By Fu Ying, Chinese Ambassador to the UK.
When I was young, food supply was in serious shortage in China. Food coupons were issued based on monthly rations. The last print of coupons came out in 1993, though they were phased out from people's daily lives in the 1980s thanks to the progress of reform and opening-up.
The coupons shown in the photograph were left by my mother. She carefully wrapped them in a handkerchief, neatly and well preserved, even with some dried glue, which may look like dirt. Some were tied, stapled or packed together and they indicated the saving of a month. She kept them in case those difficult times were to return. Fortunately they never did. China now is able to produce enough food for its 1.3 billion people, though by the standard of the World Bank there are still over 250 million people living below the poverty line. China has achieved a lot, and has more to look forward to.
For their historical value, I upload the coupons to this website, and I have promised to give them to the British Museum. I sincerely hope that the British people may, through these small pieces of printed paper, understand better about China's past, today and its future.