When you take a trip to China, you mainly take a trip to the bigger cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou, very popular tourist areas. However, rarely any outsiders visit the countryside, an area so scenic, yet suffering. In the countryside, hundreds of people are starving or eat imbalanced diets. The reasons include less money, overpopulation, and sometimes bad weather, and as a result, many of the young and old perish. It is estimated that around 12.7 million kids are stunted in growth, which is roughly equivalent to the population of Tokyo (13), a gargantuan magnitude. This must be stopped. We must stop the suffering of a group that large, that, around 19.6% of the population of the country with the most people in the world are rotting away (6), and make the area a better place.
China is the 3rd largest country in the world, with the largest population in the world, which has a population of 1.396 billion people (5). The government is a communist government, in which people elect a president. The current president is Xi Jinping. Major crops include wheat, rice, soybean, tuber, and corn (10). The climate often changes. In the Northwest is the Gobi desert, a dry, rocky desert that is hot during the day and freezing at night. In the Southwest is the Himalayas and the Tibetan area, a giant plateau. In central China are plains, and in the East are areas that are more like forests. The average farm size is 0.6 hectares, which is 1.48263 acres (1), which is way smaller than that in the United States, 434 acres (2). 56.22% of land has been cultivated, as of 2015 (3). These diverse environments have created a variety of different lifestyles, but some elements are similar all throughout the country.
In the country, what’s an average family like? The average family has 3.17 people (4), because of attempted birth control. The average apartment size is about 60 square meters. A typical diet consists of noodles, rice, meat, tofu, eggs, poultry, and many vegetables including soybean and onion. Urban families get food from a supermarket, and rural families grow their own food. Food is usually steamed or fried. There are a variety of jobs ranging from farmer to doctor and the average wage is 21,586.95 yuan, which is about 12,000 dollars (8). Families in urban areas do have access to healthcare and education (9), and it is relatively affordable. In rural areas it is not. In an urban area, the access to some services is low, but things like electricity and toilets, if it can be afforded, then you can access it, but it is higher than the rural areas. Barriers to access include overpopulation and overworking of land. Even though areas of the countries are very unique, they sometimes share common lifestyles, and common problems.
A huge problem of China is malnutrition. Although this problem is rare in urban life, and people are actually getting a bit obese now, it devastates rural China (10). Due to difficult access to many food resources such as markets, people have no choice but to grow their own food, so when the weather turns bad, or a blight comes, people starve, which causes a massive loss of life. Malnutrition is a severe problem in China because the amount of people in the country is steadily increasing, but food supply is not, causing many other problems such as disease.
Even now, trends are worsening. The population of China is still increasing, even with attempts at birth control. The growing population contributes to this because the higher the population plus less food makes widespread starvation and disease. Rural people are hit the hardest, and many children die from starvation and other forms of malnutrition. In urban areas, people are beginning to get obese due to eating unhealthy foods and not having a healthy, balanced diet. Statistics taken in the rural areas show that more women are affected by men. Elderly and children are hit first due to their weaker states and they they are less immune to disease. It affects more of the minority population because they live in the more remote countryside areas that help cannot even reach. The land may be overworked for more food, and this can ruin the land and cause habitat loss. Droughts, blights, and natural disasters can also take a hard toll on crops. This may be concerning not just for China, but to the world. China is best known for their large export of crops and cheaper goods, but if there are no workers in the countryside, urban populations would notice an obvious decrease in available food, and the world may find less food as well. An important concern has been found that not many notice, yet once in full effect, could potentially lead to a disaster.
To counter this problem, there are many possible solutions. I think the best possible solution is to join a few together and implement them at the same time to have joint results. Solutions I think should be joined together are moving some people populating the urban areas such as Beijing to Japan, slowly ship a small portion of food to the country each year, and donating money for “SmartFarms” and insect farms for food. Obviously, any solution would cost much money, so getting other richer countries such as the US to lend a hand is a big help to the project. Although people in the US, especially the congressmen, may not be too happy about this idea, it is a big help to the world. After getting the funding, the stages of the plan can begin.
There are two stages to the plan. The first one is to start moving the population to other countries. As of 2019, Japan’s population is steadily decreasing, and moving some Chinese over to Japan could kill two birds with one stone. To support this even more, culture shock is not a big issue due to the similarities between Chinese and Japanese cultures. Urban populations go to the Japanese cities first, and rural populations can grow and move to the urban areas for a better life with easier access to food sources.
The second stage is the most important one; this one is about the solution of producing more foods so the population cannot starve. I think the introduction of insect farms and “SmartFarms” would help. Insects are a very good source of protein, and the crops from the farms would give vitamins and water. SmartFarms, in my perspective, are similar to self-sustaining farms. It would be a system of terraced farms surrounded by a transparent dome, in which computer monitors measure parameters required for plant growth such as humidity, sunlight, richness of the soil, and pests. The computer system must also be able to adjust the parameters for optimal growth. With many of these built and in effect, larger amounts of food could also be the food issue may not be existent after some time.
The plan cannot be a plan unless people are willing to execute it. I think governments of more rich, advanced countries. Countries such as the US, UK, and Japan should consider funding the projects, since these countries depend on China for some imports. China, considering that this is an issue for their country, should provide workers to monitor the SmartFarms and insect farms, and they also have the responsibility to distribute the food to the population and markets. Housing should be done in more compact grounds, e.g. apartments and condos, to give room for farms. The executive seeing should be done by the United Nations and civic organizations, and the voluntary workers from several nonprofit food organizations should be chosen due to their dedication and their desire to improve the quality of life for so many people. Scientists who truly desire to be in this project would design the hardware and software of this computer, as well as construct and monitor the sensors and the facility.
Even with all of this, there are still issues with the plans. Some countries may not be willing to donate. The construction of the SmartFarms and the insect farms can cost millions, if not billions of dollars, and without funding, the project cannot get off the ground. Furthermore, due to complicated, rough history, the Chinese and the Japanese may not have a nice relationship with each other. In 1937, Japan invaded China. They forcefully took control of the then-capital city, Nanking, and slaughtered and mistreated many of the civilians living in the city. Since then, Chinese have felt some resentment towards the Japanese. Because of this, some Chinese, especially older generations that lived during World War Two, may not want to emigrate to Japan, and some Japanese may not like a large population of bitter Chinese arriving in their country. Quarrels and riots could soon ensue. Additionally, the Japanese would have to produce or buy more food due to the rising population, which may tip off some government officials.
However, once the plan is in full effect, there would be some major changes to the world. The USA may start buying more from China, since, due to their new SmartFarm systems, the nation could produce more and a wider variety of crops. This could significantly boost the economy, and people would no longer have to fear the horrors of poverty and malnutrition. Once the plan is in effect, boys and girls in the country side do not have to worry about growing food for their families; instead, they can go to school and get an education. Once the plan is in effect, people can move to the cities for more access to food, water, communication, sewage, etc. Once the plan is in effect, the welfare of 1.3 billion people would be changed forever, for the better.
Anyone can help. By donating money to an organization that attempts to tackle these kinds of issues, such as the 4-H and the World Food Prize. Posters, advertisements, billboards, papers, and websites can be put up to advocate the end of malnutrition and call for action. Petitions can also be drawn demanding the end of malnutrition in China. Tell any government office and present your arguments, and, if enough effort is put into this, if enough hope is put into this, malnutrition in China would be gone forever.
In conclusion, in China, people are starving due to causes such as poverty, overpopulation, and natural disasters. As a result, many of the young and old perish. This must be stopped. Solutions include donating money to construct SmartFarms and insect farms, and moving some of the population to other countries that the immigrants can easily adapt to, such as Japan.
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