Saturday, 6 September 2008

Chinese Government soft on smack

If you are a recovering junkie looking to kick a jumbo-sized habit, and feel like a free rehabilitation program on sunny Hainan island, I suggest you get on a plane to China now. This from the NY Times:
An elephant that became addicted to heroin at the hands of illegal traders will return home after three years of rehabilitation, the Chinese state media said Thursday. The elephant, Xiguang, a 4-year-old male, became addicted after the traders captured him on the China-Myanmar border in March 2005. They fed him bananas laced with heroin as bait and to pacify him, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. When he was found two months later in southwest China, he was suffering from withdrawal. He received methadone at a center on Hainan Island and recovered, Xinhua said
I find this article especially fascinating for several reasons. 1) Traders fed an elephant bananas laced with heroin. Besides the fact I thought tranquilisers were all the rage these days, where did these traders get their hands on heroin? Is there a corruption angle there? 2) Since when did the NY Times uncritically reprint a story about somebody "undergoing treatment" with the blessing of the CCP? 3) Where is the political angle? Was the elephant "re-educated" for his political views? Did he "write a letter of self-criticism," in the manner of the Chinese soccer players who went to have a bath in a hotel room with several prostitutes, girlfriends, and groupies because the water in their team hotel was cold? Was the elephant under house arrest? Were his rights violated? Did he have suspected links to the Dalai Lama?

As Alice in Wonderland observed after her own mind-altering experiences, this just gets curiouser and curiouser. There is a big, juicy story under all that Xinhua spin. Slopppy journalism, NYT, sloppy journalism....

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