A FOOD blogger faces up to five years in prison after illegal cooking and eating a protected great white shark.
“It may look vicious, but its meat is truly super tender,” she says in the video, which sparked fury online.
In the video, Tizi, who has around eight million followers on the Chinese streaming channel Douyin, is seen collecting the six-foot shark at a seafood shop in the southwestern city of Nanchong in Sichuan province.
She unwraps the creature in front of a curious crowd, even lying down next to the shark to show its size in comparison to her.
The shark is sliced in half before its tale is barbecued and its head boiled in a spicy broth.
She then shared the food with local villagers who all raved about its taste.
On the video, posted July 14, she claimed that the shark was “edible” and “bred in captivity” – although this has been challenged by social media users, according to Thecover.cn.
Great white sharks typically mate only in the wild and take decades to reach sexual maturity.
The videos have since been taken down from Tizi’s account following the backlash.
One user of the Chinese social media platform Weibo said: “She literally eats anything to grab eyeballs. I was horrified when seeing her eat a crocodile tail once.”
Tizi quickly grew her online following thanks to a combination of her “sweet look” and “bold food choices,” the South China Morning Post reported.
Previously, she has shared other clips of herself eating exotic animals, including crocodiles and ostriches cooked in spices.
Police in Nanchong are investigating, according to the city’s agricultural and rural bureau, The Beijing News reports.
They have already determined that the animal was an endangered great white and not a hooktooth shark, as claimed by Tizi.
An official claimed the punishment could be more severe if the shark was a juvenile, as quoted in the Global Times.
She literally eats anything to grab eyeballs
Tizi faces up to five years in prison or criminal detention and a fine if found guilty of illegally purchasing rare and endangered wildlife products, Beijing lawyer Chang Yachun told the paper on Monday.
But if her crimes are particularly serious, she could be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison and also face fines or the confiscation of her property, the lawyer added.
Several people who allegedly acquired the shark from the eastern Chinese Fujian province have already been detained, Thecover reported.
It is claimed that the local shop which featured in Tizi’s video had nothing to do with the purchase of the shark, and was simply used as a location for shooting.
China is increasingly looking to crack down on the unlawful trade of animals for food and medicine in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
An editorial in the state-run news site The Paper reported on how difficult the logistics would have been to transport a two-metre shark from the coast to Nanchong, some 1,100 miles away.
“We must harshly crack down on the illegal hunting and trade of endangered wildlife and eliminate the criminal chain.”
However, a number of food bloggers in the country have turned to more and more extreme stunts to attract viewers.
Last year, a man from Hainan province was arrested after filming himself eating a giant triton, a protected sea snail.
In 2019, Chinese vlogger Sun died after eating live poisonous centipedes and lizards during his stream for a sick challenge.
Meanwhile, in 2017, a viral video star accidentally poisoned herself live on camera while “taste-testing” a toxic plant she had mistaken for aloe vera.
And also in 2019, another Chinese vlogger learnt the hard way after trying to eat a live octopus when it sucked onto her face during a stream.
Meanwhile, a Chinese influencer achieved worldwide notoriety when she filmed herself eating “bat soup” after being linked to the Covid outbreak in Wuhan.
A video of Wang Menyun munching on a fruit bat with chopsticks went viral after the beginning of the outbreak in 2020.