An end in sight for the Yulin festival?
So what is the latest news from Yulin? A few days ago, party secretary Li Jun Qing of the Yulin Food Safety Office did indeed say the Yulin dog meat festival won't take place and that the government does not endorse it and will not allow it to happen. But this announcement was merely repeating what the Yulin authorities had previously declared last year, and while the number of dogs killed last year in Yulin was certainly reduced due to intense pressure, thousands of dogs still died for their meat. I have no doubt they will this year, too.
The key to unravelling the meaning of this announcement is understanding the difference between the idea of a dog meat "festival" (which the authorities have refuted since 2013) and mass dog killing and dog meat consumption in Yulin. As far as the dogs are concerned, they amount to the same thing, but pronouncements by Chinese authorities are often a game of semantics, and this Yulin news is likely no different.
Last year when Yulin authorities declared the festival was over, they summoned the dog meat traders about 20 days before the summer solstice, and warned them to remove the word "dog" from their restaurants and to slaughter dogs in the cover of darkness during the early hours instead of daylight, so that the controversy would simply be hidden from public view. The visible trappings of a festival disappeared, but so did thousands of dogs.