Has tragedy become farce? As the vile mystery of several thousand dead pigs floating down rivers in Shanghai continues to roil, Chinese newspapers today report that a thousand dead ducks have been found floating down a river in Sichuan, and fifty dead pigs (mostly piglets) have been found stranded on a shoal in the Xiangjiang River in Changsha, Hunan province.
Yet there’s no need to panic, the newspapers point out, the ducks and pigs have all been buried and no sources of drinking water have been polluted. No, only our own souls remain polluted with the stench of rotting animals cast into rivers to float out of sight and out of mind.
Dead ducks in Sichuan
The front page of the Tianfu Morning News (天府早报) from Sichuan province today reports that on the afternoon of 19 March, more than a thousand dead ducks were found floating down the South River at Pengshan county (彭山县) near the city of Meishan (眉山市) in Sichuan province.
On that afternoon, the phone rang at the local branch of the environmental protection office. The caller informed the agency that there’s an almighty stink in Pengshan, because there’s dead ducks floating down the river. Officials rushed to the scene and later found more dead ducks – in various states of decay and some wrapped in white bags – piled up on a river bank some distance upstream close to the towns of Qinglong (青龙) and Guanyin (观音). The ducks were piled on this spot a few days before – by whom no-one knows – and the river gradually swept them along.
When CCTV reported the news yesterday, journalists from Tianfu Morning News rushed to scene and were able to ascertain that all the dead ducks had been fished out, disinfected and buried. And since the South River is not a source of drinking water in the area, there’s no cause for alarm.
This is the overriding message of Tianfu Morning News’s coverage today of the dead ducks in the river. With front page images of white-clad officials testing the water, we’re told that there is no danger to humans in the slightest. Right at the top of the paper’s coverage, there’s the following question and answer series to put everyone at ease:
Where did the dead ducks come from? Uncertain at this point.
Did the dead ducks die from some illness? Uncertain at this point.
How have the dead ducks been dealt with? Buried at an appropriate location.
Any impact on the sources of drinking water? No.
Will any of the dead ducks make it onto the market? No.
More dead pigs in Hunan
The front page of the Xiaoxiang Morning Herald from Changsha in Hunan province today reports that fifty dead pigs were yesterday found stranded on a shoal in the Xiangjiang River (湘江) in Changsha. After they were discovered yesterday morning, the pigs were fished out and buried not far from the river. Most of the pigs were very young.
Upon closer inspection, one of the pigs was found to have a tag in its ear. The tag was imprinted with the serial number 1430181.
RIP 1430181 in your watery grave, such a trendy way for a pig to die in China these days.