søndag 9. januar 2022

Thanks to COVID, China's New Currency Is the Potato

Forget the Digital Yuan. The People's Republic of China has a new currency. It's called the Potato. University students in Xian prefer to take potatoes over cash for tutoring services, Charles Burton, a China watcher at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, tells Newsweek. The tutors also accept rice, he says. Want to buy cotton swabs in that central Chinese city of 13 million? Potatoes are the medium of exchange.

Xian residents are exchanging cigarettes for cabbages, dishwashing liquid for apples and sanitary pads for vegetables. A video shows a resident trading a Nintendo Switch console for one packet of instant noodles and two steamed buns. Radio Free Asia reports that one resident offered a smartphone and a tablet for rice.

An obviously frustrated poster on the Twitter-like Weibo site talked about the "return to a primitive society." In a once-modern but now-primitive Xian, authorities have been enforcing isolation to end transmission of COVID-19. Residents, for instance, have not been permitted to leave their homes to buy food since December 27. Prior to that, they could go out once every three days to stock up.