A dead farm animal that floated across the sea from China to an island held by Taiwan has upset Taiwanese officials.

They are concerned because tests showed that the hog carried a disease that could affect the island’s pig farming industry.

The pig washed up on December 31 on Kinmen, a small island held by Taiwan.

Taiwanese officials want China to provide more information about the hog so officials can prevent the swine flu from spreading to Taiwan. 

Some experts consider the lack of communication as a sign that relations between the sides have worsened. Beijing would definitely first give Taiwan a heads up and say ‘here’s how things are.

Communist Party officials in mainland China are demanding that Taiwan agree that the two sides are a single country before talks can take place.

Swine flu a risk to Taiwan

Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that African swine flu could severely harm the island’s pig farming industry if it spread. That industry is valued at more than $2.5 billion.

Before the hog washed up on Kinmen, officials at Taiwan’s airports had already been increasing punishments for people who brought pig meat into the country.

Political tensions increase

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen discussed the incident in her New Year’s speech. She demanded that China provide more information.

“The other side’s government has never, according to agreements, given honest and timely reports on the outbreak to Taiwan,” she said.

In a message on Facebook, government spokesperson Kolas Yotaka questioned whether the second hog incident was a “biochemical bomb” from China.

Tsai’s party supports long-term self-rule from China. However, Chinese President Xi Jinping has said Taiwan must accept that Taiwan is part of China and the two must unify.

Mainland China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said last month that it does not need to provide information about animal health issues to the island. The office said that, under a 2010 agricultural inspection agreement between the two sides, Taiwan does not permit Chinese imports of pig meat.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


hog (n.) - a pig


heads up –interjection used to tell someone to pay attention for possible danger or a problem



Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.


  1. What has upset Taiwanese officials?
  2. What is the name of this desease?
  3. What is the value of swine industry in Taiwan?
  4. Why are there tensions between China and Taiwan?




Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

hog, heads up



Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions. 


  1. Why are deseases dangerous?
  2. Are you afraid of being infected?
  3. Have you ever been to a hospital?
  4. If you get infected, what do you need to do?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.