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Trending in China: U.N. Recognizes Hero Who Fought High Food Prices at Ground Zero of the Pandemic

By Carol Yuan / Oct 16, 2020 05:59 PM / Society & Culture

What’s trending?

Chinese farmer Li Zhifang is being crowned a “Food Hero” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on World Food Day, for his efforts to keep food cheap and accessible to residents of Wuhan during the worst period of the city’s lockdown during the pandemic.

What’s the story?

Li is marketing manager of the Wuhan Qiangxin Vegetable Production and Marketing Cooperative. He strived to keep food prices affordable and food supplies accessible during an unprecedented lockdown in the city where the virus began and many were forced to stay in their homes for months. Vegetable prices rocketed at the beginning of the pandemic when the situation was still developing.

Li not only persuaded farmers to sell produce at “normal” prices but also helped to increase deliveries from cooperative members to supermarkets, including Hema, also known as Freshippo, a Chinese fresh food supermarket chain owned by Alibaba.

During the pandemic Li volunteered to help the local government distribute necessities to districts where there was a shortage of fresh food, including communities adjacent to the Huanan Seafood Market, thought to be the original epicenter of the pandemic, which people were scared to visit.

“Someone must be brave when the battle begins,” the “Food Hero” was quoted as saying.

What are people saying online?

People have praised Li for his contribution and commented that his new title on this special day shows that the UN approves of China’s anti-pandemic policies. “Wuhan relied on these ordinary heroes to recover from the pandemic.” One popular comment read.

Another person from Wuhan posted about their personal experience during the lockdown. “As a Wuhan local, I could buy vegetables at reasonable prices during the lockdown, thank you so much!”

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: Update: China’s Consumer Inflation Edges Up Amid Faster-Rising Food Prices


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