According to Chinese state media, as part of a new push to reduce national food waste, the Xi Jinping administration is crafting new legislation to begin imposing heavy fines on citizens making videos in which they consume ridiculously large amounts of food and alcohol, a viral subgenre otherwise known as "mukbang." If passed, viral mukbang (a combination of the Korean words for "food" and "broadcast") media stars like Pangzai could be forced to close down shop for good.
Making examples from social media stars — Nearly 17 million pounds of food is annually wasted in the country, a pretty staggering number on its own even before figuring that amount could feed roughly 30 million extra people, according to a recent study.
China's Clean Plate Campaign started back in 2013, and first aimed to cut back on lavish government feasts before expanding to change the country's banquet culture at large. New fines leveed against people like Pangzai by the Chinese government could range between "10,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan, or roughly $1,530 to $15,300 in U.S. currency," according to a recent rundown from Gizmodo. In September, the Cyberspace Administration of China moved to shut down nearly 14,000 social media accounts related to mukbang content, so the new legislation proposal isn't terribly surprising.
An appetizer of things to come — Food waste is an immense problem for industrialized nations, although the actual "waste" mukbang content creators like Pangzai produce is most likely negligible. Many argue that the decision is encroaching on Chinese citizen's privacy rights (such as they are), so perhaps there are better ways to promote food conservancy. Still, government intervention into food waste is a near inevitability for most countries in the coming decades. As climate change continues to wreck global agricultural economies, new methods will need to be implemented, often with uncomfortable stringencies. Governments like China cutting back on the most excessive, entertaining examples might seem odd and unnecessary, but this is only the beginning.