BEIJING — The chicken coop was empty Wednesday at the northern Beijing home of a man who gave only his surname, Bai. On a normal day, he sells 20 to 30 chickens from the wooden structure that faces the dusty street, putting aside money to buy an apartment in his native Sichuan.
But with the recent outbreak of bird flu in China, these are not normal days in the country’s chicken markets. Bai stopped selling birds after learning of the flu two weeks ago, and the only things in the front room of his ramshackle home are a freezer and some smoked pork hanging from the ceiling. A local official has come by to make sure he was closed.