China’s advice on stockpiling evokes speculation about the Taiwan war

Beijing (AP) — A seemingly harmless government recommendation recommending Chinese to store what they need in an emergency quickly sparked scattered cases of panic buying and online speculation: China wars with Taiwan Are you going to

The answer is probably not — most analysts believe that military hostilities aren’t imminent — but posts on social media show that the potential is in people’s minds and war-evoking comments. Was pulled out one after another.

Taiwan is an autonomous island of 24 million people, and China considers it a state of rebellion that should be under its control. Tensions have risen sharply lately as China sends more and more fighters in sorties near the island, the United States sells weapons to Taiwan, and deepens ties with the government.

Most residents interviewed in Beijing, the capital of China, thought the war was unlikely, but acknowledged growing tensions. They generally favored putting Taiwan under Chinese control by peaceful means. This is the official position of China’s longtime Communist Party.

“I don’t feel panic, but I think we should be more careful than ever,” said Hu Chun-Ming, who was taking a walk in the neighborhood.

According to local media, reports of rice, noodle and cooking oil practices were scattered in some Chinese cities, whether or not they were at risk of war. A more pressing concern for some was the possibility of a blockade in the neighborhood as the outbreak of COVID-19 spread to several states.

The government has swiftly moved to ensure adequate supply and mitigate fear. A bright yellow sign in the aisle of a supermarket in Beijing asked customers to buy reasonably, not to hear rumors or stockpiles.

Online speculation began with a Commerce Department notice posted Monday night about a supply of winter and spring vegetables and other necessities and plans to secure stable prices. The lines in it encouraged families to store some necessities for daily life and emergencies.

It was enough to start some hoarding and social media debates that the ministry could signal people to stockpile for the war.

The Chinese media has reported a great deal of tensions with Taiwan, with often harsh words being exchanged between China on the one hand and the United States and Taiwan on the other.

“It’s no wonder it stirs my imagination,” said social critic Shi Shusi. “We should believe in the government’s explanation, but the underlying anxiety deserves our thoughts.”

He said the views of populists in support of the war were not majority and would signal and warn Taiwan.

Other developments have fueled speculation of war. One person shared a screenshot of the government’s August list of recommended emergency equipment for families in Xiamen, a coastal city near a remote island in Taiwan. An unconfirmed report — denied by military social media accounts on Wednesday — said veterans had been recalled to service in preparation for combat.

It is difficult to measure how many people interpreted this notice as a possible prelude to war, but the reaction was strong enough to provoke a reaction from the state media the next day.

Economic Daily, a government-owned newspaper, said people’s imagination should not be so violent, and this advice is for those who may have been suddenly trapped due to the outbreak of COVID-19. I explained that there is.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Global Times, has blamed online speculation about the amplification of public opinion during times of tension.

“At this point, the country does not want to signal the public through a notification from the Department of Commerce that it needs to hurry to prepare for the war,” he wrote.

Another Beijing resident, Zhang Xi, denied the possibility of war and advised patience in a conflict that lasted until the split between Taiwan and China during the civil war that led Mao Zedong’s communists into power in 1949. ..

“This is a remnant of history, and it’s impossible to resolve it right away,” she said.


Associated Press researcher Yu Bing, video producers Olivia Zhang and Caroline Chen, and photographer Ng Han Guan contributed to this report.