A waiter is standing outside the restaurant in a shopping district on April 01, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei, China.(Representational Image) | Photo by Getty Images | Bloomberg
A waiter is standing outside the restaurant in a shopping district on 1 April, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei, China.(Representational Image) | Photo by Getty Images | Bloomberg
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Here’s one more issue to add to the bonfire of tensions with China brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The country is reportedly reopening its wet markets, the fresh produce stalls associated with Covid-19’s early spread in Wuhan.

It’s understandable that countries now in the grip of the first wave of infection might be outraged. Many blame wet markets for starting the outbreak in the first place. Opening them again, at a moment when thousands are dying overseas, seems emblematic of Beijing’s increasingly chauvinistic approach to world affairs.

Animals in wet markets are penned and slaughtered or sold live right next to stalls selling fruit and vegetables. Conditions, as my colleague Adam Minter has written, are often less than hygienic.

Places where a range of common and exotic animals mix together while bodily fluids flow freely may seem a fertile breeding ground for the virulent novel diseases that cross the species barrier to humans and occasionally become pandemics.

At the same time, let’s put the outrage on pause. Wet markets are increasingly losing ground to supermarkets in China. If they’re showing resilience as suppliers of fresh goods, it’s precisely because consumers regard them as a healthier and more sustainable alternative.

That perception isn’t inaccurate. The prevalence of food-borne microbial illness in developing East Asia suggests that far from being cesspits of disease, wet markets do a good job of providing households with clean, fresh produce. And while the origins of coronavirus remain obscure, they may have at least as much to do with more worldwide activities such as intensive farming as practices specific to Asia.

The attraction of wet markets isn’t so different from that of farmers’ markets in Western countries. In contrast to a supermarket model where multiple layers of retailers, wholesalers and logistics companies stand in between the consumer and the grower, wet markets offer a personal and direct connection between shopper, stallholder and farmer.

Consumers know the food is fresh because there’s generally little refrigeration, so everything must be sold on the day. If in doubt, they can ask the stallholder what’s in season and which produce is best at the moment. If they think one market looks unsanitary, they can choose to shop at another.

That helps explain how wet markets have managed to hold their own in spite of the growth of store-based retail in recent years. Supermarkets now account for about half of all grocery spending in China, up from about 36% in 1995, according to Euromonitor International. Add in convenience stores and the like and so-called modern grocery has about 68% of China’s retail wallet, giving wet markets less than a third.

Still, that store-based spending is overwhelmingly concentrated in packaged, rather than fresh produce. Foreign retailers that once hoped to dominate China’s staple goods sector such as Carrefour SA and Metro AG have struggled and sold out of local ventures — but wet markets are still going strong.


Also read: China’s love for wildlife meat to its authoritarianism — how coronavirus got out of hand


 

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69 Comments Share Your Views

69 COMMENTS

  1. WOWWWWWWWW U R CHINA’S PAID MEDIA PROVED….HOW IT’S NOT A BAD IDEA??? THE CEO, THE PERSON WHO COLLECTED, EDITED, PRINTED MUST THEIR FAMILY GET CORONA LET ALL OF THEM SEE THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS DIEING IN FRONT OF THEM LTR SAY IT’S NOT A BAD IDEA!!!!

    GO PRINT CEO AND LICK BLADY CHINESE FOOT …!
    U FIT FOR THAT!!!

  2. Didn’t expect it from The Print, I have lost all my faith in u… The world is still fighting with covid 19 and you brought up this article? Shame on you print by giving place to this article.

  3. Indians must think how much we spend on Health it’s just 1pervrnt of GDP we must think where the problem lies in us not by blaming others for pandemic it’s wakeup call for all the Indian masses

  4. Another paid article from China
    People are still infected from this Chinese virus around global
    What Chinese are upto bio war
    This in not good for China and people
    Thay are only going to pay for it soon or later
    Remember God is watching

  5. This is the most disgusting article I have read, the person who wrote this must be totally oblivious to the fact that over a million people are infected with coronovirus which started in a wet market in wuhan China, there are no infectious disease control, animals are caged in proximity to other species and that is not to mention the hideous cruelty inflicted upon these poor animals who should not be there in the first place,China has quoted that wet markets with wildlife animals are permanently banned but obviously this is not the case and shame on the person who wrote this article ,counties governments should stand together and the who and demand these markets be closed in China and all other countries at least in the name of some kind of justice for the thousands who have died,nature is fighting back and if this is not stopped it will happen again.

  6. Lol.
    How much did CCP pay for this idiotic article? You’ve a responsibility to your readers. Don’t lose your spine for some petty money. Yuck. Disgusting.

  7. Why people around me will always worry about these media especially Print, The Wire, NDTV etc who are the puppies of the Red, they are very good speakers who’ll Twist or Break the matter in their favour by showing the least bothered thing in a spectacle microscope.

  8. this is madness……..its their Government’s greed….most of the Chinese citizens doesn’t have any interest for exotic animals meat….

  9. Defending the indefensible. These wet markets are cruel, inhumane, unhygienic, barbaric and are ‘superhighways’ for zoonotic diseases to cross from poor animal victim to human. Not to mention the fact that endangered species are being slaughtered and consumed….. time to shut them down!

  10. At last you also came to take Barton for the chaina , . It’s well known ,that chaina already purchase various media house through the world , like WHO . But we don’t know in how much money you sold yourself to communist party .

  11. Thanks for writing this Print. You proved yourselves that you are nothing but absolute nonsense and chinese influenced.

  12. What a sycophant author. Are they giving you free chinese toys for writing this? Only a certified nincompoop would write this kind mind-numbing justification. Search and you will know how many died and how many families suffered just because some chinese were too fond of eating their fansy cuisine. Dig up some info before writing any stupid story you want. The least you can do is be sensitive and that probably is the only contribution people like you can make to this society and humanity.

  13. What is this ? Nothing says that it’s good apart from the title. Oxymoronically, an actual FAKE NEWS.

    CCP, this is one of your most moronic works.

  14. What a sycophant author. Are they giving you free chinese toys for writing this crap? Only a certified nincompoop would write this kind mind-numbing justification. If you know how to search the internet, go ahead and read the stats. You will know how many died and how many families suffered just because some chinese were too fond of eating their fansy cuisine. It’s true the source of COVID-19 is not yet clear but it is quite evident that wet markets were the cause. So I suggest you dig up some info before writing any crap story you want. The least you can do is be sensitive and that probably is the only contribution people like you can make to this society and humanity.

  15. What a kissass author. Are they giving you free chinese toys for writing this crap? Only a certified nincompoop would write this kind mind-numbing justification. If you know how to search the internet, go ahead and read the stats. You will know how many died and how many families suffered just because some chinese were too fond of eating their fansy cuisine. It’s true the source of COVID-19 is not yet clear but it is quite evident that wet markets were the cause. So I suggest you dig up some info before writing any crap story you want. The least you can do is be sensitive and that probably is the only contribution people like you can make to this society and humanity.

  16. By far this is most stupidest explanation .. this person has no regard for life… Im curious to know if he thinks the same if he or his family member suffers from the disease..

  17. Kill all animals.So Chinese will be left with no animals to eat and they become vegetarians and no more COVID-19 on earth.

  18. China is confident and intelligent.They know what they’re doing.We have only small knowledge of what they did after discovering that it is this covid 19 virus through an animal people got infected.
    We do not know whether there were a batch of animals which infected a group of people.
    Their research they kept with themselves.But they disclosed the mechanism how it is transmitted from person to person and how this transmission can be stopped.That is what helped other countries to plan for the quarantine.
    China has organised,done their part and knows what to do in another emergency much better than others
    Eating animals is their choice We also have people eating animals.

  19. Just wondering how much china is spending on writers like this… well china is not to blame, every county wants to push its propaganda… it’s such writers that have no integrity at all who can do anything for money

  20. China has sold us cheap unreliable crap and sadly made a fortune doing just that and is now a country with first world strenght financially.
    They have only given us the world a bad deal and yet we have happily paid for the cheap crap to save money but sadly today we are suffering due to the most expensive lesson or purchase we have made from them the deadliest weapon which has now devastated the world for free.
    Please let’s ban all Chinese goods and China entering our homes again don’t buy cheap buy reliability buy quality which will last and not give rouges to exploit us again…..

  21. What’s wrong with you guys? How is killing animals and torturing them not a bad decision? Blood, viruses and a whole lot of crap generate from these areas.
    This author is being paid from the Chinese government. Stop spreading this rubbish!

  22. Absolutely nonsense
    Still they haven’t learned….
    Infact all the Chinese items should be banned across the world
    They should be banned from entering to any other country

  23. What a load of pukeworthy bull! All this verbal gymnastics and there’s not even a mention of the plight of those wild animals (tigers included) that are mercilessly hunted and slaughtered in these horrific markets.

  24. Lot of perceptions and assumptions presented in the article to counter the arguement of Chinese corona virus outbreak. However, opening of those breeding grounds at a time when the whole world is still crippling from this pandemic, indicates something substantial about conspiracy theory. Don’t try to white wash the acts of blunder and atleast sometime present the facts as facts.

  25. Horrible explanation…. Plz stop being so selfish and take a look around the world… Wet markets are the reason of all deadly viruses… It’s not good for u or others… And stop being so cruel!!

  26. China is paying media worldwide. Shame on you the print. I have been seeing sponsored ads aw claiming the origin is obscure (which I of course have been reporting spam). Cuz they know the repercussions and the boycott after all this ends. Donating masks and ventilator is not going to change the truth. The world knows no matter how much you guys try to prove otherwise that it is from USA/Korea Lol. Shame.

  27. I feel that today when u say Wet Market the the image that comes to people mind is that of wild animals being slaughtered in an unhygienic place.
    The real issue of the wet market with regard to China is that what kinda animals are they gonna allow to be sold.
    Wild animal agriculture is of a pretty big size in china and it is with this that people have problem and it is to this people are associating WET MARKETS
    I’m sure no one would have a problem if the meat sold in Wet Markets is limited to chicken, goat, pig, sheep and beef

  28. Worst article in such a horrible situation.. The print should be banned.. Don’t he have common sense that these are the places where corona born and still he is saying it’s not a bad to reopen wet markets..

  29. I think Either David Fickling was daydreaming or wrote the piece in a state of Haze! Or maybe some form of Dark comedy/ cruel joke.

  30. Absolute madness, what nonsense has the reporter written. There are wild and deadly animals sold in the wet markets which are not meant for human consumption.

  31. The author got some good money from the Chinese Communist Party..What a pathetic excuse and explanation, it disgusts my eyes to read this..Even if the local farmers and producers sell local vegetables and fruits, why are they still selling exotic meat that are potential pandemic carriers..Why is the CCP not banning the sale of exotic wild meat? Wet markets can be opened without the sale of these wild meat..Why can’t they ban the sale of these meat..? Economy or whatever, can’t be an excuse to potential virus carriers..If the Chinese cannibals eat bats and stayed in China, it would have been okie..But these Chinese roam around all over the world and spread deadly viruses which get from eating the wild animals..Ban Chinese from traveling the world or ban the consumption of wild meat.

  32. Wire & Print,Two Communist Media house backed by CHINA.They are continuously promoting CHINESE propoganda & are vocal critics of India & Hinduism.

  33. Even a four year old wouldn’t write like this. By this I meant a 4 year old who has been promised lots of chocolates, ice creams, lollipops.

  34. The reporting is appalling and is carelessly implying that the virus did not transmit from these animals. Which is NOT the case. The idiot of a reporter claims that catching a flying bat and then killing it and eating is better than the industrial processed solutions. Is it fresh? Yes. Is freshness all you need? No, what about hygiene? What about proper disinfection of the animal? What about some scientific testing of the implications of the consumption of such an animal?

    Does your normal wet market do that? No, which means it is not safe and should be shut down for good for the safety of chinese people and the world.

    Should a supermarket be allowed to do that? Yes, but only if these certain requirements are met and they pass the certain hygiene requirements. All products should be certified safe for consumption before even considering selling it for general consumption.

    So no, the WHO and UN should pressurise the local governments to close down these wet markets, not only in India. But all over the world.

    Also, please get rid of miss leading posts like this. You’re not doing any good, by misleading perceptions of your audience that this should be acceptable.

  35. It is hard time the worst is yet to come for these dragon to be dragged in the International court of Justice for the heinous crimes of spreading CONVID 19 world wide is equivalentt to mass murder & to be charged with hefty penalty.

  36. Bunch funny politicians in that country have empowered one ass…….to kill the whole world with crazy virus. The author seems being paid hefty amount to articulate the nonsense article on wet market of a stubborn country,no humanity,after killing so many people on there own and so on.

  37. Irrespective of any nationality the stupid gene will eventually die. It may take a few innocents along with it but it’s just evolution wait and see.

  38. Seems like the author is a paid Chinese CCP propaganda agent. Hello! The wet market is the breeding ground for those cross species viruses, be it SARS, Covid19 or the CCP virus as people are calling it, not just that, it has a distinct infamy of hosting multiple outbreaks of diseases across the globe. What a shame that the CCP haven’t learned a single lesson from this whole mess and shame on these people who peddle this kind of propaganda for Chinese money. Do you feel any shame in writing such propaganda when the whole world is facing a pandemic because of the very same wet market and eating exotic animals. Same on you.

    • Rahul Pandey : Superb reply . The writer seems to be paid Chinese agent . China must be pulled to International Court for genocide. Stop buying made in China goods as punishment to utter discard to global health .

  39. This is a ridiculous assumption. Every
    Outbreak of deadly diseases came from so called “wet markets.” Not to mention the incredible cruelty that the animals insure all of which brings about negative vibrations as Einstein stated “Any society which does not insist upon respect for all life must necessarily decay.”

  40. ban china and Chinese citizen entering other countries.. they will never learn unless dealt with a hard way. ass… they eat anything.. unless these people are banned they will not learn anything.. let them stay in china and there they can also eat their own shit.. ban them all over the world..

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