Tom Purcell, 8/11/2008 [Archive]

Chinese Hot Dogs

Chinese Hot Dogs

By Tom Purcell

If you're headed to Beijing for the Summer Olympics, I've got bad news: no dog meat for you.

According to The New York Times, the Beijing Catering Trade Association has ordered 112 designated Olympic restaurants to take dog off the menu.

As it goes, dogs have been raised for grub in China for thousands of years. The communists running the joint are afraid their gastronomic preferences might offend foreigners.

Boy, they got that right. Nothing is more offensive to Americans than the thought of having man's best friend for supper. (Medium-rare roverhouse? Buffalo paws?)

Which got me to thinking about the cleverness of our friends in China. They're pulling out all the stops to portray China in the best possible light.

Sure, they're among the biggest polluters in the world -- no environmental regulations are slowing down their economic growth -- so they're firing anti-smog pellets into the air.

Sure, they're among the most repressive nations in the world -- they monitor and censure citizens and a fellow will end up in the clink if he dares criticize his government -- but Internet access appears to be widely available in the hotels where foreigners are staying.

Sure, they've modernized Beijing with upscale shops and Starbucks, but then we learn the cabs are equipped with hidden microphones so Big Brother can listen in on the conversations of visitors.

The party leaders are stumbling a little as they try to mask the ugliness of communism -- the torture, the jailing of dissidents and religious leaders, the lack of basic rights that Americans take entirely for granted -- but by and large they'll probably pull it off.

They'll pull it off because many Americans will let them. Rather than see communism as an evil ideology -- one that has exterminated more than 100 million people -- some Americans feel we have no right to criticize it.

Some Americans believe communism is just another form of government. Who are we to impose our ideas on other cultures that may see things differently?

What's worse: Some Americans think America is the real evildoer in the world.

Some are so forgetful of where our freedom came from -- or that freedom is the engine that unleashed the economic miracles that produced the most productive, prosperous nation in the history of mankind -- that they think socialism or communism are just as good and maybe even better.

I think the fellows running China are on to all of this -- they know we've gone soft.

These fellows are hungry -- they have a fire in the belly that is driving them to regain their greatness. Whereas their history dates back 5,000 years, they view America as a temporary upstart.

They know how hard it is to attain wealth and power. And while they are clawing their way upward -- they aren't troubled by global warming or disturbing the habitat of the double-billed blue duck -- they know many Americans have no idea how hard wealth and power are to keep.

Consider: Some 70 percent of our energy comes from foreign sources -- a great vulnerability. Despite the fact that oil prices are wreaking havoc on our economy -- or that a major disruption to the world's oil supply could cripple us -- many in Congress STILL want to restrict drilling.

They want us to properly inflate our tires and conserve. And I think the fellows running China are onto this. I think they know us better than we know them.

They know Americans will be far more troubled that the Chinese are eating dog than we will be about the really nasty stuff they are up to or the troubling fact that their economy is growing a lot faster than ours.

While the world hopes that China's growth leads to a free, open, modern society, I'm guessing communist party leaders have a different notion.

I'll bet they're dreaming of the day that fortunes reverse entirely -- the day when waiters around the world say, "You want fries with your Labrador burger?"

© 2008 Tom Purcell. Tom is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For more info contact Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Visit Tom on the web at or e-mail him at

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