Yao Ming is a superstar in China. So when he visited his homeland recently and spoke out against shark fin soup and the selling of bear bile tonics - both of which cause enormous suffering for sharks and bears respectively - his words influenced millions of people and helped strengthen China's fledgling AR movement.
The movement has been making tremendous gains over the last few years. They've enjoyed particularly strong success in the campaign against shipping dogs and cats to restaurants, and Chinese society is now moving away from that barbaric practice. Organizations such as the Chinese Animal Protection Network have been thriving since the mid-2000s. The Chinese are becoming much more receptive to pro-animal campaigns.
Moreover, more Chinese families are switching over to vegetarian diets. A new organization called POVchina (translation: Pioneer Vegetarianism of China) is an online resource for Chinese men, women and children who've removed meat from their diets.
And the wonderful group AnimalsAsia has functioned as a much-needed watchdog to monitor developments in China and across the rest of the region. They're sort of the Amnesty International of animal abuse in Asia.
These are but a few hopeful developments in the growth of the Animal Rights Movement in China. The internet has performed a valuable function in bringing a wide array of groups together inside the vast and densely populated country. Talk about a place that desperately needs such a movement. And when you begin to think that 10 years ago, there was very little in the way of animal rights agitation in China, recent developments are extremely encouraging.