist activity. Uighurs are Turkic speaking Muslims who have long bridled at Beijing’s rule.
“After an incident like that, the government often tries to make up for it, in an overt propaganda way,” says Dru Gladney, an anthropologist at Pomona College in California, who studies China’s Muslims. . . .
“Muslim people hate pigs and don’t even mention pigs in their daily lives,” says Ma Yunfu, the vice chairman of the China Islamic Association. Mr. Ma said he hadn’t been informed of the CCTV ban but views it as “a precaution.”
“We don’t want to see any misunderstanding like the one 12 years ago,” during the last Year of the Pig, says Mr. Ma. At that time, Mr. Ma says, some newspapers published a tale in which a pig saves the life of Muhammad. “That aroused a lot of anger,” he says.
I’ll bet it did. For the record, Islam plagiarized the pig prohibition from my religion, Judaism, which originated the ban on consumption or use of pig and pig products.
But we Jews don’t impose our religion on others, such as absurd objections to piggy banks (I own a few of those) or Disney’s Piglet from “Winnie the Pooh.”
That’s the difference between a religion that just wants to be tolerated and let to live in peace (Judaism) and one that wants its religious prescriptions to dominate the world.
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