Democratic Politics Behind Pork and Beef


Facts behind Democratic Politics Behind Pork Beef

        A few days ago, some social media in Asia were transmitting a letter, that is, the mayor of Montreal rejected a letter from Muslim parents suggesting to remove pork dishes from student recipes on the grounds that immigrant families should respect and integrate into local life. The wording of the letter is very euphemistic. About the content is that the local area welcomes any foreigner, but it is not the mayor or me who welcomes immigrants.

It is the entire locals who welcome you. Therefore, immigrants cannot ask for changes in local traditions and culture.  If local people are considered better than immigrant citizens in their country, it is because of their tolerance. The WeChat pusher added a sentence at the end, "Share this story and promote tolerance in the world."


        This WeChat reminds me of the recently discussed issue of fasting beef legislation in India. Many states in India have legislative provisions to punish cattle. 

In the past year or two, some states in India have gone further and extended the ban on cattle slaughter to fasting beef. For example, Haryana State, passed legislation in 2015, prohibiting cattle slaughter and beef eating, and accompanied by a maximum of ten Years of imprisonment. 

After the "India Express" report on November 13, 2015 titled "President Mukherjee agrees to Harbin's adoption of legislation on fasting beef and banning cattle", many commenters expressed their admiration for the legislation of Harbin. , Thinking that the law protects their "god", some commenters expressed dissatisfaction and questioned who would protect their "right to eat beef."


         Based on the interest in these two pieces of news, the author did a simple search research, and found that there are quite a lot of political disputes about pork and beef.


         Through research, it is found that the story of the mayor of Montreal in China's WeChat circle is an online rumor, which was circulated on the Internet from 2013 to 2014.

Laws and politic son beef and pork

One of the versions of the rumor was to add it to Marc Duvivier, the mayor of Ath, Belgium. Later, the media asked the mayor of Marc to verify the matter. He did not deny his position, but he denied that parents had asked him to cancel the lunch. Request for medium pork or pork products. 

This version was also inserted on the head of the mayor of Montreal, Canada, which is the version posted on WeChat.

 Later, someone refuted the rumors that this was not a matter of Montreal, but the Mayor of Quebec did deny parents' requests to remove pork from students’ recipes. Therefore, I guess that the letter may be a letter written by netizens based on this fact.


The Pork Controversy in Student Cookbooks Is Splitting France

        Although the WeChat story is an Internet rumor, on October 13, 2015, the famous British media "The Guardian" reported on the topic of "The Pork Controversy in Student Cookbooks Is Splitting France" and reported on the city of Chilly-Mazarin in the south of Paris.

The real move to change the "pork meal" and "non-pork meal" in the original student recipes to "including pork" or "not eating" has caused unrest and turmoil in the Muslim and Jewish communities.

In France, the debate about clothing and food choices and identity has existed for a long time. Before that, France had passed legislation that people working in public institutions should be neutral and ban headscarves with religious characteristics. The report speculated that the reform of student meal choices was related to the terrorist attack on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo.


       In India, although the Constitution clearly stipulates that India is a secular country, Hinduism accounts for 80% of the total population, and legislation to ban cattle killing has become very common. As a political party with religious and political characteristics, BJP won its election. Later, legislation on fasting beef also began to appear in some states.

In real life, India has many murderous cases of religious conflicts caused by beef. After the beef fasting legislation appeared, murders suspected of carrying and eating beef also appeared. For example, on September 30, 2015, a 50-year-old Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh was suspected of carrying beef, and was beaten to death.

Arrest on Suspicion of Eating Beef

On June 27, 2016, The Times of India reported on an employee working in a canteen of a Chinese company in Madhya Pradesh, with the title "Watching Chinese People Eat Beef in Madhya Pradesh" Being arrested on suspicion of eating beef has also aroused Chinese people's concern about fasting beef in India.


       I was in Beijing when the incident happened. Some friends asked me, is India not a democratic country? How can a democratic country have such outrageous legislation? In fact, there are quite a few outrageous things recently.


A few days before, the vote for Britain to leave the European Union (Brexit) also happened. Is the UK's vote to leave the EU outrageous?

The new mayor of a small town in the south of Paris restricts the choice of Muslims and Jews to the new move of "either eating pork" or "not eating school meals". Isn't it outrageous?

In his official speech on July 21, 2016, when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination, Donald John Trump publicly accused immigration of creating low salaries and high unemployment in the United States. Isn't it outrageous?


       Trump mentioned in his speech when he was nominated by the party, "We cannot be so politically correct anymore." The author thinks that in this context, it is also a good time to re-discuss the democratic system. The design and operation of the framework of India’s democratic system is very much in line with the Western liberal democracy model. But why can some states in India impose religious taboos on others through legislation?

80% of the people in India believe in Hinduism. In some states, when Hindu followers are an absolute majority, it is easier to strengthen the taboos of Hinduism through democratic means.

Tyranny of the majority or simple law?

Interpreted by classic political science, democracy may also have "tyranny of the majority". However, the current mainstream discourse only focuses on democratic system design and program design, and does not focus on results. Under this kind of mainstream discourse, using the term "tyranny", I am afraid no one is willing to accept it.


The British Brexit, referendum, very democratic, but why is everyone so frustrated with the result?

The mayor of a small city in the south of Paris can arbitrarily not give Muslims and Jewish children a choice of non-pork lunch, and democratic elections have also given them such "tyranny against a minority" power. Trump's public accusation of immigrants is not one of the important factors in his winning votes and nomination?


        For a long period of time in the past, the global mainstream discourse was a little too beautifying democracy, and the understanding of democracy was limited to the framework of Western liberal democracy, that is, electoral system, multi-party competition, and separation of powers.

Solve various problems, such as poverty, religious conflicts, and economic development. As the “Economist” article on July 9, 2016 focused, “The chaos after the Arab Spring, the fact that the British left the European Union through some means has made many people realize that ordinary People’s one person, one vote cannot solve complex political issues."


        Many people who believe in Western freedom and democracy dismissed Bell's China Model: 

Political Elite System and Democratic Limitations." In fact, Bell Tanning’s description of the limitations of democracy only repeats the views of classic political scientists, such as the tyranny of the majority and the tyranny of the minority.

Compared with many Western scholars, Bell Tanning did not stick to the "defense of Western liberal democracy", but under the background of a clear understanding of the limitations of Western liberal democracy, he observed the political systems of Singapore and China with an inquiring perspective and tried to demonstrate The rationality of a political system that combines elite politics that focuses on results with limited democracy that focuses on transparency and procedures.

Bei Tanning’s theoretical system may not be particularly rigorous and perfect, but the author believes that Bei Tanning’s contribution is to remind people not to be too fanatical about Western liberal democracy and to have a "discovery" mentality for other political explorations. Rather than rushing to simply label or make judgments.

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