Friday, August 26, 2011
An emotional battle over a traditional soup has split California's Chinese American community as environmental and animal welfare groups push the Legislature to ban the sale and possession of shark fins.
The bill passed the Assembly last month, 65-8, but is running into trouble in the Senate.
The fight has pitted influential Chinese American politicians against one another, some of whom are running for mayor of San Francisco. Chinese traders and restaurant owners have hired lobbyists to oppose a ban, and busloads of Chinatown residents have descended on the Capitol, saying that a ban would violate cultural custom.
Houston Rockets basketball star Yao Ming has joined other celebrities, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Scarlett Johansson, in public support of a ban. "Remember, when the buying stops, the killing can too," says Ming, in a YouTube video that shows him pushing away a bowl of soup.