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The Harvard Review of Philosophy

ONLINE FIRST

published on September 29, 2018

Deborah Cao
DOI: 10.5840/harvardreview201892720

Wild Game Changer
Regarding Animals in Chinese Culture

For the last two decades, the world has seen the rise of China. With its rise, unfortunately, has come the fall, retreat, and demise of some animals and animal species. China is often singled out for special attention in terms of animal destruction and endangerment. With an increasingly globalized economy and world, we now have a globalized wildlife crisis. This essay focuses on the exploitation of wild animals in China. It argues that the plight of wildlife in China stems from an underlying position in Chinese culture that animals are instruments for human benefits, and such an instrumentalist approach has always dominated the Chinese landscape. This is the case despite the fact that animals and humans are considered to be organically connected in the moral universe in Chinese traditional philosophy in contrast to the segregated approach to humans and non-humans in Western philosophical traditions. It is suggested that to achieve substantive progress in the protection of wildlife and other animals in China, a fundamental change of thinking and acting toward animals by the Chinese to recognize the intrinsic value of animals would be imperative.