The Chinese Ministry of Commerce issued a notice for families to stock up on food in the event of emergency, sparking speculation China might be hit by a big event like war, disease, or famine.
The Sun U.K. reported on the "doomsday prepper" frenzy as shoppers panicked bought food, water, and survival supplies. Among the rumored or fear events was a conflict with Taiwan that might draw in the U.S. and allies, according to the report.
A fear of conflict over Taiwan has been palpable as China has been increasingly bold on challenging that country's sovereignty after President Joe Biden took office.
Fear of another massive, deadly wave of the global coronavirus pandemic remains among the concerns, too. Global supply chain shortages have exacerbated the panic buying as empty store shelves across China fuel online rumors.
Among the items being scooped up in the frenzy, according to the report:
- Cooking oil.
- Hardtack – long-lasting biscuits favored by survivalists.
Shopping centers have been experiencing massive crowds, long lines, wait times of up to two hours, and shelves short on items.
State-run media has attempted to slow the frenzy. The Chinese-owned Economic Daily newspaper urged people to not buy into rumors of military conflict, stressing the warning was coming to prepare for a wave of COVID-19.
"I do not believe that the country wants to send a signal to the public at this time through a notice from the Commerce Ministry that people need to 'hurry up and prepare for war,'" according to Global Times editor in chief Hu Xijin.
The Times itself had warned last month, war "could be triggered at any time" amid talk of a potential Taiwan conflict. Even Taiwan foreign minister warned of the possibility of a "full-scale invasion" by China.
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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