Teachers in China are eating students’ leftovers to set an example in observing President Xi Jinping’s call to reduce food waste in the new semester, the mainland media reported.
Videos showed a vice principal at Gaosha Primary School in Wuyuan county, Jiangxi province, and a military trainer at Henan Yuzhou Southern District School finishing up the food left by their pupils on the spot on the first day of school, sparking heated discussions online.
One clip had the Gaosha vice principal eating breakfast leftovers in front of astonished students, downing the fried noodles and deep-fried dough sticks they did not finish.
Other footage showed the military trainer at the Yuzhou school eating with his hand the rice left behind by a student. The student was standing in line to return her dish when the trainer spotted the plateful of untouched rice, then finished it while warning the student not to waste food again.
On the internet, some people supported the teachers for setting a good example under Xi’s call. But more questioned the hygiene issue arising from eating other people’s leftovers, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet completely over.
Some mocked the “insanity” of Chinese politics. “One slogan is enough to make people insane. [This is] a fantastical China,” one internet user wrote.
Cherishing food and cutting down on waste was a virtue in Chinese culture, but education should be done properly rather than simply cleaning other people’s plates, said Hui Ching, research director at Hong Kong Zhi Ming Institute. The political propaganda was too obvious and those teachers set a bad example by forsaking hygiene when the coronavirus was still rampant in many places, Hui added.
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