Chinese food blogger fined $18,500 after cooking and eating great white shark
A woman has been fined $18,500 (125,000 CNY) after she posted a video of herself illegally buying, preparing, and eating a great white shark.
The food blogger, who goes by the online name Tizi, was identified by officials as Jin Moumou. According to a statement from officials in Nanchong, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, Jin reportedly purchased the great white shark in April 2022 and posted a video of herself preparing and eating the wild animal in July that year.
The video was in violation of the “Wild Animal Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China,” the statement said. Illegal possession of a white shark can also lead to a prison term of between five to 10 years.
In the clip, which was posted to social media sites Douyin and Kuaishou, Tizi can be seen posing with the roughly six foot long shark in front of a shop. The shark is then sliced in half, marinated and barbecued, while the head is cooked in a broth.
“It may look vicious, but its meat is truly very tender,” Tizi said while tearing off large chunks of the animal’s barbecued meat in the viral video.
Authorities said Tizi purchased the shark for 7,700 yuan ($1,141) from Alibaba’s Taobao online shopping site. DNA tests from tissue remnants identified the shark purchased as a great white. Two other individuals involved in catching and selling the animal were also arrested.
Police began investigating the influencer, who has almost eight million followers on her channel, in August last year after the viral clip sparked widespread backlash.
At the time, Tizi told local media she acquired the shark through “legal channels”, but the local agriculture bureau said her claim was “inconsistent with the facts” and that police were investigating.
The great white shark is currently listed as a “vulnerable” species by the World Wildlife Fund. In February 2020, China imposed a total ban on the buying, selling, and consumption of wild animals. The ban was introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent activities scientists say may have caused the deadly coronavirus.
This has also led to a crackdown on viral binge-eating videos, known on the internet as mukbang videos.