Planet China

Wee bit annoyed

As the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party the People’s Daily is expected to be forthright on the big issues of the day. So, it came as somewhat of a surprise last week when it published a long report decrying the practice of drinking urine.

The habit – believed by its practitioners to ward off ill health – has been in the news recently because of a man named Xiaolu from Wuhan who claimed it cured his hyperthyroidism. “The first two times I tried to drink it the smell was so bad that I threw up,” he told a local paper. But Xiao now drinks up to three glasses a day.

Other members of the China Urine Therapy Association – the target of the Peoples Daily’s attack – said their own pee is much more palatable than the bitter taste of many Chinese medicines. But the paper warns “there is no clinical or medical basis for using urine over a long period of time as a product for preventing and curing illness, or as a health supplement”. The paper estimated that around 100,000 people are now partaking in the practice with it enjoying particular popularity among the elderly.

Interestingly this is not the first time the People’s Daily has taken a stand on the consumption of urine. When last month the eastern city of Danyang tried to get its local dish “eggs pickled in young boys’ urine” included on China’s list of intangible cultural heritage, the newspaper described the practice as “vulgar”.

“While the protection of cultural heritage is important we will do not support the resurrection of vulgar, dross practices that have already been eliminated by history,” it said.

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