People’s Daily has officially weighed in on the South China Tiger brouhaha. From a commentary on November 22, excerpts translated by CDT:
…Until now,¬† the last card of [the South China Tiger controversy] has still not been played.¬†The media long ago pointed out vested interests behind this event: Zhengping County wanted to use the tiger to develop tourism, and the state will allocate a huge budget to build a South China Tiger reserve in this area [if the tiger exists].¬† But the public does not want to merely speculate, we want to turn over the last card to see what really is there.
…In the beginning, when the public questioned the authenticity of the tiger photo, it did not necessarily mean that our society has a crisis of public trust.¬† But during the process of the public proving the photo is fake, those who were involved in making or supporting this photo, especially the experts and authorities, whether they respect the truth or not, had everything to do with the crisis of public trust.¬†[Full text in Chinese]
For more on the South China Tiger story, see “Frontline Reporter Diary on South China Tiger Affair” translated by ESWN and “A fake confession about the fake tiger” from Danwei. See also more background from CDT.