By Li Qingqing Source: Global Times
CNN published a report on Friday titled “In authoritarian China, eating freely is a cherished activity. Now a food waste campaign wants to control meals, too.” The article linked China’s ongoing campaign to end food waste with China’s “growing surveillance,” accusing it of “another political limitation on their everyday lives.”
It is completely ridiculous to link China’s no food waste campaign with political limitation. China shoulders the important task of ensuring food security for 1.4 billion people. Launching the campaign is a reasonable and legitimate action responsible to all people.
Food security has been an important task for China. As the largest food consumer, China has always remained vigilant against food security risks. China enjoys a high level of self-sufficiency in grain supplies, especially in staple foods such as rice and wheat.
However, statistics show that China wastes about 50 million tons of grain annually, accounting for about one-thirteenth of the country’s total grain output. The shocking number is a major issue related to national food security. No country can withstand long-term squandering.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, locust plague and extreme weather, global food security is facing severe tests in 2020. This has made many people feel uncertainties. Although China has sufficient reserves of staple food, it still needs to be prepared for risks in times of peace and it is of great significance to stop food waste. However, even under such circumstances, some Western countries are still ignoring the objective facts, using the cliché of “political limitation” to smear China.
To prove China’s “surveillance,” CNN quoted a “social media commentator” who said “why should I be reported for things I bought with my own money?” comparing it to “political supervision during Mao’s era.” This is a typical Western perspective, smearing China and ignoring common sense. Some Chinese netizens mocked on social media: “Western media links everything, even eating, with freedom. Have they lost their minds?”
Individual’s waste of food is not only a waste of their own money, but also a waste of the whole society’s limited resources. China has resolved to retain at least 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land, while China has 1.4 billion people. The astonishing amount of waste is a destruction of the shared resources of the whole society, and stopping waste is to ensure food security for all Chinese people. This should be a consensus in any country. Comparing such justified protection to “political limitation” or even “surveillance” shows that some Western countries are still looking at China through a biased lens. This is also disrespect for the basic rights of Chinese people.
As a traditional agricultural country, China has successfully reached a historical high of summer grain output in 2020, withstanding the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security. This is a remarkable achievement and also a responsibility to Chinese people. Being prepared for possible risks and taking precautions is China’s wisdom, and it is also reflected in China’s policies. Some Western countries’ rash criticism only reflects their arrogance and ignorance.