Chinese Say No to Food Waste

February 13, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. netizen 
[NET-uh-zuhn, ‐suhn] (n.) – one who always uses the Internet
Example: Some netizens started an online movement against poverty.

2. campaign [kam-PEYN(v.) – to work or do activities in order to get a certain goal or a desired result
Example: Concerned parents wrote school officials to campaign for healthier school lunches.

3. banquet [BANG-kwit(n.) – a large and formal dinner
Example: After the wedding, the guests joined the banquet.

4. grain [greyn(n.) – plant seeds used as food, such as cereals.
Example: In Asia, rice is the most popular grain.

5. cut down [kuht-doun(phrasal v.) – to lessen
Example: The government says people must cut down on the use of chemicals in food.

Read the text below.

Food waste is a hot issue in China these days. Chinese netizens are campaigning to raise awareness about food waste and urge their countrymen to avoid wastage, especially after banquets.

On China’s most popular social media website, Sina Weibo, a number of uploaded pictures have shocked and angered many Chinese netizens. The pictures show uneaten food being thrown away after a large banquet. For contrast, a picture of a 70-year-old farmer from Gansu, a poor province in the northwest part of China, is shown at the end. The farmer is so poor that he can only eat meat about ten times in one year.

Research by China Agricultural University estimates that 50 million tons of grain is wasted in China each year. Fifty million tons is 10% of the total grain produced in China. The amount of food wasted could have fed 200 million people, about one-sixth of China’s population.

Concerned netizens advised people to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year by not wasting food. Even the government was urged to cut down on spending during banquets. Last year, the Chinese government spent 300 billion yuan ($48 billion) on their banquets.   

Agriculture scientist, Yuan Longping believes food waste should be treated as a crime. He said that scientists like him have worked hard to improve the production of rice in the country. Sadly, many Chinese citizens take the abundance of food for granted.

To address this problem, the National People’s Congress, China’s highest lawmaking body, is now discussing a law that will punish those who waste food.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think that food waste is a crime that should be punished? Why or why not?
·         How can people avoid wasting food?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think people waste food?
·         How does food waste affect us?


February 13, 2013