Animal Guardians in China
Introduction to the plight of animals in China
Several traditional Chinese worldviews emphasize caring for animals, including Taoism and Buddhist vegetarianism. Taoist Zhuang Zhou taught compassion for all sentient beings.
In more recent times, many in mainland China have become relatively indifferent to animal suffering, perhaps partly because of Mao Zedong’s campaigns against bourgeois sentiments, such as “sympathy for the downtrodden.” Caring about animals was regarded as “counter-revolutionary”. Since 1978, China has emphasized growth and avoidance of famine, which the government considers important for political stability. Local officials are evaluated based on local jobs and revenue. This has led to less concern for animal welfare.