Headline, August 31 2020/ ''' BIGGY STOMACH KINGS '''



CHINESE REGULATORS ARE CALLING OUT live streamers who binge-eat for promoting excessive consumption. A school said it would bar students from applying for scholarships if their leftover increased a set amount.

A restaurant placed electronic scales at its entrance for customers to weigh themselves to avoid ordering too much.

China's top leader, Xi Jinping, has declared war on the ''shocking and distressing'' squandering of food, and the nation is racing to respond, with some people going to greater extremes than others.

The ruling Communist Party has long sought to to portray Mr. Xi as a fighter of excess and gluttony in officialdom, but this new call for gastronomic discipline is aimed at the public and carries a special urgency. When it comes to food security, Mr. Xi said, Chinese citizens should maintain a sense of crisis because of vulnerabilities exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

''Cultivate thrifty habits and foster a social environment where waste is shameful and thriftiness is applaudable,'' Mr. Xi said in a directive carried by the official People's Daily newspaper recently.

Mr. Xi's edict is part of a broader message from the leadership in recent weeks about the importance of self-reliance in a time of tensions with the United States and other economic partners.

The concern is that import disruption caused by the global geopolitical turmoil, the pandemic and trade tensions with the Trump administration, as well as as some of China's worst floods this year, could be cut into food supplies.

But like so many top down orders in China, the vaguely worded directive prompted a flurry of speculation., State news media moved quickly to tamp down panic about imminent food shortages, reporting consecutive bumper grain harvests and record high grain output in China.

The edict was also met with sometimes ham-handed measures. The restaurant that offered to weight patrons in the central Chinese city of Changsha quickly drew a backlash and had to apologize.

''Our intention was to advocate not wasting food and for people to order in a healthy way,'' the restaurant said, ''We never forced  customers to weigh themselves.''

Mr. Xi's ''clean plate'' campaign to strikes at the heart of dining culture in China. Custom dictates that ordering extra dishes and leaving food behind are ways to demonstrate generosity towards one's relatives, clients, business partners and important guests.

Such habits have contributed to the discarding of an estimated 17 million to 18 million tons of food annually an mount that could feed 30 million to 50 million people for a year, according to a study by the Chinese Academy of Science and the World Wildlife Fund.

Mr. Xi's call is as much a warning against the dangers of profligacy as it is a reflection of the generational shift in values that has emerged as living standards have risen.

Austerity campaign can seem out of place in modern China, with its cities gleaming skyscrapers and luxury malls that buzz with fancy cars. But they were common in the era of Mao Zedong, when the People's Daily would urge citizens ''eat only two meals a day, one of which should be soft and liquid.''

Those livestreamers who have found fame by recording themselves eating vast amounts food, known as ''big stomach kings,'' many such video bloggers draw hordes of fans and rely on these shows for for income.

China's state-run TV broadcaster, C.C.T.V., slammed such performances in a recent commentary headlined ''Livestreaming is fine, but do not use food as your props!''

China's biggest short-video and social media platforms - including Donyin, China's version of Tik Tok, and Kuaishou - said they would punish users seen to be wasting in the broadcasts.

A video blogger, who until recently went by the name ''Big Stomach Mini'' and once eat an entire roasted lamb in one meal, posted a new video on her social media page earlier this month in which she urged her followers to savor every bite of food and take home leftovers. The videos drew messages of support from some of her 11 million fans.

''There's nothing wrong with enjoying delicious cuisine,'' said the blogger, who has since changed her name to to the more austere sounding ''Dimple Mini.'' But please don't be extravagant and wasteful.''

Many among the country's younger generation, such as Samantha Pan, a 21-year old student in Guangzhou, embrace being free from having to worry about saving food for a rainy day and hold little regard for the state's moral exhortations.

''This type of initiative is very boring and useless,'' Ms. Pan said in a telephone interview. ''I am entitled to order as much food as I want. If I just happen to love wasting food, it's still my freedom.''

Wu Qiang, a political analyst based in Beijing, said the pandemic and the floods were reminiscent of the challenges that dogged China's emperors, whose legitimacy largely rested on their perceived ability to maintain harmony between humans and nature

With an eye on food supplies, Beijing fights waste.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest research and writing on Food Security, Waste and Society, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Bella Huang and And Amy Qin.

With respectful dedication to the Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all  prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

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