Poor monkey

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 September, 1996, 12:00am

I recently visited Yunnan province, in China and was shocked by the extremely poor conduct of domestic tourists there.

At a wayside food-stop between two towns, I saw a monkey chained by the neck to a tree. It was there to provide entertainment for busloads of mainly Chinese tourists.

I witnessed relatively affluently dressed mainlanders viciously spitting at the monkey, throwing glass bottles and stones at it and encouraging their children to do likewise.

By contrast, fellow passengers of minority races had no part in this. The animal was clearly in torment, as anyone would be if repeatedly surrounded by groups of aggressive, antagonistic people every day of their lives.

At the time, I attempted to protect the animal by positioning myself between it and the hail of abuse, however I eventually had to leave with my bus and the animal is still there.

Because of this incident I am concerned that the public chaining and humiliation of intelligent animals may be tolerated in Hong Kong after the handover to China.

We keep similar animals in relatively spacious cages in the Zoological and Botanical Gardens and it is quite refreshing to see Hong Kong people enjoying them for what they are. I hope the influx of mainland tourists after the handover will not change this.