Agriculture

This photo shows Yuan Longping in 2006, at a press event with Chinese media. (CNS)

Chinese academic: Why the CCP honoured Yuan Longping, the 'father of hybrid rice'

China's “father of hybrid rice”, the late scientist Yuan Longping, was conferred the Medal of the Republic by the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese academic Qiao Xinsheng concludes that amid science and technology debates and praises of Yuan's achievements, the CCP's award demonstrates that the true goals of science are to improve the lives of the people.
A worker operates a harvester machine at a tea plantation in Minamiyamashiro, Kyoto, Japan, on 14 May 2021. (Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg)

Lessons for China: The powerful position of the Japanese farming industry

Japan’s farming industry occupies a special position in the country’s political, economic and social development. Although farmers are few in number, they wield a strong influence. As a result, a protected farming ecosystem exists in Japan, which has enabled the country to make great strides in organic farming and reducing carbon emissions. The country has also been adept at leveraging its overseas industrial outposts to support its domestic farming sector. What can China learn from Japan’s experience?
People flock to pay their last respects to Yuan Longping at his memorial service in Changsha, Hunan, China on 24 May 2021. (CNS)

China mourns scientist Yuan Longping, the ‘father of hybrid rice’

Following the recent passing of scientist Yuan Longping, “the father of hybrid rice”, citizens in China called for the flag to be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect. Yu Zeyuan says that the authorities seem reluctant to do so for fear of setting a precedent. But for a man whose achievements speak for themselves, no pomp and pageantry is needed.
China's food supply has come under question in recent years, with experts raising issues of sustainability. (iStock)

China's changing diet: Should the world be alarmed?

Given China’s huge population and limited agricultural land, the question “Who will feed China?” first gained prominence in the mid-1990s. Revisiting the issue today, Chinese academic Chen Hongbin notes that China has clear plans to maximise its comparative advantage in agricultural production and use a mix of measures to achieve overall self-sufficiency. However, some people outside of China are still alarmed. Chen examines the issue.
A farmer picks cotton on a farm on the outskirts of Hami, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, 3 November 2010. (Stringer/Reuters)

Hong Kong commentator: Xinjiang’s cotton production figures debunk the myth of forced labour

Hong Kong commentator David Ng says that despite the accusations by the West against China of human rights violations in Xinjiang such as forced labour, the region’s economic trajectory and reliance on mechanisation seem to show a quite different truth.
Young Tibetan Danzeng Duoji (right) has no plans to go back to the farm.

Poverty alleviation in Tibet: For young Tibetans, material wealth and city life beckon

Following the Chinese government’s poverty alleviation policies, Tibetans seem to be leaving their traditional livelihoods behind and carving out new lives. How is rapid modernisation affecting Tibetan traditions and culture? Are the two mutually exclusive and a choice that the Tibetans can make for themselves? How do Beijing’s Tibet policies fare, and what criticisms do they face? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu joins a government-organised press tour of Tibet to find out.
People work in a rice field of Runguo Agriculture Development Company during a media tour organised by the local government in Zhenjiang, in China's eastern Jiangsu province on 13 October 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Pandemic, floods, locusts and shrinking farming population: Will China suffer a food crisis?

China feeds about 20% of the global population, but its overall self-sufficiency in food seems to be dropping. Even though it is self-sufficient in some staples such as wheat, rice and corn, it is less so in others. In fact, it is the largest importer of food in the world. Recent calls by President Xi Jinping to cut food wastage has people thinking that political reasons aside, China’s food supply is at risk. This risk could yet be amplified by changes in land policies, rural-urban migration and more.
A woman wearing a protective mask looks at blossoms in a park in Beijing on 21 March 2020. (Thomas Peter/File Photo/Reuters)

The world has become greener because of Covid-19, but will it last?

The world has become greener and cleaner because of a drastic drop in human activity brought about by the pandemic. Professor Koh Lian Pin opines that these effects may be only temporary but the fact remains that the world needs to direct more attention to climate change. He sees China playing a bigger role in implementing nature-based solutions for climate and sustainable development. With its experience and immense investments in scientific research and development, it could even lend a hand to countries in the Asian region.
Motorists wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus travel along a busy traffic intersection in Hanoi on 13 May 2020. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

China should be worried about political developments in Vietnam, not economic rivalry

Vietnam is fast becoming the factory of the world and is well-placed to capitalise on changes to global supply chains. Chinese academic Qiao Xinsheng feels that contrary to popular opinion, though Vietnam is striving to be the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia, it is not going to be an economic threat to China any time soon. What China should look out for, is how the Vietnam government negotiates domestic political and social reforms, and whether the Communist Party of Vietnam is able to avoid the kind of tragedy that befell the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.