Letters and Blogs

Updated: 2007-05-25 06:50

Beyond the fin

Comment on "Say no to shark fin soup" (China Daily, May 21)

As you pointed out, shark fins themselves have no flavor. It is the addition of chicken or fish broth that creates the flavor, making a bowl of shark fin soup in a high-end restaurant the most expensive chicken soup in the world.

And, as you indicated, the sharks are disappearing at a rapid pace. Some populations may have only a handful of years left.

But there are other very good reasons for avoiding shark fin soup. Tests in some parts of East Asia have shown that the fins contain dangerously high levels of mercury, leading to fears about the safety of consumers - pregnant women in particular.

Secondly, the perceived "value" of shark fins has led to the brutal practice of shark "finning". Every year, in all the world's oceans, millions of sharks are hauled up on deck. Their fins are sliced off while they are still living, and the bodies are then thrown back into the sea because shark meat has little value in the eyes of commercial fishermen.

But it does have a value to millions of poor people in the developing world. Research in Latin America, India and Africa reveals that subsistence fishermen have watched helplessly as their shark catches have declined, in some cases to almost nothing, as the practice of finning became widespread.

For some, shark meat is not a luxury; it is matter of providing food for the family. With millions of finless sharks littering the seabed, out of reach of these people, is it any wonder that they feel bitter about those who can afford to pay up to $150 for a few strands of flavorless collagen?

The avoidance of shark fin soup is a gift that tens of millions of Chinese people can give to the world's poorest people in the time it takes to say "No thanks."

Susie Watts

Via e-mail

Social Darwinism

Comment on Liu Shinan's column "How can people be so cruel?" (China Daily, May 23)

Three-decade-long reform not only has shifted our economy from a weak plan-directed one to a strong prosperous market-oriented one but also radically changed our values.

In today's society there is fierce competition everywhere. To a large extent the competition is governed by the rules of Social Darwinism - only the more powerful, more competent and adaptable people can survive.

If you know this, you can understand why the manager detained the girl and so ruthlessly embarrassed her in public, which indirectly brought her death.


On China Daily website

Made in China

Comment on "Gov't probes 'tainted toothpaste' case" (China Daily)

Chinese firms should wake up and produce safe products or else the reputation of "Made-in-China" will be permanently damaged.

It has been wonderful for the past decades that China's products sell very well worldwide.

If the day comes when nobody trusts Made-in-China products, hundreds of millions of common people in China will lose their jobs.


On China Daily website

Wake up, US

Comment on "Talks are a complete success: Wu" (China Daily, May 24)

I am waiting for the US Congress to approve laws that are in fact trade protectionism and economic isolation.

While the congresspeople are pursuing trade protectionism and restricting your hi-tech exports to China, a huge market, you are effectively cutting yourself off from world market shares, from technological advance, and harming your competitiveness.


On China Daily website

China-Japan talks

Comment on "Talks on gas exploration set to begin" (China Daily, May 24)

China is the most cooperative nation with anyone if the other party is just minimally reasonable.

It is wise and beneficial for both Japan and China to work together on the principles of equality, mutual respect and benefit when Japan adopts a new and reasonable attitude towards its close neighbor.


On China Daily website

(China Daily 05/25/2007 page11)