Is the world's largest constitutionally atheist state facing a revival of the 10 biblical plagues of Egypt? It's starting to look that way.
Just days after Beijing promised to send a a 1,000-duck "army" to Pakistan to help farmers fend off one of the largest locust swarms in decades, senior government officials warned that China could soon face an "invasion" of desert locusts and urged local authorities to prepare for battle, even as the country struggles to get back on its feet after being shut down for so long.
The locusts are reportedly approaching China via Pakistan and India. Swarms could enter Tibet from Pakistan and India, or the southwestern province of Yunnan through Myanmar, depending on climate conditions, the notice said. Swarms could also fly across Kazakhstan and into China’s Xinjiang region, according to Reuters.
To be sure, the National Forestry and Grassland Administrations said on its website that the risk of the swarm entering China and attacking farms is "low". But if the swarms do arrive, Beijing will be limited by a paucity of knowledge about the locusts' migratory patterns and techniques to fight them (aside from the ducks, apparently).
Swarms could also attack the southwestern province of Yunnan via Myanmar. It all depends on climate conditions. Swarms could also fly across Kazakhstan and into China’s Xinjiang region.
Chinese customs officials at Khunjerab, a crossing between China and Pakistan in southwestern Xinjiang, have started monitoring the surrounding 2 km for locusts. They inspect vehicles crossing the border and, if they find locusts or locust eggs hidden, they destroy them.
The desert locusts have already ravaged crops and pastures in several countries in Africa, as well as India and Pakistan.
Thankfully, as we mentioned above, Beijing has a secret weapon: