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'Dope-free' pigs for the Olympics

Latest update : 2008-02-13

To avoid accidental false positives in doping tests for the next Olympic Games, China is breeding special all-natural pigs in secret, under video surveillance.

With 11 months to go before the 2008 Olympics, the Chinese authorities have engaged the help of "honourable" pigs (an ironic term given by Chinese bloggers). China is determined to put on a successful Olympic Games. The slogan "I participate, I am devoted, I rejoice" on enormous posters lining Beijing's main thouroughfare Chan'An Jie invites everyone to participate - civil servants, workers, taxi drivers, restarauteurs, cleaners, citizens, and now, even the pigs.

According to a report published at the end of August in Xinjing Bao, one of Beijing's largest official daily papers, these biologically-raised pigs receive very special treatment: they are raised in carefully selected parks throughout the country, far from all forms of pollution - far from big cities, transportation lines, and especially industrial zones and mines.

They are fed with agricultural products certified by the European Union as being organic and free of additives. Additives often found in normal pigs in China could potentially cause an athlete to fail his doping test, says Niu Nansheng, spokesman for Lucky Crane, a company providing pork for the Games, in an interview with the Financial Times.

In addition, the pigs are given vaccines made with traditional, 100% natural Chinese medicinal plants. And - they do sports. Every day, the pigs are required to do at least two hours of exercise in fresh air, to ensure that they will be fit by the time the Olympic athletes arrive next year. To ensure the safety of the pigs, the Chinese government is keeping their whereabouts secret. Not only are these parks under video surveillance, but they are also under 24-hour protection by security professionals.

"We are on a political mission. And for a political mission, one never speaks of cost," explains Niu Nansheng. News of the pig's special treatment sparked waves of criticism among Chinese Internet users. On the forum "Douban", where young people exchange opinions on books and articles, one can find numerous commentaries on the government's precautions in the lead-up to the Games. "All those close to the government live more happily than others - even the pigs!" writes one Internet user. “The beautifual image of a country rests neither on the Olympic Games, nor on pigs," mocks another. On the forum “11 persons”, a poem in slang circulates, “We Chinese people have to offer a great meal to our foreign friends even if we have to live without shorts ourselves. We Chinese people are diverting steel from our precision instruments in order to make window frames for our foreign friends”.

Date created : 2008-02-13

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