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Opinion
Adam Minter

China's Puppy Crackdown

Chinese regulators plan to test various dog breeds to ascertain how they measure up in specific categories, including “body-type, disposition, disease resistance, and ease of training.”
Is it cool if I hang out here for a while? Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Is it cool if I hang out here for a while? Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

For as long as I can recall, a three-legged miniature poodle and her owners have lived several floors above my Shanghai apartment. Despite her disability, she's much beloved by everyone in my 25-story building, and always elicits coos and smiles in the elevator, or when she's out strolling with her owners. Who, I've often asked myself, could hate this three-legged dog?

Dog-hating Chinese bureaucrats, that's who. On Wednesday, a group of them -- heirs to Cultural Revolution-era laws that banned dogs as bourgeois affectations -- sat down in Beijing and established the National Companion Animal Standardization Committee. The goal, as outlined in a brief story syndicated by Xinhua, the state news wire, is to establish strict national guidelines on which animal breeds are suitable as house pets. Those standards will then be forwarded to China's National Standardization Management Committee, a body whose work typically concerns standardizing things like electrical transmission grids and Velcro.