Panic buying at supermarkets in China after ministry urges families to stock up on daily needs

Videos on social media showed large crowds at supermarkets.

Faris Alfiq | November 08, 2021, 03:46 PM

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A notice put up by China's Ministry of Commerce on Nov. 1 has encouraged families to stockpile their daily necessities to meet the needs of everyday life, and in case of emergencies, CNN reported.

According to BBC, this notice came amidst the surge in Covid-19 cases in China and unusually heavy rains, which destroyed crops.

While the ministry didn't offer any specific reason for this notice, speculations include the heightened tension between China and Taiwan, Newsweek reported.

Crowded supermarkets

Several photos and videos were circulated online, showing massive crowds at supermarkets.

There were also videos showing people fighting to buy food and other necessities.

Supermarket shelves were also swept clean by buyers as they rushed to stock up their supplies.

Photos shared to Weibo:

Photo via Weibo

Photo via Weibo

Government-backed papers reported otherwise

The extent of supermarkets or cities which are affected is unclear.

Amidst reports of panic buying among Chinese consumers online, ultra-nationalist news agency, Global Times, reported that the situation showed "overall calm" as no panic buying incidents were reported in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

The report added that queues were formed in some smaller cities following the notice by the ministry.

It also offered reassurances that the prices and supplies of food, including meat, eggs, vegetables and other essentials, remain stable.

According to Nikkei Asia, a similar stance was also reflected by a state-backed news agency, The Economic Daily.

The Economic Daily had published an article urging people to not read too much into the notice, adding that the ministry was merely asking people to be prepared if a district was locked down due to Covid-19 outbreak.

CNN highlighted China had previously stressed the importance of stocking up supplies ahead of the weeklong holiday.

However, such notices are usually intended for the local authorities and rarely catch the attention of citizens, CNN added.

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Credit Top images via @RFA_Chinese/Twitter and @crypt0e/Twitter