But the government’s latest attempt to avoid price and supply concerns appears to be out of control.
He orders local authorities to ensure that their citizens have an “adequate supply” of basic goods this winter. It also instructs those governments to keep food costs stable, a point of concern in recent weeks as extreme weather, energy shortages and Covid-19 restrictions threaten supply.
But Monday’s directive has attracted the attention of the Chinese in a way that few other government advisories have.
In part, this appears to be because it includes unusual language about the need for local authorities to encourage families to stockpile “essentials.” Even if the notice was not intended to be read by the average household, many online have used it as a personal warning.
The tragedy remains in the living memory of many in the country. And while China’s economy has undergone a dramatic transformation since then, concerns about food safety persist: The government, for example, recently released an “action plan” that encourages people not to order more food from the market. you need to report on restaurants that waste food now.
There is nothing whatsoever to corroborate the rumors that China is preparing for an imminent war. But the online panic suggests some tension, according to Willy Lam, an associate professor in the Department of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“It is a reflection of the tense geopolitical situation between China and neighboring countries,” he said.
“Reflects people’s anxiety about further drastic increases in food [costs] and also a distrust in the government, “added Lam.
The Chinese government and some state media have tried to allay fears about food shortages.
Zhu Xiaoliang, an official with the Ministry of Commerce, told state broadcaster CCTV this week that there are plenty of supplies for everyone. Zhu emphasized that the directive was intended for local authorities.
Meanwhile, the Jiangsu Emergency Management Department acknowledged concerns about “emergency supplies” on its WeChat account on Tuesday. But the agency said any recommendation for storage is “normal” and intended to “enhance public awareness of disaster prevention.”
Such measures “will likely affect residents who go to stores and will also affect the operating hours of markets,” said Chenjun Pan, a senior analyst at Rabobank who researches agriculture in China.
Lam said Beijing is also not likely to change course, meaning cities must prepare to endure potentially prolonged lockdowns as the government tries to keep the coronavirus case count low.
“This is a preparation for the fact that these lockdown conditions will continue, although overall, China’s overall figures are actually very low compared to other countries,” he added. “Beijing is unlikely to stop this zero-tolerance policy.”
– CNN’s Beijing office contributed to this report.