08 September 2005

False Advertising in China

My day-to-day work deals principally with U.S.-based technology transactions, so my grasp of Chinese consumer protection laws is somewhat lacking. As such, I will be keeping an eye on this case to further my professional knowledge:
A restaurant in northeastern China that advertised illegal tiger meat dishes was found instead to be selling donkey flesh — marinated in tiger urine, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The Hufulou restaurant, located beside the Heidaohezi tiger reserve near the city of Hailin, had advertised stir-fried tiger meat with chilies for $98as well as liquor flavored with tiger bone for $74 a bottle, the China Daily reported.

Raw meat was priced at $864 per kilogram.

The sale of tiger parts is illegal in China and officers shut down the restaurant, only to be told by owner, Ma Shikun, that the meat was actually that of donkeys, flavored with tiger urine to give the dish a "special" tang, the newspaper said.

. . . .

Authorities confiscated the restaurant's profits and fined Ma $296 it said. It wasn't clear what Ma was fined for.

Just donkey meat in tiger urine? Well, OK then.

What would be an aggrieved consumer's recourse for this outrage, if anything? Even if the purchase and consumption of tiger parts is not illegal, these consumers were dealing for goods which could not be legally conveyed to them. What's Mandarin for "unclean hands"?

Still, as in America, perhaps "forewarned is forearmed" should be a prudent consumer's mantra. As a public service, Chinese video pirates should take a breather from shopping the latest Hollywood releases and steal from their vaults instead. Start with the 1990 Matthew Broderick-Marlon Brando buddy picture "The Freshman", wherein the caper revolved around a fly-by-night eatery which passed-off Virginia ham as endangered Komodo Dragon meat to rich but gullible diners. If there's a resurgence of interest in this excellent film, perhaps there could be a "Freshman II" with an older and wiser Matthew Broderick and a young Chinese sidekick peddling donkey meat marinated in tiger urine. If Andrew Bergman isn't available to write and direct the sequel, perhaps Michael Bay could do the honors; exploding donkey meat, anyone?

UPDATE: On second thought, forget Michael Bay for "Freshman II" -- it has to be Ang Lee. Between "The Wedding Banquet" and "Eat Drink Man Woman", I'm confident that no director could provide the intimate, beautifully-lit donkey meat in tiger urine preparation shots "Freshman II" would surely require. Of course, if exploding donkey meat is still needed, he has his "Hulk" experience to guide him.


Gamer said...

What's Mandarin for "unclean hands"?
I don't think that it would be my hands I'd be worried about. Gag.

Gamer said...

If you are going to focus hard on the food and dining experience in general, you are not going to do better than The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover.