Planet China


pig w

It’s not often that a Beijing police officer is at a loss over procedure. The capital city’s cops have rules to cover practically any situation – and that is especially true of anything that occurs in the vicinity of Tiananmen Square. So the Chinese public was fascinated last week by photographs of a small pig wandering around the square. Not sure what to do about it, the policeman merely walked alongside the porcine intruder (see photo). The Beijing News described officers as puzzled, adding that they “could do nothing but accompany the little pig, remind passersby not to get too close, and prevent it from charging onto Chang’an Avenue”. The newspaper eventually tracked down the pig’s owner, a woman who lives close to the square. She was delighted that the animal (implausibly named Pearl-in-the-Palm) had been found. She also admitted that he was prone to wandering off and that she was worried that someone had snatched him to turn into “barbecue pork”.

The New York Times points out that Pearl-in-the-Palm “has won the kind of online celebrity that might, in other countries, lead to product endorsements”. His antics in Tiananmen have certainly made Pearl-in-the-Palm the country’s most popular pig since Zhu Jianqiang, who won over the nation after surving 36 days below ground after the Sichuan earthquake (see WiC3).

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