Chengdu-based artist Qi Hong poses with post-diet "Pig Resolute."
One of the most novel earthquake-survival stories to come out last year revolved around one Zhu Jianqiang (猪坚强).
"Zhu Jianqiang" translates to something like "Pig Resolute" or "Strong Pig," a fitting name for Zhu who is, well, a pig.
The pig was found alive under the ruins of a collapsed sty in Pengzhou found on June 17—five weeks after the 5.12 earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 humans. The pig had survived by drinking rainwater that had leaked into its close quarters, and by that time weighed in at 50 kilograms—one-third of its previous weight.
When Fan Jianchuan heard about the rapidly spreading story, he made an offer of 3,008 yuan to buy the pig from its owners, farmers who were raising the pig for pork. Fan, a real-estate mogul and owner of the privately funded Jianchuan Museum Cluster in Sichuan's Dayi County, renamed the pig and vowed to keep it as long as it stayed alive.
Then the story made its way across the country, and even overseas. PETA Asia-Pacific also awarded Fan Jianchuan with a Compassionate Action award
A local insurance firm issued the pig 10 years of premium-free insurance.
Then, a noted songwriter, Zhang Yunteng (张云腾) wrote a song about the pig and recorded it with singer Jin Bo (金波). Their friend collaborated to make the music video.
Noteworthy lyrics include (rough translation): "Your stomach is like a big silo, doesn't matter if it's good or bad, it all goes inside. You were born in a place called the Land of Abundance; if we had to choose a beauty, you're not really it, but when a disaster was sent from heaven, you created the miracle of life that is called Jianqiang." 《你的肚子吃得像个大粮仓,不管好的坏的都往里装。你生在叫天府之国的地方,如果去选美真的很不漂亮,可是当灾难突然从天降,你创造的生命奇迹叫坚强。》
But, reports Sina, having been lavished with so much doting attention—and plenty of food—the "porker can be quite a meany."
The pig has "gotten fatter and lazier by the day," one of its handlers told Sina. "We used to take it out for a walk every morning and afternoon, but now it's too lazy—and too fat—to do it." The pig eventually got so heavy that it was having trouble standing; it's now on a diet.
While Jianqiang Pig used to raise its head for visitors and reporters, the handler reported, after several months it started refusing to cooperate. "Now it just blocks the door to its bedroom when there are too many visitors outside. It's been increasingly difficult for us to convince it to open the door," she said.
Reporters are having a field day with headlines about the "rock-star" pig, such as this one, which reads "Pig Jianqiang: Being a celebrity is difficult; being a celebrity pig also isn't easy."
While the daily walks and dieting might help with the pig's weight and attitude, a new pig-mansion donated by Chengdu's Baisikang Biotech Company indicates the pig still maintains celebrity status. The climate-controlled sty features special flooring designed to decrease odor.
After all, the museum's director told the China Daily, "She's not just a pig. She's a hero."