The Four Pests of Hangzhou

Hangzhou proudly hosted China’s first G20 Summit and boy, did they do a good job.

Due to the G20 attracting world leaders such as Barack Obama, Xi Jinping and Theresa May, China’s image-obsessed leaders ordered a multi-billion pound makeover of the city. Including planting trees, shutting down factories and building motorways and homes for ease of access and ensuring visitors leave fulfilled and in high spirits.

Hangzhou has been planting trees and shut down factories in order to renovate itself

Despite these positive actions, communist party officials and residents had immediately stated their concerns regarding pest infestation. Red banners hung from of hanging red banners in a rundown neighbourhood near the meeting venue in Hangzhou in the hope to address the pest problem. Residents have been encouraged to fight back against the troublesome bombardment of flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes and rodents before the event takes place.

The aforementioned banner reads:

“Contribute to the Summit by wiping out the four pests!”

Hangzhou officials in 2016 encouraged locals to extinguish mosquitoes, rodents, flies and cockroaches from the city. The term ‘four pests’ will bring back sour memories to the natives of China who remember the ecological devastation that followed.

During the 1950s, Chinese children were given a real role in posters that promoted the campaign that set out to wipe-out the four main pests. The aim of this extermination exercise was to eliminate flies, mosquitoes, rats and sparrows. Sparrows were later replaced by bed bugs, as after the sparrow had been exterminated, it upset the ecological balance, meaning the bugs destroyed farms, crops and local produce as a result of the absence of their natural predators.

Hangzhou suffered greatly after the eradication of the natural insect predators

To restore ecological balance to Hangzhou, everybody was encouraged to take part in contests. The contests were hoped to promote and encourage cleanliness within the city. Rewards were handed to people that presented a large number of rat’s/mice tails, or dead flies and mosquitoes.

The movement become something of a sport, with children headlining the bulk of the contenders. The contest fueled excitement and competitiveness in children, eyewitnesses recall from their youth how they would bang pots and pans so that sparrows would not be able to land, therefore would become exhausted and fall dead from the sky.

Eradicating pests has been, and seemly continues to be high on China’s agenda.

More recently, Mantoushan’s mouse and insect populations may have suffered due to the G20 renovation, but one Hangzhou local said she couldn’t be happier with the changes the G20 has brought with it. Chen Meixan, an 84-year-old grandmother says that she now has a toilet inside her home for the very first time:

“The government is taking care of us. We never though we’d see this change.”

Chen continued to claim that China “is getting richer and our lives are getting better”, describing the Summit as a symbol of her country’s exponential rise.

State media have described Hangzhou as a “dream town” and no less than a “paradise on earth.” The city is magnificent, Marco Polo even claimed that the onetime imperial capital the world’s most magnificent metropolis. China has certainly made its first mark on tackling the Earth’s eco-problems and long may these green footsteps continue.



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