Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, China Faces Plague of Locusts

After the Wuhan coronavirus exploded in China and evolved into a pandemic, a plague caused by pests is bringing yet another major threat to China.

China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration issued an emergency notice on March 2, 2020 that China was facing the danger of invasion of desert locusts (scientific name “schistocerca gregaria”), the most destructive type of locust to human beings. This pest originated from Africa and had landed in India and Pakistan.

The desert locusts can invade Xinjiang from Pakistan and then spread eastward, or invade Tibet from India and then ruin the Western agricultural region in China. They can also invade from Yunnan and then spread east to destroy the South and Southeast of China. When the swarms reach China, it could be 500 times bigger than its current population. The plague of locusts, should it happen to China, could last until June.

A netizen in mainland China posted a video on February 15, reporting that locusts had arrived in Xinjiang.

Cotton Leafworms

Another crop killer, cotton leafworm (scientific name “spodoptera litura”), has already invaded Yunnan, Sichuan, and other provinces in China.

In the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, by the end of February, cotton leafworms had already emerged in 381 acres of land.

The AgroPages website reported on March 9 that 228 counties in eight Chinese provinces, including Yunnan, Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi, Fujian, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Jiangxi, had reported cotton leafworms.

China had already been hit once by cotton leafworms last year. Their development this year was earlier, more widespread, and potentially more damaging than last year.

The huge quantity and high reproduction rate of desert locusts and cotton leafworms present severe dangers to agriculture and are hard to handle. The pests could severely damage China’s farmlands and lead to a big famine.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture predicted that though China’s crop production will grow to 554 million tons in 2020, it will still face a food shortage of 100 million tons.

With the coronavirus spreading to the entire world and many countries on a lockdown or having closed their borders, it has become harder for countries to move food supplies around and make trades with each other.

Even though China has established a central reserve of food, there have been reports of mismanagement and corruption scandals in the system. Some have questioned how much food the central reserve system has actually stored.

Lessons from History

While many people are trying to figure out what measures to take to solve these problems, history actually offers the answer to us.

From the perspective of traditional Chinese culture, pests and famines are reflections of the current administration’s lack of moral values and deviation from divine will. The head of the administration (the emperor in the past) would then issue an edict to sincerely repent and correct his wrongdoings.

In contrast to ancient emperors, however, the Chinese Communist Party has always aggrandized and glorified itself, no matter what disaster the country faces.

From the religious view, when facing disaster, people should humble themselves and seek the divine power’s help and guidance. Given its atheist nature, however, the CCP not only refuses to submit itself to the divine but also blocks its citizens from looking to the divine.

During the man-made “Great Famine” period (1959 to 1961) in China, which the CCP later claimed to be a “natural disaster,” the regime restricted its grain depots to feed only its officials, military, and people dwelling in large and mid-sized cities. Its theory was that as long as the city dwellers were under control, its power was secure.

As to the farmers, the CCP searched and took away their grains by force, leaving them dying at home. It also mobilized its military and militias to lock down villages and keep farmers from fleeing so that it could portray a picture that there was no famine in the region at all. Thirty-six million Chinese people died in the famine in the end.

If a food shortage indeed happens in China as a result of the locust invasion in 2020, it’s unlikely that the CCP will open its food reserve and import a large amount of food to feed people in the country equitably. If that’s the case, a humanitarian crisis is bound to happen.

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, has said on several occasions, “In America we don’t worship government, we worship God.” In the face of disasters, the Chinese people shouldn’t be counting on the government either. Instead, we should return to tradition, repent for one’s own shortcomings, and seek help from the divine with all due sincerity.

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