CHINA TIMES (Taiwan), SOHU NEWS (China)
QINGHAI - Some say China is using up all of its innovative energy in inventing new ways of showing off. The latest status symbol has four legs and is open for some geopolitical interpretation: the Tibetan mastiff.
The China Times reports that as the numbers of luxurious villas multiply in the suburbs of major Chinese cities, the sturdy pure breed has become the favorite pet of China's nouveau riche. It is used for both guarding the house and a way of showing one's wealth and standing.
In the past two years, Qinghai, where China's largest saline lake is situated, has become the destination of choice for people looking for Tibetan mastiffs, according to the China Times. Compared to the mountaineous terrain of Tibet, Qinghai is warmer and easier to get to. Some might note the irony of the proliferation of the breed in the face of the longstanding conflict over the sovereignty of Tibet, and the 53 years of forced exile of the Tibetan people's leader, the Dalai Lama.
Still, for the striving classes in China, the focus is on other numbers: a three to four months old mountain dog is said to be worth of around half a million RMB ($78,000). Last year, a coal tycoon from northern China was reported to have paid the astronomical sum of 10 million RMB ($1.57 million) for a rare breed of the Tibetan mastiff.
Two years ago, a rich "princess' from Xian who paid four million for her giant pet, brought home her new domestic dog by plane, and made sure his arrival at the airport was registered by having 30 Mercedes Benz cars lined up to welcome the canine VIP. This aroused a lot of media coverage as well as plenty of Chinese netizens' disgust.
According to Sohu News, to adapt to the needs of this special animal which comes from a much colder climate, the young woman keeps it in an air-conditioned room and gives the animal ten bottles of mineral water each day to drink. "Gold has a price. But my dog is priceless," she said.