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The celebrity pig was catapulted to fame after emerging from the wreckage of the earthquake, malnourished but alive. Photo: Artwork

Miracle Chinese pig Zhu Jianqiang that survived 36 days trapped under debris after 2008 Sichuan earthquake dying, says owner

  • Zhu Jianqiang means strong-willed pig in Chinese and the name has been adopted by many businesses
  • The pig is now ailing after living to the age of 14, or 100 in pig years
A legendary pig that became a household name in China after surviving 36 days while trapped under debris after the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake is reportedly near the end of its life.

The pig, called Zhu Jianqiang which means strong-willed pig in Chinese, is dying from old age as the country commemorates the 13th anniversary of the magnitude 8 earthquake that left 69,000 people dead and 18,222 missing, according to the Jianchuan Museum in Sichuan province which looks after the animal.

“Since it moved from the debris to the museum in 2008, numerous tourists have visited it every day. What’s really behind the attention is not just a pig, but a collective memory,” the museum said in a Weibo post this week.

Not everyone was as lucky as Zhu, the Sichuan earthquake left 69,000 people dead and 18,222 missing. Photo: Handout

“It is a miracle of life; it is a symbol of strong will,” the museum said.

The pig is now 14 years old, equivalent to 100 in pig years.

Earthquake hero Chinese pig porks up, told to lose weight

The animal has been a celebrity ever since it was located alive under debris in a village in Sichuan’s Pengzhou area 36 days after the earthquake on May 12, 13 years ago.

Its weight had dropped from 150 kilograms to just 50 kilograms while trapped, and its survival inspired web users to give it the name of Zhu Jianqiang.

After the quake the museum’s founder, Fan Jianchuan, bought Zhu from its owner and took it to his museum in nearby Dayi County.

The beloved pig has been in a poor condition for several months, said Fan on Weibo at the beginning of the month.

Onlookers watch Zhu at an enclosure in China. Photo: Handout

However, the animal has already lived longer than many expected. “The purpose of me buying it is to avoid it from being slaughtered, but I never expected it could live until today,” Fan told the Yangtze River Cloud news app in 2018.

The pig has been so popular that many businesses that established after 2008 have used its name.

According to search results on, an enterprise information searching platform, at least 100 companies have put the characters Zhu Jianqiang or those similar to the pronunciation in their names.