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February 1, 2011

No Publicity for Cruelty

Chinese designer rejects seal skin

Humane Society International

  • The Chinese public is not interested in products of cruelty. Brian Skerry

by Peter Li

An attempt to use seal fur in an evening dress designed for a nationally famous television host of China's most celebrated Chinese New Year extravananza (to be live broadcast across the entire Chinese mainland for five hours on the eve of the Chinese New Year) has been foiled by one of HSI's local partners in Beijing. 

Our local partner disclosed the info of the design idea to the media and public and called on the public to voice their opposition. Under mounting pressure, the designer apologized for her ignorance and decided not to use the controversial material. 

The Canadian Embassy in Beijing had earlier sent a congratulatory letter to the designer encouraging her and other Chinese fashion designers to make full use of Canada's "traditional" products.

The Chinese New Year's Eve extravaganza is hosted by China's national CCTV and attracts arguably the world's biggest number of television viewers. An estimated 900 million Chinese will sit down to enjoy the show, which will last until midnight. Seal fur on the dress of the hostess would have sent a very bad message.

HSI sent a letter [PDF] (Chinese, English) to the designer, Ms. Guo Pei, thanking her for her compassionate change of heart.

Dr. Peter Li is HSI's China Specialist.

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