Engorged with more heavy rains, China’s mighty Yangtze River is cresting again, bringing fears of further destruction as seasonal floods have caused pain to over 40 million people.
Since early June, the Yangtze River basin in the southern part of China has been hard hit by heavy flooding. Hundreds of the basin’s small to medium-size rivers, as well as major lakes including the Dongting, Poyang and Tai, have risen to their highest levels in history.
While millions are losing their homes and expecting a great famine, none of the seven members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership has shown any mercy by inspecting the floods-affected provinces or regions or directing the rescue efforts.
The CCP has long claimed it represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. But at the time when the Chinese people are suffering from disasters like the floods and famine of this year, all members of the CCP leadership have hidden in summer resorts in different parts of the country.
Party General Secretary Xi Jinping did not make his appearance for nearly a month until this Wednesday when he traveled to the North East.
According to Xinhua, Chinese President Xi Jinping inspected the Aviation University of the Air Force in the northeastern province of Jilin on Thursday, in the run-up to China’s Army Day.
Xinhua says President Xi “stressed the need to keep up with the global trends of a new military revolution, be better prepared for emerging fields, conduct work in frontier disciplines and the training of new types of talent, while accelerating the incubation and generation of new combat capabilities.”
Under international pressure, Xi has called for the army to defend the great mission of the Chinese Communist Party and be prepared for war.
Xi stressed strengthening research into unmanned combat, enhancing drone education as a discipline, stepping up training in real combat conditions, and cultivating professionals who can use drones and take command in such warfare, according to Xinhua.
Although President Xi made no comments of the floods and destruction in the south, it is interesting to note that Xinhua published Xi’s quotes on the same day entilted “Xi Jinping on food safety” as follows:
Chinese President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to food security. He has spoken of the issue on many occasions. The following are some highlights of his remarks.
— Effective measures must be taken to protect black soil.
— We must ensure China’s food security so that we always have control over our own food supply.
— The more risks and challenges we face, the more we need to stabilize agriculture and ensure the safety of grain and major non-staple foods.
— Food safety is an important foundation of national security. We need to innovate in food production, optimize production technology, implement all supportive policies, protect farmers’ enthusiasm for their work, and improve the income from food production.
— The northeastern region is a key industrial and agricultural base of the country. It plays a very important strategic role in safeguarding national defense security, food security, ecological security, energy security, and industrial security.
— Grain production, with farmland as the fundamental element, is supported by water conservancy systems, facilitated by science and technology, and driven forward by policies. Issues relating to these key points must be addressed earnestly and properly to attain breakthroughs in grain production.
— Ensuring food security is always a top issue that concerns national development and people’s wellbeing. It is imperative to study and improve food security policies, take production capacity building as a fundamental task, and tap potential of grain production from farmland and technology.
From these quotes of Xi, we can see China is facing a serious problem in the food supply as a result of the floods in the southern provinces along the Yangzte River.
How serious is the situation? We have a report from “China Observers” as follows:
Since late May, southern China has been experiencing heavy rainfall, with floods occurring in more than 20 provinces.
According to China’s official statistics, as of July 12, a total of 27 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions were affected by the disaster, with an area of 8.8 million acres of crops affected, including the production of major grain crops, such as rice, wheat, and corn. In the first half of this year, hailstorms, forest fires, earthquakes, droughts, freezing temperatures, and snowstorms have caused 15.24 million acres of damages to crops, making it as much as 9% of China’s total harvest area.
With no signs of an end to the flooding or other natural disasters, people are worried about whether China will have a food crisis. While southern China is suffering from floods, western China has experienced a drought.
According to the Chinese state media, China News, since mid-June, some parts of Xinjiang have suffered from low rainfall and dry weather. In order to ensure the supply of food rations in years of famine, the Chinese government has built many food reserves. According to data, China has built grain storage warehouses with a capacity up to 670 million tons. So, can Chinese citizens then use the food reserves to survive a possible famine?
It is interesting to note that over the past many years, every time the Chinese State Council has issued a notice to inventory the nation’s silos, silos across the country have caught fire one after another.
At a time when many people are worried about China’s grain, the official media reported that this summer’s national grain harvest reached 142.8 million tons. When the Communist Party launched the Great Leap Forward in 1958, the normal grain yield was about 1,300 kilograms per acre. However, The People’s Daily claimed “an output of 30,000 kilograms per acre,” and various places followed suit with false and exaggerated propaganda of grain production.
On August 13, 1958, the People’s Daily reported on its front page that the Jian-gwow Commune in Hubei Province had set a “record” of 36,956 pounds of early rice production (112,161 kilograms per acre). The then central Chinese government collected grain from farmers and officials across China then demanded grain from farmers according to the fictitious figures. In the following three years, a great famine broke out, killing around 400,000 people, it is widely regarded as the largest famine and the worst man-made disaster in human history.
Today, even though the CCP claims they can conquer any difficulties and the economy seems to have improved, many people are still living in extreme poverty. If a food crisis really occurs in China, it is still the average Chinese citizen who will suffer.
By Winnie Troppie