Normally when political scientists write about ‘pork,’ they are referring to the pet projects that legislators wiggle into budgets. I am a literalist. When I talk about pork, I mean pork – pig meat. (Actually, the Chinese for most types of meat follows this pattern: name of animal + meat. Pork is different. It is assumed meat that one would eat, so you don’t often see ‘pig + meat’ to refer to pork. ‘Meat’ is sufficient.)
Pork (and other food prices) continue to make headlines here. Pork, despite being a distinctly non-Muslim food, still made headlines in Urumqi. Today’s Beijing News has an editorial on the fact that we haven’t heard the voice of the farmers in this story. That a piece is required to remind city dwellers of the interests of the hundreds of millions of rural residents speaks volumes about their relative political position. The fact that the Premier was out inspecting on the topic and an emergency cabinet statement was issued reminds us again that pork is serious business.