Beijing: Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China is going back to the days of Mao Zedong’s extreme communism and bringing back the memories of the famine in Mao’s era.
Writing for InsideOver, Federico Giuliani said Xi Jinping has made it his motto to make China the strongest superpower in the world but he is repeating the same mistakes that were made in the Mao Zedong era.
During Mao’s era, the main cause of the famine was an ill-conceived effort, executed with insufficient means, to catch up with Britain in industrialization.
“The view among distinguished China observers is that Xi Jinping has reversed the economic policies followed by his predecessors, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao; policies which had made China prosperous,” he said.
Xi Jinping’s attempts to follow in the footsteps of Mao in the 21st century would not work.
Food imports in China increased from USD 14 billion to USD 104.7 billion between 2003 and 2017. Meanwhile, food export increased from USD 20.2 billion to USD 59.6 billion.
But the Covid-induced disruption has aggravated an already serious situation on the food front.
This predicament comes at a time when the race to industrialize in China has left it with a lop-sided development, with a shortage of arable land.
“It is estimated that since 1959 at least 20 per cent of the arable land of China has been lost to industries. Only about 10 per cent of land in China is arable, as against 20 per cent for the USA,” the report said.
According to Giuliani, the reality of a food shortage in China is so serious that in August 2020 President Xi Jinping introduced “Operation Clean Plate” under which diners in restaurants must eat all they have ordered.
There are even reports that China is trying to grab land in Latin American countries to produce food to send it back home.