Is another famine looming in China? The Red Dragon struggles to meet basic food demands

Another famine is silently sweeping across China and nobody speaks about it. China, which embarked on the mission of becoming a superpower by showing its economic and military might to the world, now may be brought to its knees over a shortage of food.Reduction in overall domestic food production; a recent deluge in the Yangtze River basin, the rice bowl of China; and a slash in imports, mostly aggravated by deteriorating diplomatic relations, has caused Beijing to hit the panic button. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently launched the “Clean Plate” campaign to ensure that food supplies do not deplete quickly and bring about a repetition of the 1959 Great Famine, in which millions of people starved to death. And recent skirmishes along the Sino-Indian border, as well as China’s aggression in the South China Sea, may be Xi’s strategy to divert attention from China’s pending food crisis, just as Mao Zedong did in 1962 to mask the failed Great Leap Forward movement. The Yangtze River basin badly hit The Yangtze River basin, which accounts for 70 percent of China’s rice production, has seen the worst floods since 1939, damaging millions of acres of cropland. According to the China Meteorological Administration, the country has experienced a 20 percent increase in heavy rainfall since 1961, taking the water level of more than 400 rivers above the flood control line, with 33 of them reaching record highs. The heavy rain has ravaged vast swaths of industrial and agricultural land, and experts warn the worst may be yet to come.  Food prices are soaring Soaring prices of agricultural products are stoking food-security jitters in China. According to the China’s National Bureau of Statistics, food prices went up by 13 percent in July, compared to the previous July. The price of pork rose about 85 percent. On a year-on-year basis, food prices have increased by 10 percent in 2020 — the price of corn is 20 percent higher and the price of soybeans, 30 percent. According to global financial group Nomura, China’s agricultural GDP could fall by nearly a percentage point in the July-September quarter, rendering losses of $1.7 billion (USD) in the agriculture output. Chinese brokerage firm Shenwan Hongyuan has anticipated that China could lose 11.2 million tons of grains this year, compared to last year. Although Xi claimed that the country’s grain output increased this year, imports of grains have gone up almost 22 percent, to 74 million tons in the first half of this year. Imports of wheat went up by a whopping 197 percent during the period. This has forced Beijing to release 62.5 tons of rice, 50 tons of corn and 760,000 tons of soybeans from its strategic reserve — the amount is significantly higher than last year.  Insect plagues Insect infestations also have caused great damage to China’s food sector. An invasion of fall armyworms and locusts devoured millions of acres of wheat and corn crops this year. African swine fever has forced authorities to kill more than 180 million pigs, or about 40 percent of China’s swine population, causing prices to soar. Imports of meat have jumped significantly in just one year. Political tensions It may come as no surprise that China has spoiled bilateral relations with those nations on whom it depends for its food. Increased hostilities, coupled with pandemic-related disruption in the supply chain and global commodity markets, have created huge barriers for Beijing to meet its domestic consumption demands and ensure enough stock for “rainy days.” The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia are among the top exporters of agriculture commodities to China. Despite its dispute over tariffs with the U.S., China still remains heavily dependent on the United States to meet its food demand. China’s agricultural imports in 2019 were pegged at $13.8 billion (USD), up from $9.1 billion in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Even during the first quarter of 2020, China imported farm products from the U.S. worth $5.08 billion, while its exports dropped by 17.2 percent in January and February and 6.6 percent in March. Beijing has shot itself in its foot by banning agricultural products from Australia over its demand for an independent inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak. Similarly, farm trade with Canada, New Zealand, Indonesia and India are in the doldrums over different issues, including the potential security threat from Huawei and border skirmishes. China’s food shortfall will only get worse in coming years unless it undertakes major agricultural reforms, warns the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. A key question is, can China buy enough food to feed its 1.4 billion people if domestic production does not increase and imports are its only mainstay? Surely, China’s food self-sufficiency rate must increase, but the current situation appears to preclude such an improvement. It is difficult to ascertain the real situation since information coming out of China may not reflect the true severity of the crisis. However, Xi’s statements on the need for “gastronomic discipline” are reminiscent of similar instructions issued by Mao in 1959, at the beginning of the Great Famine (1958-1962). A combination of factors indicate that China is at risk for this history to repeat itself — a massive food shortage that could worsen into one of its biggest crises since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. hopefully, we are not heading to this again: This story was written by Jianli Yang, founder and president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China, a Tiananmen Massacre survivor, and a former political prisoner in China. It was published on The Hill. More famine news on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Follow us: Facebook and Twitter. By the way you can also support us on Paypal. Please and thank you!

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You are being gaslighted

we are being gaslighted. Picture via CNN What is Gaslighting?The term originates in the systematic psychological manipulation of a victim by her husband in Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play Gas Light (film adaptations released in 1940 & 44). In the story, the husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she’s insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting she’s remembering things incorrectly or delusional when she points out the changes. The play’s title alludes to how the abusive husband slowly dims the gas lights in their home but pretends nothing has changed, in an effort to make his wife doubt her own perceptions. The wife repeatedly asks her husband to confirm her perceptions about the dimmed lights, but in defiance of reality, he keeps insisting the lights are the same – and that she is going insane. These days, we’re living in a perpetual state of gaslighting. ‘Reality’ that the media reports is at complete odds with what we see with our own eyes. When we question the false reality they present, or claim what WE see is actual reality, we are vilified as racist or bigots or just plain crazy. You’re not racist. You’re not crazy. You’re being gaslighted. New York State has twice as many deaths from Covid-19 than any other state, and New York has accounted for 1/5 of all Covid-19 deaths, yet we’re told that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo handled the pandemic better than any other governor. But if we support policies of Governors whose states had only a fraction of the cases and deaths as New York, we’re called anti-science and ‘want people to die’. So, are we crazy? No, we’re being gaslighted. We see mobs of people looting stores, smashing windows, setting cars on fire and burning down buildings, but we’re told these demonstrations are peaceful protests. And when we call this destruction of our cities riots, we are called racists. Are we crazy? No, we’re being gaslighted. We see the problems destroying many inner-cities: murder, gang violence, drug-dealing, drive-by shootings, armed robbery, etc. But we are told that police are the problem in the inner-cities. We’re told we must defund the police and remove law enforcement from crime-riddled cities to make them safer. If we advocate for more policing in cities overrun by crime, we are accused of being white supremacists and racists. Are we crazy? No, we’re being gaslighted. The USA accepts more immigrants than any other country in the world. The vast majority of the immigrants are ‘people of color’, and these immigrants are enjoying freedom and economic opportunity not available to them in their country of origin. But we are told that the USA is the most racist and oppressive country on the planet, and if we disagree, we are called racist and xenophobic. Are we crazy? No, we’re being gaslighted. Capitalist countries are the most prosperous countries in the world. The standard of living is the highest in capitalist countries. We see more poor people move up the economic ladder to the middle and even the wealthy class through their effort and ability in capitalist countries than any other economic system in the world. But we’re told capitalism is an oppressive system designed to keep people down. Are we crazy? No, we’re being gaslighted. The most egregious example of gaslighting is the concept of ‘white fragility’. You spend your life trying to be a good person, treating people fairly and with respect. You disavow racism and bigotry in all its forms. You judge people solely on the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. Yet you’re told you’re a racist, not because of something you thought, said or did, but solely because of the color of your skin. You know instinctively that charging someone with racism because of their skin color is itself racist. You know you are not racist, so you defend yourself and your character. But you’re told your defense of yourself is proof of your racism. Are you crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted. Gaslighting has become one of the most pervasive and destructive tactics in Western politics. It’s the exact opposite of what the Western system was meant to be. It deals in lies and psychological coercion, not the truth and intellectual discourse. If you ever ask yourself if you’re crazy, you aren’t. Crazy people aren’t sane enough to ask themselves if they’re crazy. That’s why politicians never question themselves. So, trust yourself. Believe what’s in your heart. Trust your eyes over what you’re told. Never listen to the people who tell you you’re crazy, because you aren’t. You’re being gaslighted! More societal collapse topics on SOTT, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Follow us: Facebook and Twitter. By the way you can also support us on Paypal. Please and thank you!

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