Rescue plan gets positive response from state media
23 April 2014
Animals Asia’s announcement that it will turn a Chinese bear bile farm into a sanctuary and save 130 bears has been reported widely and favourably by influential Chinese state media.
News reports were universally positive with over 80 media outlets spanning print, TV and radio covering the announcement of the Peace by Piece campaign. These included the most popular platforms such as the People’s Daily and China National Radio. Critically, the state-run Xinhua News Agency, the biggest and most authoritative news outlet in the country, also carried the news guaranteeing an audience in the tens of millions.
The People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese government which enjoys a circulation of four million, noted:
“A co-operation of this depth between Animals Asia and a bear farmer has no precedent.”
National broadsheets also carried the news with the Hong Kong Commercial Daily, the most widely read Hong Kong paper in the country, saying:
“Animals Asia has provided solutions for bear farmers when the government does decide to end the bear bile industry.”
While daily Guangzhou tabloid Southern Metropolis Daily echoed similar sentiments writing:
“Never before in animal rescue history have 130 bears been freed at one time.”
Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson, MBE said:
“To date there has been no opposition voiced against the plan. Bear bile farming is no longer a secret - it has been brought into the open and this acceptance of debating the issue is a key stage in starting the discussion about how it should be ended.”
For many others it was China’s vibrant social media scene that first brought them the news of the world’s biggest ever bear rescue.
Growing Chinese animal welfare NGO, Don’t Eat Friends (DEF) reposted Animals Asia’s Weibo comment to their 20,000 followers adding an end to bear bile farming would see “the tears of the moon bears finally wiped away.”
Singer, songwriter, actor and activist Karen Mok – one of the most popular social media figures in the world with 38 million followers – shared Animals Asia’s announcement with her followers, adding:
“We are all fighting to protect nature and wildlife.”
Later that week Karen flew to Chengdu to visit Animals Asia’s China Bear Rescue Centre to congratulate staff in person before posting pics of rescued bears on her feed.
Other notable supporters included radio presenter Yue Tongtong who told his 15,000 followers:
“The conversion of a bear farm to a bear rescue centre is really exciting news and a historical milestone.”
Appetite for the story continues to grow with Xinhua News Agency, China News Agency, Worker’s Daily, Beijing News and Southern Metropolis Daily all expressing an interest in reporting on the rescue of the 28 sickest bears from Nanning to the CBRC in Chengdu due to take place in May.