Chinese farmer accuses authorities of African swine fever cover-up

Hebei still officially free of African swine fever

Dead hogs at a farm in Hebei, China (photo from Sun Dawu's Weibo account).

Dead hogs at a farm in Hebei, China (photo from Sun Dawu's Weibo account). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A farmer in the Chinese province of Hebei accused the government of failing to test whether 15,000 pigs at his farm died of African swine fever, and of only trying to cull the other 6,000 animals as quickly as possible in an attempted cover-up.

The highly contagious disease has spread across most of China, leading to the toughening up of customs controls in Taiwan, with minimum fines of NT$200,000 (US$6,490) for anyone caught bringing in banned meat products from China and from other affected countries.

Farmer Sun Dawu posted pictures online Friday of the dead animals at his farm in the Hebei city of Baoding. He added he thought they had died of African swine fever, but the authorities were only interested in culling the remaining hogs on Saturday, the Central News Agency reported.

Sun also reportedly posted criticism of the Chinese government, complaining that people had paid a considerable amount of taxes but that they soon would not be able to make a living anymore.

Staff at his farm also prepared banners demanding the government give them a way out of the crisis, CNA reported.

According to official statistics, only Tibet, Xinjiang, Hainan and Hebei still have not recorded cases of African swine fever.