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China’s ‘Man-Made’ Swine Fever Crisis Revealed

By Ren Qiuyu / Jul 08, 2019 07:13 PM / Economy

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A Caixin investigation reveals how mass cover-ups and official inaction have driven China's African swine fever epidemic to crisis levels.

Local officials in many parts of the country have refused to acknowledge suspected outbreaks of the disease in order to avoid paying culling subsidies, reporters have learned.

Facing massive economic losses, many pig farmers sold their stock at low prices when they showed the first signs of swine fever. The pigs were sent to transfer hubs and slaughterhouses — sometimes in different provinces — further spreading the disease, which is not known to affect humans but kills almost every pig it infects, and can only be transmitted through direct contact.

They ended up on dinner tables across China.

The crisis that has devastated the country’s pork industry is “man-made,” said Qiu Huaji, a research director at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute. 

Read the full investigation here.

Contact reporter Ren Qiuyu (

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