Feeding 1.4bn people: a matter of national security
While Israel may not look at food as a national security issue, China certainly does. Until 30 years ago, food in China was scarce and the country was periodically plagued by famine. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that feeding 1.4 billion people has become a national priority and a primary focus of its president, Xi Jinping. Reflecting on China’s long history of food insecurity, Xi noted how “Memories of those days have been etched into the hearts of many and should serve as a reminder to us all.” According to author Lillian Li, “No other civilization has had such a continuous tradition of thinking about famine, and no other nation’s modern history has been so influenced by hunger and famine.” As a leading developer of cutting edge food technologies, Israel should be paying attention. Although China has enjoyed an abundance of food for the past few decades, the memory of scarcity remains fresh in the Chinese mind. The "Clean Plate Campaign" that came on the heels of a speech by President Xi in 2020, where he announced that Covid-19 had "sounded the alarm" on food waste, epitomizes this mentality. Xi reportedly stressed that China must "maintain a sense of crisis about food security." Restaurants in some provinces responded by limiting the order of dishes to one less than the number of people in the group. This ran counter to the typical meals where the dishes served far outnumbered the customers and much of the food was thrown away.