Sparrows were in short supply that summer, which meant that locusts were abundant. Mao Yushi would go to the fields, catch them and eat them. He had no choice. His stomach compelled him.
More than half a century has passed since Mao felt that intolerable hunger gnawing at his mind, driving his actions. China has changed a lot since then. It has grown more prosperous, with food waste now rivaling food security as a threat to the country’s welfare.
“China has become a different country, a new China,” said Mao, 86, from his apartment in Beijing. But even as the world transformed around him, Mao’s mind could never quite escape the memory of one year: 1960.