China rabbit-crazy for Lunar New Year
CHINA: In stews, as pets or adorning shop windows, rabbits are
ubiquitous as millions of Chinese mark the Lunar New Year, hoping for a
more tranquil time ahead as the old Year of the Tiger roars its last.
The nation’s 1.3 billion inhabitants will welcome the Year of the Rabbit
on the night of February 2-3 in a hugely important family event marked
by feasts and a blaze of fireworks.
Occupying the fourth position in the Chinese zodiac, the rabbit is
closely linked to the moon and symbolises happiness and good fortune.
Many — including brokerages — are banking on the calm and sensitive
rabbit to usher in a calm 12 months after the tiger brought a spate of
deadly natural disasters to China such as earthquakes and mudslides.
CLSA, a brokerage and investment group, predicted in its latest “Feng
Shui Index” that the rabbit would have a positive influence on stock
“A reputedly placid, personable and prescient white rabbit will wrest
the reins from the decidedly unpleasant and erratic tiger that’s been
tossing and turning the markets over the past 12 months,” it said.
The bunnies in a video cartoon that went viral recently on the
Chinese Internet were anything but tranquil. Their revolt against brutal
tiger overlords — a thinly veiled swipe at China’s communist rulers —
was a huge hit before the video was yanked by online censors.
And while some attribute calming qualities to the rabbit, it may not
be such a good year for the animal itself in China.
Restaurants around the country are offering rabbit delicacies as part
of their lavish New Year banquets, and animal rights group PETA has
urged actress Gong Li to stop wearing rabbit fur. People are also
rushing to buy bunnies as pets, sparking concern among animal rights
activists that the cuddly creatures could suffer from neglect or be
abandoned once the novelty has worn off.
Beijing, Monday, AFP