PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 December, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 December, 1999, 12:00am


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I refer to the article which appeared in the Agenda section of the Sunday Morning Post, on November 28, headlined 'Killing time at cruelty park'.

I also happened to see CNN's television coverage of this disgusting spectacle which showed images of live farm animals mauled to death by tigers in front of an appreciative, cheering audience at a game park near Guilin in Guangxi, one of China's top tourist spots.

The 'entertainment' also features live chickens and ducks being dangled from fishing poles into pits of hungry tigers under the guise of 'wildness training'.

What was particularly disturbing about this show were the expressions captured on the faces of the cheering crowd by the video camera. Not only adults but young children were cheering and laughing at the pain and suffering inflicted on defenceless dumb animals during this barbaric process.

As horrific as these images were, they should come as no surprise.

China has one of the worst human rights records of any nation on earth.

Why should anybody expect that they would treat animals any differently from human beings? I have in the past personally had the misfortune of observing first hand, examples of mindless cruelty and fascination with pain and suffering which I found impossible to comprehend. I once observed a young Chinese male attempting to impress his girlfriend by torturing a caterpillar crawling on a tree branch with the naked flame of his cigarette lighter.

This was accompanied by much giggling and excitement not only from him but also from the girl as the unfortunate caterpillar squirmed and writhed in agony.

Another occasion occurred at Pacific Place several years ago when a young man attempted suicide by jumping from the top level of the shopping mall.

As he lay where he landed in a pool of blood gasping for air, I was horrified to observe a number of people excitedly taking snapshots of the unfortunate victim as if they were tourists on holiday.

How can China aspire to membership of the WTO, and how can it aspire to be a superpower and take its place among 'civilised' nations of the world, when it presents images which portray it as a nation of mindless, primitive, ignorant barbarians who have not yet emerged from the dark ages? PETER LAVAC Central