If 15,000 pig carcasses in the Huangpu River “meets the national sanitation standards for drinking water,” is it still kosher?

Earlier this month, workers began fishing hundreds of dead pigs out of the Huangpu river. This raised safety concerns about the river that supplies over 30% of Shanghai’s water. Authorities conducted tests and concluded there’s no problem with the water. But the fishing of dead pigs continues. Days. Weeks. A thousand pigs. Two thousand. Three. Six. Fifteen-thousand carcasses have so far been retrieved. And like the air-quality reports of Beijing, authorities are sticking by their initial prognosis with regards to Shanghai’s water. No problem! Gan bei! (“Bottoms up”)

In retrospect, this should have been a slam dunk.

If you’re a restaurant owner, and you offer your patrons a glass of urine to drink and tell them it meets your establishment’s standards of safety, it says more about you and your restaurant than it does about your slightly-acidic saffron mineral water.


The next time 15,000 pig carcasses are found in a major waterway leading to one of the largest and supposedly most modern cities in the country, think of it as an opportunity, not a personal attack.  [Remember: “During times of crisis, functional families seek outside support; dysfunctional families increase rigidity.”] Next time say, “No, this does not meet China’s normal standards for drinking water,” thus demonstrating to the citizens of the PRC and the world at large that government agencies truly do have some standards.

And yes, the people of Shanghai will shout on Weibo. But the remaining 1.3 billion Chinese residents can sleep soundly, believing there exists some lower limit to what the government expects them to ingest.

Of course there isn’t. You know that. I know that. And the citizens know it better than anyone. But in China appearances are everything. So a few days later send some men in white lab coats and stethoscopes with expensive-looking scientific equipment, like CRT monitors, and throw said equipment into the river. This clip will be played ad infinitum on every CCTV channel for three days. Then have the most official-looking official (glasses, tie, dyed-black hair) announce that, thanks to the latest homebred technological know-how, the Huangpu is so clean, you could swim in it.

And in the meantime some entrepreneurial Shanghainese will have marked up the Huangpu water 1500% and sold it as bacon soup. It’s a win-win.

But, to answer the question, according to my rabbi, no, not kosher.

About sinestor

Originally from Los Angeles/Long Beach, California, I'm currently spending a year exploring the amazing world known as China. My main website is Every Day's a Holiday.

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