By some account, the following scene has to constitute animal cruelty:— first comes the stroller, catching the attention of passers-by seeking to catch a glimpse of little toes, or a toddler’s innocent smile. However, instead of a baby, they see a furry, yapping little thing, and if that were not disconcerting enough, the dog is incongruously wearing four tiny red shoes.
No country has more house pets per capita that are not walking on all fours — as they were meant to be — than Taiwan. The phenomenon deserves attention, as the preternatural pampering masks a darker side of society.
Violence against animals is rampant in this country, with abandoned dogs roaming university campuses or, when they are “lucky” enough, awaiting a brighter future in an overcrowded animal shelter operated by selfless individuals. On any visit to one of these rowdy shelters, one will come upon a spectacle of horrors, from three-legged dogs and mangy strays, to the crazed and most unfortunate animals that have had their faces bashed in by a baseball bat, either from anger or for the sheer “fun” of it.
These two scenes represent two extremes of Taiwanese society: Cold cruelty toward innocent creatures and gushing affection of the kind rarely visited upon one’s flesh and blood. Good intentions notwithstanding, the kingly treatment of pets, which in its folly also includes pedicures, multi-thousand-dollar baths, and even psychological treatment, is shameful. It is one thing to display love and affection toward one’s animal companion, but to go to such lengths to do so when society remains filled with destitute human beings is problematic, to say the least.
Beyond the sheer folly of it are more mundane, albeit no less important, reasons why animals should be allowed to be animals. Unlike in, say, North America or Europe, rare are the houses in Taiwanese cities that have a backyard. Most people are stacked into smallish apartment buildings with no outside access, which means that animals whose instinct would take them outdoors for the occasional stroll, rabbit chasing or to fulfill the call of nature, are confined to a compact environment in which it is impossible for them to play as necessary for their full physical (and psychological) well-being.
The least one could do when going outside for a walk with the dog, then, is to allow the poor creature to stretch its legs and chase after birds or the neighbor’s equally overprotected puppy. Keeping a dog in a stroller, or in a handbag or backpack, is cruel. Forcing them to wear clothes, in a country where there is no cold winter to freeze their paws, also goes against nature and is wrong.
Rather than treat pets like heavenly emissaries, one ought to respect the animal’s instincts. If one feels compelled to do more for the animal kingdom, Taiwan has plenty of species, from pets to endangered dolphins, in dire need of succor. There are many things one can do to help, from donating time by walking an abandoned mutt on weekends to making donations to the handful of shelters nationwide that care about animals without treating them like something they are not.
Let the dogs out. Set them free.
As China’s economy was meant to drive global economic growth this year, its dramatic slowdown is sounding alarm bells across the world, with economists and experts criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for his unwillingness or inability to respond to the nation’s myriad mounting crises. The Wall Street Journal reported that investors have been calling on Beijing to take bolder steps to boost output — especially by promoting consumer spending — but Xi has deep-rooted philosophical objections to Western-style consumption-driven growth, seeing it as wasteful and at odds with his goal of making China a world-leading industrial and technological powerhouse, and
For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system. Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA,
During a news conference in Vietnam on Sept. 10, a reporter asked US President Joe Biden about the possibility of China invading Taiwan. Biden replied that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is too busy handling major domestic economic problems to launch an invasion of Taiwan. On Wednesday last week, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office published a document outlining 21 measures to make the Chinese-controlled Fujian Province into a demonstration zone for relations with Taiwan. The planned measures would expand favorable treatment for Taiwanese people and companies, and seek to attract people from Taiwan to buy property and seek employment in Fujian.
More than 100 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) vessels and aircraft were detected making incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday and Monday, the Ministry of National Defense reported on Monday. The ministry responded to the incursions by calling on China to “immediately stop such destructive unilateral actions,” saying that Beijing’s actions could “easily lead to a sharp escalation in tensions and worsen regional security.” Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said that the unusually high number of incursions over such a short time was likely Beijing’s response to efforts