Sometimes, Chinese netizens pay more attention to a U.S. news story than Americans do. President Barack Obama’s Feb. 23 decision to allocate $51.5 million to eradicate an invasive species known as the Asian carp is a prime example.
Outside of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, news of this carp-control strategy barely registered with the U.S. public. But on March 6, it hit China and, like a jazz trio riffing for an hour on just a few notes, microbloggers took to the minor news topic with gusto, using it to explore issues ranging from corrupt civil servants to U.S. sovereign debt. Soon it even had its own hash tag, roughly translated as #Asian Carp on an American Rampage#.
Within a week, netizens posted more than 85,000 tweets, comments on tweets and re-tweets on the carp rampage. By Chinese microblogging standards, that’s actually quite modest. More popular topics can easily generate millions of posts. But such a large amount of commentary regarding an essentially American story is significant.
American catfish farmers first imported four species of Asian carp in the 1970s. Known to be voracious eaters, they were set loose in catfish pens with the hope that they’d eat the algae – which they did. But in the 1980s, floods washed over these contained pens, allowing the carp to enter the Mississippi River where – for three decades – they’ve been eating their way upAmerican watersheds, disrupting every ecosystem in their path.
Correct me if I’m wrong but this, to me, seems to be one answer to US unemployment. Catch and flash freeze these critters. Then ship to China. From what I’m reading they’ll buy everything that can be sent their way and look for more.