China’s Tough Choice: Food or Concrete

The desire to stimulate China’s economy has forced the Chinese government to choose between preserving land or preserving economic growth.  From the Asia Times:

When a leading mainland economist suggested recently that Beijing’s steadfast insistence on keeping a minimum of 120 million hectares of arable land was “a hurdle for China’s further industrialization and urbanization” and should be discarded, it created nothing less than a public furor.

Mao Yushi, founder and chairman of the independent Unirule Institute of Economics, has overnight become “a public enemy”, said the China Times newspaper. His suggestion that China stop pursuing a policy of food self-sufficiency and rely instead on the world grain market for supplies have quickly transformed him into a target for “vehement criticism”.

“Whoever went through the famine during the late 1950s and early 1960s in China knows how important food is,” a netizen going by the name of “sgy123” said. “It is quite dangerous for 1.3 billion people to rely on imported grain.”… This year marks the 50th anniversary of the famine that left anything between 10 million and more than 30 million people dead during the Great Leap Forward – Mao Zedong’s utopian attempt to make communist China leapfrog the industrialized nations of the West.

See also past CDT posts for farmland and land use.

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