Public and Private Encounters
Edited by Tetty Havinga, Frans van Waarden and Donal Casey
The integrity of the food supply has always been high on the implied contract between governments and their citizens, but in China the issue also has deep cultural and historical significance. Chinese cuisine is famous for its variety of ingredients, most of them supposed to improve the consumers’ health. In recent years, however, substances like ‘ink, dye, bleach, wax and toxic chemicals’ have all been found in the food Chinese people consume (Burkitt 2011a). The discovery of fake wine, fake tofu and fake eggs made of cheap chemicals marked a new peak in a series of scandals (Huei 2011). Food safety is an ongoing serious political issue in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It challenges the Communist Party’s (CCP) assertion that its monopoly of power is in the interests of the people. Regular promises by the party leaders to secure food safety remain unfulfilled (LaFraniere 2011b). Food scandals question the Party’s claim to the traditional Chinese ideal of the benevolent leader and, to this extent, damage the CCP’s legitimacy (Shue 2010).
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