China announced yesterday that it planned to temporarily abolish cotton ration coupons, which Chinese citizens have had to use for nearly 30 years to purchase cotton goods in state shops.
however, the official economic daily added that prices for cotton garments would rise soon. it did not say by how much.
The paper reported that from december 1, the rationing system for cotton would be suspended “in order to satisfy the needs of the masses, and in the light of the present situation with regard to cotton production.”
The paper did not indicate how long the suspension would last, but said no ration coupons would be issued for next year.
China’s cotton production has been rising steadily in recent years, along with the production of various synthetic materials. the country has also been faced with a glut of some types of cotton garments in recent months due to over-production of items meant for export.
The abolition of the cotton rationing system, introduced in 1954, is an important symbolic step, although the coupons have become less useful in the past couple of years due to the greater availability of textiles and particularly non-cotton garments.
rationing of many other items continues, however, including cooking oil, coal, light bulbs, bicycles and many electrical items. meat is still rationed in large areas of the country.