Netizens vote for sparrow as China’s national bird
What does China have as a national bird? Well, it doesn’t yet.
The house sparrow, so common in China, and named one of the four vermin during the 1950’s (and killed en masse), has received a plurality of votes among ten birds in an unofficial online poll for China’s national bird. This has stirred up a conversation online about what constitutes a national bird, and more interestingly, about the national character and outlook of the common Chinese people.
Since 2003, the National Forestry Bureau and China Wildlife Protection Association have been soliciting (official and serious) candidates from various provinces for a National Bird of China. Some of the most popular candidates have been the red-crowned crane, the magpie, the hwamei, and the golden pheasant, with the crane being the most popular. However, allegedly due to the Latin name of the crane being Grus japonensis (Japanese crane), the decision to name a national bird has been delayed.
Then somebody on Tianya decided to hold an ad-hoc online poll where anybody can vote. Among 10 common birds found in China, the house sparrow emerged as the dark-horse “winner” (currently with 40.8% of the vote). Against the backdrop of this result, netizens have been piping up and hotly debating it. You can read the original comments in the link.
According to this summary, netizens are of two opinions. (I think the “for” party has more interesting things to say about the national character of the Chinese people, even more than about the national bird.)
The “for” party
In my mind, the selection of a national bird doesn’t need to be restricted to those birds with high pedigree and beautiful coat. Our standard of selection shouldn’t be restricted to the external qualities (of birds), but also the internal qualities are important. And many common folks don’t know much about birds, whether it is a crane, a peacock, a pheasant or whatever, I’ve only seen them on TV and don’t know much about them.
But the sparrow is different. First, they are like much of the Chinese commonfolk: they have a superb ability to survive and refuse to be eliminated; they have a strength of character — just like the original poster said earlier — an indefatigable spirit. Whereas many precious birds easily go extinct if they are not careful. Bottom line, a national bird doesn’t need to be pretty. What it needs to have is spirit, a kind that is similar to that of the people of this country.
one night’s floating snow wrote:
Sparrows have a great ability to survive and will not go extinct. If we choose a protected species as a national bird, what would we do if it goes extinct? A national bird must not go extinct.
hurriedly Wuhan (who was the original poster) wrote:
If I had to choose, I would rather choose the sparrow. 1. Sparrows cannot be kept. Those caught in cages or leashed by a leg all end up refusing to eat or drink and die that way. I think that is a kind of strength of character. 2. Sparrows don’t have pretty feathers or sweet cries, but they quietly fight for daily livelihood. I think this is very much like the behavior of Chinese people. 3. Sparrows are the birds most intertwined with common Chinese folks. Who hasn’t come in contact with sparrows, from childhood to adulthood?
The “against” party
Sparrows are no good, they are too loud, too plain and gray. People even eat them. How can that be a national bird?
could it not be a plant wrote:
… I still remember a time when sparrows were one of the four vermin! If the sparrow becomes the natinoal bird, then what should our peasant uncles do when sparrows eat their crops? Should they shoot them or not? If they were shot dead, what would happen?
Our country is a great and proud country, so we must choose a grandiose national bird, one with a deep moral story. Only the phoenix or the peacock or such high caliber birds can take the job. Sparrows are just little clowns. If they can be the national bird, it would be a great joke.
So what do you think?
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36 Responses to “Netizens vote for sparrow as China’s national bird”
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