ANALYSIS: China’s Xi Jinping Promotes Food Security Strategy
ANALYSIS: China’s Xi Jinping Promotes Food Security Strategy - Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently made an unannounced visit to Heilongjiang province. During his Sept. 6 to 8 visit, Mr. Xi emphasized that the northern Chinese province, which borders Russia, should play a crucial role as the "ballast stone" for China's domestic food security.
ANALYSIS: China’s Xi Jinping Promotes Food Security Strategy
Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently made an unannounced visit to Heilongjiang province.
During his Sept. 6 to 8 visit, Mr. Xi emphasized that the northern Chinese province, which borders Russia, should play a crucial role as the "ballast stone" for China's domestic food security.
The term "ballast stone" was made in reference to the stone placed in the bottom compartment of a ship to stabilize its center of gravity. With it, even with deeper draft, a ship has a better chance of avoiding significant swaying and capsizing in rough seas.
Chinese state media extensively covered Mr. Xi's movements and comments along his visit over several days. The breathless coverage have analysts sayin
that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is likely preparing a strategic food reserve to counter potential trade restraints by liberal democratic nations.
Emphasizing Food Security a Strategic ApproachIn their coverage of Mr. Xi's speech, Chinese state media used the term "strategic" eight times. They depict Mr. Xi as making another crucial move in the grand chessboard of global affairs to further secure China’s food reserves.
While repeatedly emphasizing the "ballast stone" remark, official media also acknowledged that the changing global landscape is unfavorable to the CCP.
"The world is experiencing unprecedented major changes, entering a period of turbulence and transformation," one report stated, adding, "in a period of increasing uncertainty and unpredictability, various 'black swan' and 'gray rhino' events could occur at any time."
The comments suggest that the CCP views food security in Heilongjiang Province as a crucial component in a strategy to safeguard the regime's rule in China.
Since Mr. Xi came to power, he has called for the military to actively prepare for war, and various provinces have continuously strengthened their military food supply networks. Heilongjiang province's grain reserves have also been listed in the food-reserve lists for other important provinces and cities.
Stockpiling Food Amid Fear of EmbargoesFive years ago during his 2018 inspection of several large farms in Heilongjiang, Mr. Xi stated, "Chinese people should hold their rice bowls in their own hands and load their own grain." This statement has since been repeatedly echoed by state media. Mr. Xi also said, "As long as there are no major issues with food, China's affairs will remain stable."
Mr. Xi regards food security as national security, essential for the stability of the CCP regime. CCP propaganda repeatedly emphasizes that food is a part of national defense and a strategic bargaining chip in the game with "hostile forces," such as the United States.
David Zhang, host of the co-production between NTD and The Epoch Times China Insider, said on Sept. 12 that food has been a long-term strategic concern for the CCP. China is a major food-importing country, and Chinese companies have been purchasing copious amounts of farmland and pork production facilities worldwide, especially in countries like the United States, Canada, and Brazil, partly to ensure its food security. The CCP's greatest fear is that food issues could lead to instability in its regime, he said.
Mr. Zhang also noted that Mr. Xi is now preparing for a potential scenario where the United States and its allies might use restrictions on food exports to China as a "weapon" to deter the CCP from taking aggressive actions against Taiwan.
'Flooded Granaries' Exacerbate Food RisksIn August of this year, Typhoon Doksuri caused unprecedented heavy rain and flooding in northeastern China. Ninety thousand hectares of crops in Heilongjiang were damaged by the floods. Rice fields in the hardest-hit cities, such as Wuchang and Shangzhi, were submerged.
Wuchang, in particular, accounts for one-tenth of Heilongjiang Province's rice cultivation area and is the largest single-season rice-producing region in China. Rice that is submerged for more than three days during its critical flowering stage is unlikely to yield grains, and many farmers in the region fear severe yield reductions or even complete crop failures after the floods.
Beijing, Hebei province, and other areas also experienced severe flooding. In particular, the Zhuozhou region was inundated by floodwaters when dam discharge was disverted without warning. In addition to severe damage to crops, floodwaters caused losses to grain storage facilities, which have been difficult to estimate.
Importing Large Amounts of Food to Ensure SecurityThe Russia-Ukraine war has led to continually rising global food prices. India's rice export ban announced in July had a ripple effect on global markets, with the rice price index increasing by 9.8 percent in August compared to the previous month, reaching its highest point in 15 years, further exacerbating global food inflation.
However, soaring prices have not deterred China from continuously importing enormous quantities of food from around the world.
In the first half of the year, China imported a total of 1.81 million tons of rice, a significant decrease from last year's 6.19 million tons due to the dual impact of sharply rising rice prices and the continuous depreciation of the yuan against the U.S. dollar.
Regarding this, Mr. Zhang warned that the CCP's official statistics are often fabricated, and even if there was so much food, it would be considered strategic reserves.
"Xi Jinping's continuous food imports indicate that he is walking down the path of a food war. The more he struggles forward, the less likely there will be safety and stability," he said.