Twenty years ago, there were hardly any dogs in Beijing, and the few that were here stood a chance of landing on a dinner plate. It remains possible even today to find dog-meat dishes here. But it is far easier to find dog-treat stores, dog Web sites, dog social networks, dog swimming pools — even, for a time recently, a bring-your-dog cinema and a bring-your-dog bar on Beijing’s downtown nightclub row.
All that and, Beijing officials say, 900,000 dogs as well, their numbers growing 10 percent a year. And those are the registered ones. Countless thousands of others are unlicensed.
How this came to be is, in some ways, the story of modern China as well.