Photo credit: SupChina illustration
African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that kills nearly every pig that is infected — though it has no direct impact on human health. An outbreak occurred in China in August 2018, and by April this year, it had spread to hog farms in all 31 provinces, directly controlled municipalities, and autonomous regions of mainland China. Over 1 million pigs have been culled to stop the spread of the virus.
The decimation of pig farms in China has led to massive inflation in food prices. Pork, China’s favorite meat, now sells for 30 yuan ($4.20) to 33 yuan per kilogram, double the price in June. The South China Morning Post quoted one consumer at a meat market as saying outright, “Comrades, pork prices really scare me!”
Perhaps even more than Hong Kong, pork price inflation is a top issue for Chinese officials. Vice Premier Hú Chūnhuá 胡春华 was quoted as saying the inflation in pork prices threatened to “seriously affect the achievements of a well-off society and hurt the image of the Party and the state.” Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强 also called for urgency in addressing pork price inflation and the decimation of pig farms from African swine fever.