Flood of dead pigs, trickle of answers in China

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BEIJING — The pig carcasses — about 14,000 of them — have been floating down rivers that feed into Shanghai for nearly two weeks. The city’s residents have been told not to worry, and not much else.

Except for pig tallies by Shanghai authorities and one late-night news conference by a local official in nearby Zhejiang province, where the pigs are suspected to originate, no top official and no head of any government agency dealing with the environment, health or agriculture has made any public comment.

Where the pigs came from, how they died and why they showed up in the river system that supplies drinking water to a city of 23 million has not been explained. Officials have told residents their drinking water is safe, while authorities have censored microblog posts suggesting that the public organize peaceful protests.

Authorities have retrieved at least 13,996 dead pigs as of today, and have released daily bulletins saying drinking water in Shanghai remains within standards.

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