It appears that after destroying their own environment and poisoning their own food system, the Chinese government has been reduced to luring tourists with actual paper tigers. Chinese “netizens” on the Internet showed that a recent picture of a South China Tiger was actually a poster propped up in the forest. A farmer, Zhou Zhenglong, has now been charged criminally and some officials fired. Yet, it is not the first faked nature scene to come out of the Chinese government.
Nine months ago, Zhou produced a series of pictures to win a competition by local officials in Shaanxi to show a rare South China tiger in the wild – something that they have not seen in 20 years and a key component to their hope for a new tourism industry. They offered 1 million yuan (about US$146,000) for any photos and, when Zhou emerged with such photos, the images became a national hit (though he was only given 20,000 yuan or US$2,920. The problem is that the tiger seemed to remain in the same position in every picture and seemed radiant and shiny. When someone found a poster with the same image, but became clear that the pictures were cut out paper tigers.
The government is embarrassed by the incident and ordered the arrest. Yet, this is not the first use of photographic skills to overcome environmental damage. The government was shown to have doctored photographs in Tibet to show that the threatened Chinese antelope herds were flourishing under a high-speed train railway , here.
Of course, there is an alternative: protecting the Chinese environment for real tigers and real antelope.
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