The Power of Salt

“The most visible impact of Japan’s earthquake in China, however, came Wednesday night after state media addressed the possibility not of radiation being China through the air, but rumors that China’s salt supply will soon be exposed to radiation along the east coast.

The fact that state media were used to tell China not to worry about the safety of the future salt supply seems to have had the opposite effect, and led to mass panic buying of salt in several cities, which spread as rumors went unabated. The spectacle, particularly the silliness of it, dominated [zh] discussion on Weibo and most other online spaces all of Wednesday night, and Weibo staff began deleting most salt panic tweets as soon as they appeared, apparently fueling the frenzy. Sina Weibo’s own official account tasked with refuting online rumors had yet to mention the salt panic by midnight Wednesday.”

Here’s the link to the website –

Fortunately for me, I haven’t used salt in any cooking for almost 2 years now, except when I cook for guests. So it doesn’t affect me in the least!

My friend Lewis in Beijing writes: “We participated in the panic. Antoinette called to say that she needed salt for the restaurants, and didn’t understand why there was no in the

stores. We found 1 kilogram at regular prices, and Maggie’s sister bought ten bags. The driver we used last night said that he paid 10rmb for a bag that normally costs 1.5rmb. Who knew there would be a black market in salt.”

Here are some of the comments from the website:

“In places all over Zhejiang province today from this afternoon through to the evening, a wave of panic buying of salt suddenly appeared…someone needs to refute the rumors.

ShanghaiJC: I went out after 9 PM to snatch up some salt, turns out every place was already sold out. Shanghai is now completely out of salt.

My uncle in Shenzhen runs a supermarket, he called to tell me that the salt panic has reached Shenzhen too, selling for RMB 10 a bag. He told us to make sure we have salt back in the hometown. Relatives there as soon as they heard rushed out and bought 20 bags.

People everywhere have gone insane and are rushing to buy salt. Didn’t they say this was just a rumor? Why does everybody think the salt has been tainted? Just now my relatives from the countryside phoned to say that salt out there is gong for RMB 18 a bag, and some people took 10 boxes of it home. Some shops here have even stopped selling their salt. Oh my god….

Everyone is snatching up salt, and the price has already doubled, you can’t even buy salt now if you want to. A friend of hers’ family runs a supermarket and they just got four crates of salt. It was gone in a split second.” The reporter then discovered that all major supermarkets in Hangzhou are now sold out of salt.

The panic buying is not just in the south. My wife lives in Tonghua, in Jilin Province. She just messaged me in Changchun asking me to buy some salt for her. The news said it would stop radiation poisoning.”


About Roz Weitzman's World

Periodically in China since 2005 to research my cookbooks and travel in China and southeast Asia. Loving the experience. Want to keep in touch with my friends and family all over the world! I published my Chinese Cookbook called 'Roz Weitzman's World of Chinese Comfort Food'. This week I published my latest in my series of Chinese cooking called "Roz Weitzman's World of Yunnan Food". Please won't you scribble a thought or two. I really appreciate your comments! AND IF YOU SHOULD WISH TO REPOST MY RECIPES OR OTHER OF MY POSTS ON YOUR OWN BLOG, BE SO KIND AS TO POST A LINK BACK TO MY BLOG AND GIVE ME CREDIT FOR MY ORIGINAL WORK. MANY THANKS IN ADVANCE.

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2011, in Thoughts!. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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