Farmers in this poor rural area 400 miles northwest of Shanghai had complained to local government officials since 2004 that Mao’s factory was spewing noxious fumes that made their eyes tear up and the poplar trees nearby shed their leaves prematurely. Yet no one stopped Mao’s company from churning out bags of food powders and belching smoke — until one day last month when, in the middle of the night, bulldozers tore down the facility.
It wasn’t authorities that finally acted: Mao himself razed the brick factory — days before the investigators from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration arrived in China on a mission to track down the source of the tainted pet food ingredients.
With the caveat that it is also extremely terrible, I have to say that the image of the villain bulldozing his factory in the middle of the night is darkly hilarious. It has been said that American reality outpaces fiction, but I would be willing to bet that this is a global phenomenon.