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Monday, 28 Nov 2005

Paul McCartney has publicly declared that he would not consider performing in China because of a video he saw which exposed brutal treatment of cats and dogs for their fur.

The story on the BBC's website reported the response by the Chinese:-
A Chinese official said boycotts were not justified, and blamed US and European consumers for buying the fur.

Here is the link to the BBC story on Paul McCartney's outrage. You can even feast your eyes on a video clip of these horrors by clicking on a link on the news page.

This is surely sickening and dreadful news to hear about the cruel treatment of defenceless and harmless animals. But is it really that much of a surprise?

I've heard it said that one measure of a nation's level of civilisation is to be found in its treatment of animals. By that measure I think it's fair to say that the UK does not come up smelling of roses, and I am not proud of that. But does this revelation really make us look askance at China?

Let me see. I'm not an expert on this but I do not think one needs to be an expert to know that China has a lamentable human rights record. The government is guilty of religious and political censorship and suppression. Labour and Employment law is scant and often ignored to the detriment of workers. There is ample anecdotal evidence that the implementation of the country's "family planning" rules has resulted in the abuse of the unborn and the newly-born. There's more. You can find some of it at the Human Rights Watch web site.

So, top marks to Paul McCartney for criticising China for its inexcusable treatment of dogs and cats.

However, can it really be true that religious and political suppression, victimisation of common labourers and crimes agains the unborn child, to mention a few misdemeanours, did not deter Sir Paul from contemplating a gig in China, but a video of cruelty to animals and alsation fur coats tipped the scale for him? Either that or the man is showing his ignorance.

And perhaps more disconcertingly, can it be true that we as a nation care more about some dogs and cats than about the other glaring human rights travesties? Why are there, for instance, no covert videos on the BBC web site of Chinese officials taking newborn infants from their mothers and drowning them in the gutter? Beacon