Recently, many Chinese media published a notice from the authorities regarding pilot work of building complete communities. The project will take two years and be promoted nationwide. 

Local authorities and district and neighborhood committees will manage the pilot plan. Any cluster of 100 families must have a comprehensive service center of at least 325 square feet (30 square meters).

The “community state-run canteens” have become central among many community support projects.

State-run “community canteens” have begun to appear. 

In a social media video, people line up to buy mass-produced, ready-made meals in the Fengqing residential community in Wuhan’s center city. A woman happily said she was honored to witness “the opening of the first state-run canteen in Fengqing.” She also showed a paper coupon similar to a meal voucher to exchange for her meals.

Such images reenact the state-run canteens and state stores under the “All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives” under Mao Zedong. However, it was also a crisis period when famine raged after the economy collapsed, and people had to depend on the state for food.

Beijing-born economist Li Hengqing told RFA. “You had to have special ration tickets to buy oil, rice, meat and many other items.”

“Nobody wants to go back to that,” Li said.

“There wasn’t any choice of products, and the attitude of the staff was generally very bad,” he said. 

“I can still remember trying to buy meat and them refusing to give me any, because they were keeping it for someone they knew, or for one of the leaders. That was [typical of] state-owned enterprises.”

NTDTV cited Australian historian Li Yuanhua as saying that the CCP’s construction of complete community services is a method of controlling people, and the construction of the canteen is a complete step backward.

Li Yuanhua points out that the market determines the market economy, and the Chinese regime cannot control it. The CCP is autocratic and centralized, and it wants to control everything. Building a canteen is actually to control people’s meals. It has the same meaning as the supply and marketing cooperative managing production and sales. It replaces the private economy with a public economy.

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