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China: Bankrupt ant farmers prepare to protest

Shenyang was mobbed today with furious ex-ant farmers, former employees of Yilishen, a media darling and one of China's most well-known brands in the health supplement market, as the company has just closed, taking the huge amounts its peasant-class employees had invested with it. The city's ant farming industry is no stranger to controversy, and neither is the company. Blog posts on the subject were quickly deleted, including most of the ones below, but a larger mass action remains scheduled for November 21.

[Nov. 22 update (futher updates below): video is trickling out, and bloggers are rushing to save it before it gets deleted like this 56.com clip which was posted at 11am today and received 37 pages of comments before it was taken down just after 3pm. Here's one from Ku6 user Muxiwen:]


And a slideshow from 56.com's Yu Jian entitled ‘The biggest post-Liberation riot in Shenyang since the Cultural Revolution‘, hopefully simulating the video he had deleted yesterday:



NetEase blogger ‘Heartbreak leaves no scars’ relates to the incident through a November 18 post recounting a phone call with a friend that lost nearly all of her savings, ‘hurt is a kind of unspeakable pain’:

今天,姐打来电话,声音很是无力与沮丧。她告诉我‘小妹,蚁力神完了,姐的希望破灭了!我手握听筒,竟一时语噻。我找不到更动听的语言来安慰姐姐。面对姐二,三十万的投资转瞬间即将成为泡影的现实,我那几句华丽,肤浅的劝慰,是不是太显苍白无力?要知道,对于一个依靠月工资收入的普通人家,一点一滴的积蓄都是从牙缝省下来的,那是姐几十年的心血啊!孤注一掷之后,有多宽的心态,才能再付之东流时,笑着说我无所谓?我体会得到姐的心情,但我却望尘莫及,时至今日,我唯有在心里对姐说;姐,挺住!不管你即将面对的是怎样的一种结局,也许这几十万血本无归,也许你的损失会最大限度的降低,这已经都不重要。看看你拥有的现在,最起码儿女都已成人,不用你操心;最起码你跟姐夫加起来的退休金也有四千来块;最起码你们已年届六旬,却还身子骨硬朗!。。。。。。姐,看看你身边可以顺手拈来的幸福,那些身外之物还重要吗?

One of my sisters gave me a call today, and her voice was really weak and gloomy. She said to me, ‘lil’ sis, Yilishen is done in for, your sis’ hopes have been smashed! I gripped the receiver with my hand and held back a sigh. I couldn't find anything pleasant to say to comfort sis. Faced with the reality of sis’ two or three hundred thousand going down the drain just like that, my few flowery, superficial words of consolation, could they have sounded too limp, too weak? Because you know, for a normal person just getting by on a monthly wage, every little bit put away is like a tooth being pulled out. That was ten years of my sis’ pain and effort! When you place all your money on one bet, how broad-minded would you need to be, when it all went down the drain, to just laugh and say you didn't care? I can feel what sis is feeling right now, but then I have nothing to compare it to. Until now, the only thing I can think of to say to her is: Sis, pull through! No matter what sort of ending you wind up left faced with, whether those several hundred thousand of your hard-earned yuan never come back, or if your losses will mostly be minimized, none of that is important now. Look at what you have now, at least your children have already grown up, you don't need to worry about them; at least your pension combined with your husband's will be four thousand yuan a month; at least the two of you are already over sixty, and still going strong!……..sis, look around you at all the happiness within your reach, and do those worldly possessions still seem important?

Baidu blogger dayongcom also shares a conversation with a friend in an earlier post dated Nov. 16, ‘Risk, risk…’:

今天和一个当蚁力神养户的朋友聊了一会,他的心情比我差多了,可以说他都要疯了!听他说话显的非常激动。他真是一个什么家当都没有的人,他母亲在他小时候就没了,父亲常年有病,活着时候政府还给他家办了个“特困”三年前他父亲也没了,“特困”待遇也没了。随后住的平房也动迁了,好象政府是给了八万多块钱,也不够买个房子的。后来又找了个离过婚的女人处对象,一直和对象到处租房子住。他对象当售货员,女人工作还好找点,要学历没学历要长相没长相的男人可就不好混了,他以前还有点前科啥地,只能找地方打个短工干两天。动迁给的那点钱除了生活用点外今年五月都投在了蚁力神上,返回的那点钱又凑合一下接着投了进去~~~~今年10月份竟然开始不返钱了!而且一托再托,转眼又托到11月21日了~~~~现在蚁力神公司动向不明对他来说简直就是折磨!这点钱在有的人眼里看虽然不多,但这是他全部家当和对未来的希望啊!这要是出点差错他以后会怎样面对生活?我真不敢想!我除了安慰他两句之外啥办法也没有,还是祝他好运吧。怎么现在这社会明目张胆的骗子这么多??真是明目张胆的开玩,ZF睁一只眼闭一只眼任其发展壮大。。。现在蚁力神动态不明,要是再定性非法融资后辽宁不得被全国人说成骗子省啊!这社会陷阱多啊,有些人掉下去几回没事,但有的人掉下去后果可非常严重!

Today I had a chat with one friend who's an ant farmer for Yilishen, and he was an even worse mood than I was; you could say he was about to go nuts! Listening to him speak, he's obviously extremely agitated. He really is someone who truly has nothing; he lost his mother when he was still young, and his father was sick year-round, while his father was still alive the government even gave his family ‘special difficulty’ status, but then three years ago he lost his father too. Then the old house he lived in was relocated, I think the government gave him eighty thousand yuan, not enough to buy a new house. From there he started dating a divorced woman, and was living with her all over the place in different rented flats. She was a sales assistant, and women have an easier time finding work; for all the jobs that required higher education, there were always jobs that just went for looks; for a guy who didn't have the looks, he didn't get by so well. And he had a criminal record from somewhere, so the only thing he could find were little two-day gigs here and there. From the money he got for the relocation, except for the bit he used on living expenses, this May he put it all into Yilishen, and made do with what little he got back….then in October this year he suddenly stopped getting any back! They kept giving him the runaround, right up until November 21…..now with it not being clear where Yilishen Co. is headed, for him, is pure torture! Some people might not see that bit of money as much, it's all he has, and it's his hope for the future… if anything goes wrong with it, how's he gonna live from now on? I don't even dare imagine! Except for consoling him with a few words, there's nothing else I can do, just wish him good luck. How could there be so many brazen fraudsters in today's society?? It's just plain-out playing people, and the government just keeps one eye closed and with the other, lets these things go on…Now it's not clear where Yilishen is headed. If it gets stuck again with illegal financing, the whole country will start calling Liaoning a province of swindlers! So many pitfalls in this society…some people can fall flat a few times and still be okay. But there are others who, when they fall, face serious consequences!

‘How many ants, how much worry?’ asks NetEase blogger Begging in Paradise in a Nov. 20 post:

“蚁力神”不神了,王凤友不灵了.天玺集团大厦将倾.日前养殖业户最为关注最为敏感的话题莫过于此.千千万万家养殖” 黑多刺蚂蚁”的人们最为担心的事终于发生了.

此时此刻同情是没有丝毫作用的,我只能在心底深深地 那些” 黑多刺蚂蚁”的养殖业户,遭遇了这很残酷的事实.几多蚂蚁,基多愁!我感同身受,天庸讳言,这是个难以忍受的煎熬的时段.
….
近日耳闻王凤友的”天玺集团”资金运作出现危机时,在大家的猜测与冷静的分析中得出结论,恐怕每天都在一堵窟窿的王凤友其实活得非常沉重,比谁都累!一个人如果过着拆东墙补西墙的日子,那简直是一种无情而可怕的生活.

我们拭目以待,静看事态的发展

“Ant Power” has lost its power, and [Yilishen CEO] Wang Fengyou has lost his groove. Tianxi Group Tower is about to fall. And for the past few days, the ant farmers have been paying attention to nothing but this. What tens of thousands of black ant farmers most feared has now finally happened.

At this point in time, sympathy is of absolutely no use to me, I can only look deep inside myself….those black ant farmers have been met with a most cruel truth. How many ants? How much worry! I fully sympathize, and there's no need to keep silent. This is a hard, tormenting moment to endure.

Recently the word has been that Wang Fengyou's “Tianxi Group” has been running on dangerously low funds, and the conclusion of people's speculation and calm analysis has led them to fear daily that Wang Fengyou is in the hole, and actually getting by with the utmost difficulty, more exhausted than anyone! Anyone who only gets by by tearing the bricks off the east wall just to build the west wall, simply must have a cold and terrible life.

We can only wait and see what happens, and calmly watch how the situation develops.

Not gently, judging from the photos NetEase blogger Diadora posted on the evening of Nov. 20:

蚁力神养户围堵市委,省委,声势浩大!有上万之众.来自本溪\辽阳\大连\鞍山等地.现省委已调派大量的防爆警察,周边的警力均已出动!!!

Yilishen ant farmers surround the municipal and provincial Party committee building, showing their might! There were over ten thousand gathered, from Benxi, Liaoyang, Dalian, Anshan and other places. The provincial Party committee had already sent out large numbers of riot police, and the surrounding police forces have already moved in!!!

Calmly is not how most people seem to have reacted. From an anonymous and unsympathetic poster with an alleged semi-insider's view, writing on the ChinaByte forum:

蚁力神终于TMD的倒闭了:蚁力神倒闭,养殖户血本无归!

Yilishen finally f*****g closed down: farmers don't get any of their hard-earned money back!

坑害了多少农民阿。。。。。
两年前我家就在养,周围邻居亲属都在养。。。。
赵本山还在拍摄的流行连续剧《刘老根》里帮蚁力神做广告,这些全栽进去了。。。。

How many peasants got trapped into this…..?
Two years ago my family was farming, and so were all the neighbors and relatives around us….
Zhao Benshan is still filming his popular sitcom Liu Laogen and using it to do ads for Yilishen…


[Frequently seen on Chinese television]

蚁力神走到今天是一个必然的结局.本人在蚁力神做过一年多的分公司经理,当时想不明白,为什么产品卖的不好,各个分公司都陪钱,而蚁力神还象没什么事一样,对外鼓吹大发展呢?后来明白了,是为了让辽宁城乡的人都对蚁力神放心,让他们掏腰包养蚂蚁.可是这种借来的高利贷钱迟早是要还的,蚁力神想到了去香港上市,可惜,”伟哥”事件又把这件事情毁了.如果2004年上市成功.能募集到14亿资金,蚁力神就可以从养蚂蚁集资的事情里脱离出来,只是,人算不如天算.这时候蚁力神已经没有退路,只能继续扩大养殖户,用后面人的钱还前面人的钱.本来这样的事情不太好做的长久,但是在蚁力神公司的大力运做下,在政府的默许和媒体的推波助澜下,在无知人们认为天上掉馅饼的情况下,蚁力神走到了今

It was inevitable that Yilishen would end up here today. I worked as a manager for Yilishen for a bit more than a year, and at the time I could just not figure out why the products sold so poorly; every branch office was in debt, but yet Yilishen seemed like everything was fine, boasting around of its strong earnings. Later on I realized, it was all to keep the people in Liaoning's urban and rural areas at ease about Yilishen, to keep them digging up money to farm more ants. But this kind of spending on high-interest loan has to be paid back sooner or later, and Yilishen even had plans to list on the Hong Kong market, but then the “Viagra” incident came along and ruined that. If they'd succeeded at listing on the market in 2004, Yilishen would've been granted a 1.4 billion RMB loan and been able to leave the problem of funding ant farming behind. Only, man cannot outwit fate, and by that time Yilishen was already unable to back out, could only continue expanding its numbers of farmers, using later buyer-ins’ money to pay back original farmers. Normally something like this wouldn't work in the long-term, but with the Yilishen Co.'s efforts, the government's acquiescence, the media keeping the ball rolling, and ignorant people thinking a pie'd just fallen from the sky, Yilishen ended up where it is today.

很多人怨恨,埋怨,其实这一切都是你自己的无知造成的.当然政府和媒体也有责任,你又能把他们怎么样?只有自己提高警惕和认识才能少上当和不上当.
蚁力神也知道自己要做的是稳定人心,只要大家都认为他没事,蚁力神就会存在的长久些但是他们一定是数学学的不好,这是需要按几何方式有人加入才能维持下去的事实,是不可能实现的目标,今天终于停摆了.我为那些后来的加入者祈祷!

Many people are spiteful and complaining, but actually in your ignorance you did all of this to yourselves. Of course the government and media have responsibility as well, but what are you going to do to them? Only raising your awareness will lessen your chances of or stop you from getting duped at all. Yilishen knew that it wanted to keep the feelings of the people stable; just as long as the people felt that nothing was wrong at Yilishen, and they could keep going like this on the long-term. But they mustn't have studied math very well, the reality was that they would have needed exponential growth to keep on going, and this was an unattainable target. Today it finally came to a halt. I pray for those who've just gotten in!

Both alarming and inspiring is the wiki that someone has set up just to keep track of how the larger protest proceeds; an excerpt:

蚁力神要是破产 政府就是罪魁祸首! 一个经营了8年的公司 那么多荣誉那么多光环!明明知道公司的存亡关系到上百万老百姓的死活,政府为什么不帮助蚁力神渡过难关! 明明知道多少人家破人忙 政府完全不顾我们死活! 政府根本就不想扶植蚁力神!任其自生自灭,是政府喝了我们的血!现在还要我们的命!!!!!! 今天打人的警察,我记下了他的警号115951 老爷们明天都带上白酒御寒 到时候坐在省委门口边喝边研究 喝多了就他妈的闹反正都到绝路了,有时间的明天都去,别再家等现成的了,都是我们自己的事情。 没别的办法了.能看见我说的这句话的人都尽最大的能力去沈阳了,也就只剩下去沈阳的这条道了,如果说现在还在想着在家里等的话,那就都别想拿到钱了 现在的情况我想大家都知道,现在就是不怕事闹大就怕事闹小,现在政府都把消息封闭了,

If Yilishen goes bankrupt, then the government will have been an accomplice! For a company that's been in operation for eight years, so much honor, so many blessings! Clearly the company's survival is directly connected to whether several million people live or die, so why doesn't the government help Yilishen pull through?! It's evident how many families stand to be split with everything lost, but the government pays no attention to whether we live or die! The government never intended to support Yilishen! By allowing it to perish on its own, the government is drinking our blood! Now they want our lives too!!!!!! The cop that hit someone today, I got his badge number down, 115951. Dudes, bring your baijiu tomorrow to fight off the cold. When we get to the provincial Party committee building, we can sit and make plans. If we drink too much then we'll fucking rip, we're all in a corner anyhow. Whoever has time tomorrow, come down, don't just sit at home and wait, this is your problem too. There is no other option. Whoever sees what I'm saying here, do everything you can to get to Shenyang, coming to Shenyang is the only road we have left. If you're saying you just want to wait at home, don't bother thinking that you'll get your money back…I think everyone pretty much knows what the situation is now, that we're not afraid of making this too big…we're afraid of making it too small. Now the government has killed all the news…

40多天啦,相信大家都是在极度的紧张中度过的,我们担惊受怕这么多天现在还是在拖我们养护,我们决不能妥协拉,yls从不返钱开始就有政府在参与(因为媒体和网络都在封锁蚁力神的消息,所以只能是政府参与在这里才会出现这种情况),政府想让我们养护受到损失是不肯能的,我们大家一定要齐心协力把我们的血汗钱要回来,明天大家都要去,这个事情不搞大,不引起社会各界的关注,我们就什么都得不到拉,不能让政府不能让yls这么对待我们养护,群里有资料(大家多多收集)我们大家多向外界媒体,新闻评论,国外网站,各国大使馆,南方的一些新闻媒体等反映,特别是网络流量比较大的社区(猫扑,搜狐,新浪,中华网,中青网等等),我们大家有相机的,都摄像机的都拿着,把政府的丑恶嘴脸记录下来,我们大家一定要齐心,不要持观望态度,钱都没有啦,以后也过部下去啦,还怕什么呢,如果不还我们的血汗钱,奥运会就别想开啦!!!!!!!!

Forty days! I believe everyone has spent them in an extremely nervous state; we've been anxious for so many days already, and now they're still dragging us farmers along. We absolutely must not compromise; Yilishen never gives money back. From the beginning the government was involved (because the media and internet have all been blocking news about Yilishen, and it's only when the government is involved that this kind of situation can occur). The government wants us farmers to take the losses, this is out of the question. All of us must work together to get our hard-earned money back. Everyone has to come out tomorrow; if we don't make this big enough, if we don't draw enough attention from different parts of society, we don't get anything! We can't let the government not make Yilishen deal with us farmers; the information is in the [QQ?] group (everyone gather more). Everyone needs to let more outside media, news commentary, foreign websites and some news media in the south know about this, especially those big internet forums with heavy traffic (Mop, Sohu, Sina, ChinaNet, CYD, etc.). We all have cameras, video cameras, so bring them and record the government's ugly side. Everybody must work together, don't just sit on the fence and watch or we'll lose our money, and we'll have no way to go on! So what are you afraid of? If they don't give us back our hard-earned money, they better not even think of holding the Olympics!!!!!!!!!!!

Videos posted on several Chinese video sharing websites show a talk Yilishen president Wang Fengyou gave recently under what appears to be heavy police protection; in the comments left below this video, one reader estimates 5,000-6,000 people showed up at the Liaoning province Party committee hall on November 20. Many comments now following that are death threats aimed at Wang timed for Nov. 21, when the first main protest is set to take place:
Update: The video above has been taken down, but there are more. This video from Youku user Angel Bu lists a QQ group for ant farmers to discuss their plight in the comments, as do videos put up by user kefe1:


Update, Nov. 21, 3pm:
MSN Live Spaces blogger YoungDan68 writes this afternoon of trying last night to take the baby home for a diaper change and finding his road completely shut off and himself remains unable to return home for the moment.

Also this afternoon are several photos taken yesterday and today from Ycul blogger Wen Xuan, who writes that ant farmers began gathering at the Yilishen HQ, which has since been taken over by the People's Armed Police, around 10 am on Nov. 19, creating a very chaotic scene wherein no-one it seems was hurt. Today, Nov.21, she writes, about 10,000 people had gathered at the provincial Party committee hall by around 1:30 pm:

Update2, Nov. 21, 10pm:
Same old whack-a-mole approach; information surrounding what's going on in Shenyang keeps getting deleted at a rate just a little bit faster than bloggers are able to spread it around(forgot to take into account that Bullog is back, see links in Chinese below). Ycul's Wen Xuan (see above) is back with another post. She asks:

为什么会有这么多人陷入?这样一个显而易见的谎言为何会延续如此之长?敬请关注近期出版的成都传媒集团,先锋中国《调查》深度报道《蚁力神,150亿集资背后的疯狂!》
How could so many people get caught up in this? How could such an obvious lie propagate as long as it has? I'd ask you to check out the recently published investigative report from Vanguard China's “Investigation”, “Yilishen, the insanity behind the 15 billion raised!” put out by Chengdu Media Group.

Some interesting information is being collected on the Beijing DVD bbs; among what can now been seen there is background to how Yilishen products ended up being banned in the USA, an explanation of how Yilishen outsources its bee-raising needs, and enough statistics to make a newspaper editor quit drinking coffee; a short example:

目前蚁力神养殖专业户的年发展速度已经超过40%,在册养殖专业户的数量为27 万户,平均每户投入资金4.2 万元,总金额上百亿元,涉及到的家庭人口100 万

Yilishen's cultivation professionals’ annual rate of growth is at present over 40%, with over 270,000 ‘cultivation professionals’ listed, with an average investment of 42,000 RMB each, for a total over over 10 billion RMB, affecting over 100,000 people.

The Free China blogger at MSN Live Spaces posted some photos just before noon today:

The Aboluowang blogger has added a few others:

And even more can be found, for now, at the Yilishen8 blog hosted by NetEase:



Update, Nov. 2223:
最近消息 (latest news):
谁用谁知道? (Wang Xiaofeng!)
沈阳市中心连续3天发生示威事件:陷入一片混乱
[1510报童] (1510!)
蚁—力—神怎么了?为什么消息会被封锁?(Mop)
sogou真不是盖的!人家那搜索技术……
沈阳蚁力神事件照片综合 (photo slideshow round-up, and this blog has been on top of the story)
[G2G] Re: “蚁力神”被和谐了!!!
蚁力神咋回事?
蚂蚁
‘Natural’ viagra arouses farmers’ anger
超级链接综合 Comprehensive round-up
“蚁力神”神话的破灭
11.20辽宁省沈阳市爆发大规模示威,数万人聚集省委省政府,沈阳全部警力出动。(苹果日报)
谁愿意去沈阳越俎代庖报道蚁力神养殖户的相关情况? Who's willing to go to Shenyang and poke around to find out and report on the ant farmers’ situation? (Zola!)
新纪录 A new record (of deletion) (He Caitou!)
沈阳万人抗议“蚁力神”欺诈 包围省府 Ten thousand Shenyangers protest the Yilishen scam, surround the provincial government
中国速度 ChinaSpeed
蚁力神到底怎么了 Just what did Yilishen do?
蚁力神王奉友是否被抓的最新消息 The latest news on whether or not Yilishen CEO Wang Fenyou has been arrested
蚁力神倒塌,沈阳蚁农暴动 Yilishen collapses, Shenyang's ant farmers revolt
一个天大的赌局该收场了 One astronomical gamble ends badly
蚁力神的事情 Yilishen's affairs
蚁力神功能性灭绝 Yilishen's effectiveness has evaporated
谁封谁知道 Who's deleting, no-one knows (a pun on the Yilishen product slogan, ‘who's using it, no-one knows) (Buchong!)
赵本山葛优,蚂蚁上树 The ants are marching up the tree upon which Zhao Benshan sits (Han Han!)
搜集关于沈阳事件的现场图片文字 A collection of photos and writings from the scene of the Shenyang Incident (Beifeng!)

沈阳天玺集团的官商诈骗案:

沈阳天玺集团多年来以高额回报的承诺,同数十万名养殖户签订合同收购“拟黑多刺蚂蚁”,用于生产一种叫“蚁力神”的保健食品。近月,天玺集团突然中断收购,也没有依照还款计划分期支付投资回报,还传出公司已经破产、高层出逃的消息。大陆互联网的消息说,数万名投资者星期二从四面八方涌到天玺集团在沈阳的总部示威,又到辽宁省委抗议,数千公安武警严阵以待,气氛非常紧张。记者星期三打电话到辽宁省委了解情况,没有人接听电话。记者又向天玺集团所在地的皇姑区公安分局了解:

记者:蚁力神的投资者几万人到省委反映情况要求解决投资款的问题,有这事吗?

警员:这我不能告诉你,我不接受采访。

而知情人士星期三晚向记者表示,投资者还聚集在省委大门外:

知情人士:示威者今天还在请愿,一部分在蚁力神公司总部,一部分在省委外。那天我听他们说省委那边封了路过不去了。现在好象没有听说官方正式表态发言要解决这件事。示威者相互在劝不要冲动,只要要回钱就行了。我没看到这两天发生了冲突,流血之类的事,也没听说抓人。

记者:蚁力神是不是中止了向养殖户收购蚂蚁?

知情人士:现在比较确切的说是没有返钱(给高额劳务费)。原来说十月份应该返钱的,然后推到了这个月,今天(星期三)要返钱的,现在又推到要下个月才返钱。出了什么问题天玺公司至今没有一个正式的说法。

蚁力神系列产品,根据其广告,是从中国特产的“拟黑多刺蚂蚁”体内提取特殊营养制成。由于“拟黑多刺蚂蚁”是主要原料,天玺集团与养殖户协议,养殖户以万元为单位向集团购买养殖装置,养成后高价卖给集团。虽然天玺集团自称蚁力神保健食品营养丰富、固本培元,但是产品是否具有那么强的功效一直存疑。而年销售额仅一亿多元人民币,也使得集团也从难以说明其资金回报的来源。

不过,天玺集团拥有商务部首批直销牌照,媒体不断地宣传它的合法性,公司总经理王奉友是全国商会副主席,在春节联欢晚会上亮相,被称为慈善家。因此,经营八年来,投资的养殖户数十万人,涉及资金难以计算。

二零零四年,美国食品与药品管理局向美国的消费者建议不要服用天玺集团的蚁力神产品因为该产品含有治疗阳萎的药物伟哥的成分,大陆也有一两家媒体披露:加了伟哥的产品好使,不加的不好使。此后,天玺集团的财务状况每况愈下。养殖户纷纷质疑,集团真正的目的是收取养殖户的抵押金,用后加盟养殖户的抵押金给先加盟的养殖户,以骗取更多人投资加盟。

星期二开始的上访请愿开始后,大陆互联网上有关蚁力神的讨论和示威讯息被官方大幅删除。知情人士说:

知情人士:网站上看不到相关消息了,我是进入养殖户的QQ群里才看到相关消息的,养殖户就是用这种方式联系的,而且很多QQ群被封了,不能发言了。

More from ESWN:

Once upon a time, there came along a company named Yilishen (蟻力神) in China. The company sells health and food products that derived from ants. But how does the company ensure that it gets an adequate supply of ants from which to extract the ingredients required for their products?

Yilishen actually used the well-known behavior of ants by recruiting massive numbers of ant farmers. Each ant farmer signs up with the company with an initial fee of 10,000 yuan, and then he gets supplied with the company ant-breeding equipment. The ant farmer gets paid for the number of ants produced at a price that ensures him a good profit if he meets the quota. Hundreds of thousands of people sign up.

The ability of the company to pay the ant farmers requires that enough of the ant-based products are being sold. If the sales exceeds the supply, all is well. If the sales is lower than the supply, it is hell to pay.

Recently, Yilishen suddenly discontinued buying from the the ant farmers as well as the payments. The rumor was that the company was bankrupt and the senior company officials have esconded. Several tens of thousands ant farmers converged to the company headquarters in Shenyang to protest without effect. So last night, the protestors switched their target and surrounded the Liaoning provincial party committee's office and broke through the police cordon to wave banners and chant slogan. The police are on full alert. Meanwhile, all discussions about Yilishen and the demonstrations have been disappeared from the mainland Chinese Internet.

131 comments

  • Thank you John for translating these posts before they disappeared.

    Do ants soaked in tea really help against arthritis? I was never aware that ants were farmed.

    Good luck to the farmers!

  • Mark

    This is gonna be the most seriouse incident ever happened in China. Hundreds of thousands of common people in Liaoning have invested billions of their entire saving onto this alleged fortune legend. I am not sure whether the boss Mr.Wang Fengyou could make it, but I pray it for God, blessing all those innocent people get their money back, please. Otherwise there’ll be a huge number of tragedies take place throughout whole Liaoning Province even northeast China. Hope local/central government could do something instead of killing all the related info on web.

    God bless our people!!

  • 到此一游…操~~
    [Just passing through…f***~~]

  • 过客

    从牛博国际上看到几张图片,搜索过来(消息都封锁了,能搜到的东西很少,有用的就更少了,只能看一些快照,谷歌更干脆,直接来个“无法访问您所搜索的信”),翻旧帖的过程中,发现兔子王和老黑在一年多前就开始揭露蚁力神非法集资的真相了,好像哪会相信的人不多,现在终于应验了,可是已经有了那么多的养户,后果真的不敢想。
    [I saw a few photos on Bullog Int’l, and searched my way here (all news has been shut down, very few things can be found now, even less of anything useful, just a bit that’s been cached, but Google.cn just freezes, comes right back with a “the item you are searching for cannot be found”), and while I was searching through old posts, I noticed that the Rabbit King and Old Black had begun exposing the truth that Yilishen had begun illegally raising funds over a year ago. It seems not many people believed them then, but now it’s all come true, only for all those farmers, I don’t dare think of what the consequences have been…]

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  • Thanks Solana. I don’t know how effective Yilishen’s products are…it seems a lot of people see the name and think ‘soft viagra,’ or something like that.

    @Mark, couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve read conflicting reports today, one batch saying that the government has just committed itself to minimizing the ant-farmers’ losses, and others saying that the government has wiped its hands clean of the whole affair, saying it has nothing to do with Yilishen (contrary to what many believe), and thus no responsibility to dig it or the people left desperate out of the hole they are in. Anyone reading from Shenyang who has a clearer idea of what’s going on..?

  • 就是一个不靠谱的东西啊,老百姓啊……
    [This is just totally not cool. The common people, aye….]

  • 山大王

    早几年看广告我就觉得是忽悠人 中国目前的保健品市场是架构在暴利与谎言的榨血机器 一边引诱那些被贫穷折磨的抬不起头看天张不开嘴喘气的低层人民掏空心血来购买发财的养殖品 一边以十数倍的本利差价卖给那些有病治不好于是不得不偏信广告虚假宣传的可怜国人
    这个事件是中国无序而混乱的保健市场的揭示 如果政府不对此严加管制 还会有更多的百姓血泪空流 会有更多的群情激愤!
    也许早就有了 只是我们的耳朵和眼睛都被蒙着
    [When I first saw tv commercial a few years ago, I just thought they were pulling one over on people…..China’s health supplement market at present is built on a blood-squeezing contraption of violence and lies. On one hand seducing those people on the bottom rungs so tortured by poverty they can’t lift their heads even to look at the sky or gasp for a breath of air into digging dry their blood-and-tears-earned money to the cultivation product that’s gonna make them rich, at the same time putting out false ads to market your product, selling it at ten times the original price to those poor people who it will never cure
    This incident just reveals how disorderly and chaotic China’s health supplement market is…if the government doesn’t strengthen supervision, the blood and sweat of a whole lot more people is going to flow, and there will be even more mob fury!
    Maybe there has been for a long time…only our ears and eyes have been sealed shut.]

  • […] 点此链接进 (国内相关站点已全部封闭。globalvoicesonline暂时还能打开。) […]

  • 服了,连外国人都发言了,好啊,世界都知道了,好,不知道你人看没看见啊
    [No way, even foreigners are onto this…great! The world knows, good. I didn’t know you all would see this…]

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