Dispatch from Hotan: Hey bunny, where are the guys?
You just can't resist the urge to woo and ah in their presence, all cuddly balls of fluffy hair with big white ears and tiny teeny tails. The bunnies are so cute that you want to touch and hold them. Some even want to eat them as well - literally. What? How could you do that? They are so lovely.
It was with such mixed feelings of excitement and self-denial that journalists with the "A Date with China" international media tour paid a visit recently to a meat rabbit breeding center in Hotan county, in the south of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. The center, as well as the breeding industry it promotes in the area, is part of the local government's expansive plans to fight rural poverty, consolidate regional employment and raise people's livelihoods.
Launched in March 2019, the center has 96 breeding houses and about 200,000 meat rabbits at the moment. The breeding houses - which look like freight containers from the outside, only much larger and longer - are cavernous. A corridor runs through the middle. On each side, behind thick glass, are 896 rabbits munching at their feeders in their separate coops.
Curiously there are no windows. While fluorescent lamps overhead provided most of the light, He Bo, the breeding center manager was quick to point out that the lamps were turned on only for the visit and are usually turned off all day long. If there is any natural light, it's meager, leaking weakly from the four shaded air vents at each end of the house.
"Usually we would be in complete darkness here," he said. There were audible gasps from the media group.