What is China’s ‘Operation Empty Plate’?

The crisis of growing corona virus pandemic is further deepened by the acute food shortage in China.This leads to a campaign called ‘Operation Empty Plate‘.Let’s learn.

What is China's 'Operation Empty Plate'

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a campaign called “Operation empty plate” to tackle the food crisis in the country caused by by the massive flooding.

Flooding in China

Flooding in China
Flooding in China

Image courtesy: NASA Earth Observatory

  • Southern China has been severely impacted by large-scale flood due to heavy rains since the first week of June 2020.
  • The areas specially at Yangtze basin and its tributaries are the worst hit by flooding.
  • The flood is described as the worst since the 1998 flood in China.
  • The controversy is around the mismanagement of Three Gorges Dam,which exacerbated downstream flooding in the region.
Operation Empty Plate
  • Operation Empty Plate” is an anti-food waste campaign that aims to overturn the cultural habit of ordering extra food items in restaurants to combat food crisis across the country.
  • The campaign was initially launched in 2013 to curb the practice of big feasts organized by Chinese officials. It was called N-1 ordering in 2013.
  • Chinese president Xi Jinping urged to strengthen legislation, supervision and long-term initiatives as well as improved awareness among people to stop food waste.
How Severe the China’s Food Crisis is?

First look at some data

  • China is heavily dependent on rest of the world to feed its own people.
  • China imports around 30 percent of its food grains of total consumption.According to available data, China imported food grains of worth $75.3 billion in 2017.
China imported food grains of $22.7 billion from Brazil,food grains of $18.1 billion from the United States,food grain of $5.6 billion from Canada, food grains of $5.35 billion from New Zealand, food grains of $4.3 billion from Indonesia, food grains of $4.13 billion from Thailand, food grains of $3.37 billion from Hong Kong and food grains of $2.84 billion from France.(According to 2017 data)
Do You Know?
China’s imported agricultural items from India of $1999 million in the financial year 2018-19.
  • In spite of such dependence from the world, China never stopped it aggressive expansionist foreign policy and even engaged in trade war with USA. It is to be noted that China imported food grains of $18.1 billion from the United States in 2017.
Do You Know?
China increased to import food grains from the rest of the world and the statistics shows the increment is from $14 billion to $105 billion in between 2003 and 2017.

China’s economy is already paralyzed by COVID 19 pandemic.Now the massive flood has wiped out the year’s crop production causing the extensive rise in food prices.Corona virus crisis widened the unemployment menace across the country.Thus the economic crisis and unemployment are coupled with hunger.

Operation Empty Plate is a desperate move to spread awareness among people and establish government’s lost credibility among unhappy citizens. Now its high time for the Communist party of China to focus entirely on 1.4 billion Chinese people moving away from its land encroachment policy.China must not forget the world is keeping distance for unleashing Corona virus across the planet.China should be aware of global food supply chain.

But the real problem is still hidden i.e the actual data regarding remaining food grains and its availability in the country. As China never disclose true figures,not only to the outside world but also to it’s own people.In short the problem does not seem to be solved any time soon.

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