Oct 16, 2020 06:17 PM

Xi’s ‘Clean Plate’ Campaign Spurs Legislation To Outlaw Wasting Food

A diner packs up unfinished dishes on Aug. 12 at a restaurant in Handan, North China's Hebei province.
A diner packs up unfinished dishes on Aug. 12 at a restaurant in Handan, North China's Hebei province.

China’s national legislature is drafting a law to stop food-wasting following President Xi Jinping’s “clean plate” campaign launched in August in response to long-term food security concerns in the country. 

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the top decision-making body of China’s national legislature, has been debating a draft bill — tentatively titled Anti-Food Waste Law ― during a legislative session this week in Beijing.

The drafting of the law came after Xi demanded in mid-August for the enhancement of “legislation and supervision” to put an end to wasting food and called for promoting thrift.

Calling the issue of food waste shocking and distressing, Xi urged the country to maintain a sense of crisis regarding food security, especially amid the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to state media reports.

In Beijing, Xu Anbiao, deputy director of the standing committee’s legal affairs commission, chaired a symposium early this week to debate the legislation. The text of the bill has not yet been released.

Xu said that North China’s Hebei province had passed the first local regulation on anti-food waste that “sets a national benchmark,” according to a statement (link in Chinese) released by a research arm of the Hebei provincial People’s Congress on Friday.

According to the Hebei regulation, local restaurants are not allowed to set a minimum requirement on customers’ dining spending. Also, activities related to making and broadcasting programs involving excessive eating and drinking will be banned and punished, the official Legal Daily reported. The regulation will come into force on Nov. 1.

Zang Tiewei, a spokesman for the standing committee’s legal affairs commission, told reporters early this week the commission would speed up the work of drafting the legislation, according to a press release (link in Chinese) published on the National People's Congress' website. He added that the commission had been studying how to define and punish food-wasting violations.

Contact reporter Lu Zhenhua (

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