Dear China – by Sybelle Foxcroft (Cee4life)

Dear China

Ive been wanting to write to you for a long long time, but always thought that my letters would not reach you or get to the right people. But there is some things that have been on my mind for a while and I decided to give it another go and write to you.

I have great concern and a number of questions about animals, not only the animals in your country, but the animals in other countries. The concerns I have is about your menu in resturants, the selection of meat that you feel the need to consume, the treatment of animals, and animals in general.

You may not wish to answer me, but you should. The reason why you should answer is because these are questions and facts that possibly over half of the world would like to know the answers to.

Before I ask you these questions, I would like to outline a few chinese historical and cultural subjects ie: your beliefs, your culture, and your moral ground.

Animals have played a big part in the Chinese culture for thousands of years since 2100 BC maybe earlier, so I understand youve been around for a long time.

But of course with all civilisations and generations of human beings, time moves forward and we learn and grow. Sometimes we learn that things we did years ago were wrong or outdated. For instance I am pretty sure that you know that your inventions such as the shaddow clocks and the abacas used for mathematical and astronomical observations are obviously outdated in this modern age. The shaddow clock has become a decorative item used in gardens and a watch worn to tell the time on our wrist, an abacus is now a calculator, and astronomical observations is done via powerful computer technology and instruments such as the Hubble Telescope.

So things change, and although these above mentioned items were great accomplishments at the time and part of your cultural evolution, they are outdated and are part of history. And lets face it, in this day and age they are items which you wouldnt choose to use unless you had to.

I would just like you to clarify a few things for me.

Its come to the worlds attention, that China, in particular, seems to have an appetite for any creature on the planet. This includes your procurement of critically endangered species from other countries, usually through the wildlife trade, or some other type of black market operation.

The reason I know these facts are true is because of education.

Education is a wonderful thing. Not only does it teach us maths and languages, it also teaches us about our earth and environment.

I had a look at the Chinese education system and ciriculum and became aware that you do actually teach about plant and animal species and conservation. But there must be some sort of breakdown in communication because China is now at the forefront of open animal abuse and the extinction of species via the black market for things like status, eliteness, and Traditional Chinese Medicines.

Going back to your historical and cultural background, Traditional Chinese Medicine theory is based on ancient Daoist philosophical and religious conceptions of balance and opposites, ie:yin and yang, and other metaphysical belief systems. TCM includes herbs,minerals, acupuncture, tuina massage therapy, dietary therapy and animal & human body part use.

Which brings me to my first question.

As with all other Chinese historical and cultural science & technology, you moved forward once you found better ways to do things, once a newer technique was found. The older designs were disguarded and classed as outdated science and technology, no longer relevant in an evolving society.

Please tell me,(and the world), why have you chosen to stagnate with  Chinese Traditional Medicines (TCM)?

It is a known fact that TCM animal body part use was based not on the anatomical study of the human body,  but was based on the astrological calculations and complex associations with gods.

Historically and culturally TCM animal body part remedies came from the identification of an animal behaviour or body part which was then applied to the corresponding  human part and/or behavior. These theorised remedies were then sold to people to help or cure by applying the animal predispositions corresponding to human dispositions. Basically it was all made up via myths and legends.

As civilisation moved forward, so did the advanced knowledge of scientific medicines.  For many years, it has been known, world wide, that TCM animal body part use is soley based on theory with very few, if any, of the medical claims curing or helping any ailment. Over the years scientific medicines have been created to treat diseases and ailments which are by far more advanced than what TCM animal body part use theoretically offered.

For example:

The Rhinoceros Horn – TCM states that Rhino horn is used as an ‘anti-fever’ remedy, and some use it as beauty tonic. Science has proven the Rhino horn is only keratin, just like our hair and finger nails. And science has proven keratin has no anti fever or beauty tonic qualities. So why havent you advanced in this outdated theorised medicinal use of the Rhino? It doesnt do anything for a human being. Is it pride? arrogance? Whatever your theoretical or more mythical reasons are China, your continued use of the Rhino horn, and these ancient outdated beliefs are driving the Rhino to extinction. Arent you embarrassed? Ashamed? If you want keratin, I am sure the people who actually live in the countries where the Rhino is would gladly begin giving you their fingernail and toenail cuttings if you would only get out of their backyard and leave their Rhino alone. Actually, I think people all over the world would give you their hair and nail clippings. Problem solved!

Not only is it foolish to continue to state inaccurate medicinal uses of the Rhino horn, but it is also a vile act where you are allowing the black market corruption to flourish in your own country, while other countries are suffering the infiltration of warlord type personalities, desicrating their beloved species.

And what about the Tiger?

Your continued cultural medicinal theorised significance of the Tiger in TCM, is not only false and based on nothing but heresay, (sorry, outdated cultural & historical & mythical medicine) but you have successfully hunted your own tiger sub-species (Sth Chinese Tiger) to extinction and you now procure off other countries species again, in this case the Tiger. Knowing that you think of the tiger as a walking drug store, I would love to sit down and discuss/disprove all of these theorised things. So I will address one of the nastier TCM claims – Tiger penis soup – used for increasing virility. This came about because someone in history saw the tiger mating numerous times per day and thought that by cutting the tigers penis off, making it into a soup and drinking it, it would correspond to a human penis and make them virile. What you didnt know, but do now, is that the tiger mates rarely, maybe once or twice per year, depending on a few factors. But at the time, mating occurs repeatedly. But the tiger penis is nothing but another organ of meat. So basically your TCM tiger penis soup is a meat soup which may contain a bit of iron. I am sure male TCM penis soup users will be horrified to know not only does it do nothing for them, but even if the benefits were true, and staying true to your anatomical mythical beliefs,  it would only be for men who want to mate once or twice a year….

Modern medical science has produced medicines which aid impotence in men. In addition your own TCM herbal remedies such as Ginseng, Horny Goat Weed actually do more for virility than a meat soup. And of course viagra has hit the market.

China there is not 100 000 tigers running around in the wild, there is only a possible estimated 3000 tigers in the wild, from Russia to Sumatra. Your belief in your cultural rights and your stubborn inability to act and stop the slaughter of this species is the reason the tiger is spiralling to extinction in the wild.

Anyway, lets put logic aside.

Can you explain to me why China needs to procure off other countries species?

Its pretty rude, and its not like it is going un noticed…. What would you do if the Panda suddenly became a source of food for another country other than China & war lords were killing the last remaining Panda’s? Just something for you to think about.

What about Bear Bile? What are you thinking?  Moon bears and Asiatic Black Bears seem to be your bear of choice. Yes the bear has higher ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), however your herbal plants coptis and rubarb are great alternatives, and even many of your own Chinese doctors refuse to use bear bile.

Snake Oil – this is puzzling.  Snake Oil is used for maladies, however no replicated studies has proven any benefits of it for joint pain. Why arent you phasing out snake oil and promoting your very own balms made of plants that actually are proven to work?

Culture, history? or is it something else?.

Look, I could go on forever about the vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered species that you want to use in theoretical, outdated, disproven medicines but I want to ask you about your menu.

Shark fin soup – this has got to one of the biggest scams yet. China you have promoted shark soup as an ‘elite’ soup, as soup of ‘status’ and because you did that, the massive indiscrimanent slaughter of millions of sharks have brought some species to the brink of extinction. Its not elite or carries status. Try some mushroom soup or asparagus, very elite and served for Kings and Queens, and if Im not mistaken Emperors too.  The truth is, shark fins are only used for the texture of the soup, not the taste. The texture can be replicated with cornstarch, and the taste comes from other ingredients.  Please stop this.

I am wondering why you put the Masked Palm Civet on the menu?  I would just like to inform you that the palm civet is a known carrier of SARS virus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which the WHO (World Health Organisation) informed you of prior to you placing it on menu’s. Do the Chinese people even know about this? I have a piece of useful information for you, your chinese citizens would know alot more if you would stop firewalling and blocking this sort of information.

Hippopotamus – what was Beijing Zoo thinking by putting the webbed toes of the Hippoptamus on the menu, along with most of the other zoo animals there. Its not really a tourist draw card.

And up in Wenzhou, the serving of rare Pangolins, Black Swans, & Bharal in resturants. Another example of false TCM and your seemingly strange obsession with keratin. The Pangolin is considered a delicacy and TCM use of their scales said to reduce swelling and help breast feeding etc. Pangolin scales are keratin. You know this, stop it!

Flying squirrel faeces –  I havent got much to say about this but I just want to let you know that it is scientifically proven that Flying squirrel faeces is directly linked to Typhus fever. A horrible disease.

Also, you might want to rethink your Chinese astrological charts and the reasons why these animals were chosen. Let me explain this. Eg: The tiger is linked in your historical and cultural past as likening emperors and great people to it. Words like valiant, respected, mighty, and strong are used, but you are destroying and extinguishing your own legend with your insatiable appetite. You might want to choose some additional species for your zodiac pretty soon because you are annilhilating a number of them off the face of the earth.

I just want to remind you that you are a signatory of the CITES agreement since 08/01/1981. Does that hold any type of significance to you? Because it doesnt look like it does. Your words indicated to the world that you would abide by the protection of species, however your actions speak the opposite.  I apologise now if I am wrong but your track record is shameful.

For a country which has made major advances, you are failing and betraying the very planet that you need, to survive. Your Panda breeding program is brilliant, however do not think for one moment that this allows or entitles you to mindless annilhilation of any other species, in the name of cultural historical rights.

What will you do when the last Tiger or Rhino or Pangolin etc is gone? Well, when it comes to the Tiger, the horrible thing is that I can actually answer that already. The Lion has begun to replace the Tiger in TCM, particularly wines.  And you have begun to do this because of what? The tigers are still here, for now. Do you see the end in sight for the tigers? Do you already know that you wont stop the killing? Will you not stop the false Great Cat TCM use?

China, you have alienated yourself across the world and youre seen by many as a giant vaccum sucking up the worlds natural resources, inflicting brutalities upon our earths creatures and a destructor of species.

But, you can stop this growing perception of China, you only have to say the magic word, Stop, and then do the most vitally important thing in your nations history, to truely act on it and Stop. I can guarantee that if you did it would show a little long sort after leadership.

I do look forward to a response from you and any clarification of my thought, questions, etc, and I would be more than happy to sit down and discuss these issues with you.

I know that you feel you are a mighty country and that you do not feel that you need to answer to anyone, and I am just one, possibly meaningless, person to you. But your countries integrity is crumbling to dust because you have disrespected species from virtually every country in the world and whether you like it or not, you are the cause of the extinction of numerous revered creatures.

You do not have the right to this systematic genocide of species, you never did.


Sybelle Foxcroft


Conservation and Environmental Education 4 Life (Australia)

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Occupy for Animals has created a petition for this letter found at



  1. elephantectivism said,

    April 3, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Dear Chinese Authorities – I too am interested in the answers to the questions posed here.

    Every day 100 African Elephants die for the trade in ivory.
    When the buying stops, the killing can too….


    The tusks of elephants are made of dentine, exactly the same material as the teeth in human and all mammals mouths…

    Again an ‘elite’ and tradition of ownership of Ivory and the burgeoning middle classes in your country as it reaches prosperity means that the Elephant is being slaughtered at greater rates. The report by the Environmental Investigation Agency out last week shines the spotlight on your Countires total disregard for your responsibilities and the law under the CITES agreements.

    Please – step into the 21st Century and look hard at your consumption of everyone of fin, feather, fur, tusk and skin. It cannot continue. Please, stop.

  2. Jude Price said,

    April 3, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Dear Chinese Authorities – I too am interested in the answers to the questions posed here.

    Every day 100 African Elephants die for the trade in ivory.
    When the buying stops, the killing can too….


    The tusks of elephants are made of dentine, exactly the same material as the teeth in human and all mammals mouths…

    Again an ‘elite’ and tradition of ownership of Ivory and the burgeoning middle classes in your country as it reaches prosperity means that the Elephant is being slaughtered at greater rates. The report by the Environmental Investigation Agency out last week shines the spotlight on your Countires total disregard for your responsibilities and the law under the CITES agreements.

    Please – step into the 21st Century and look hard at your consumption of everyone of fin, feather, fur, tusk and skin. It cannot continue. Please, stop.

  3. Daisy Yong said,

    April 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Respect elders is the traditional thought in Chinese philosophy, how to respect elders that have no respect for life of animals that are so linked to Chinese philosophy, martial arts and astrology? Why not speak up on the myths of keratin as a cure of various aliments where modern medicine fills very well the gap? It is proven that keratin does not aid in illness, however very few speak up about this except some animal activist in China. I ask that China and it’s government along with Yao Ming, Jackie Chan and others speak up and educate it’s people about the false myths of TCM and the long term harm of animals and matter of fact for your own citizens as well, harmful and disgraceful really. Decency and self respect ask the Chinese government to stand up for wildlife and the reverence for dead animal teeth, parts, scales, horn, etc. to cease. These animals have a right to occupy this Earth without thoughtless and fool hardy slaughter-do the right thing.

    Ivory is bloody and ugly, I would be ashamed to display or own dead animal teeth not matter how it is carved, it tags one as cruel, egotistical, a senseless show off and a lack of meaningful traits. Young women of China, please, stand up for the elephant and rhino that are very family oriented and mourn their loss of family-stay away from any heartless man whom will use dead elephant teeth to impress, this man will also be heartless to you. A sensitive and thoughtful man will not try to impress anyone with teeth from an animal, cruelly slaughter, torn away from it’s babies and holes dug in their faces. Elephants need their faces and their teeth, ivory is bloody and ugly!

  4. journeyman47 said,

    April 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    P.S. And China, speaking again of tigers, they say there are about 3,200 of them left in the wild. This is a ridiculously small number of individuals of one species. If it were humans, imagine the entire human population fitting comfortably in an average high school auditorium.
    China, your population is 1.3 billion. This means there is ONE tiger for every 406, 250 Chinese people. Do you think, maybe, that it’s time you stopped eating their body parts, as there certainly ain’t enough left to go around anyway?
    And besides, you say you like them because they might improve “virility”, right? With 1.3 billion people crowding your country, wouldn’t you agree that there’s a bit too much of that going around anyway?
    Please knock it off, China, and join the friggin’ 21st century, and stop pillaging the last of our planet’s wildlife.

  5. ALEJANDRA said,

    April 6, 2012 at 5:48 am

    love animals, animals rights.

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