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Coupons from the Chinese ambassador

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Paul Sargeant Paul Sargeant | 10:53 UK time, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Chinese rationing coupons
The latest addition to the A History of the World website has come from China's ambassador to UK, Madame Fu Ying. She has added her mother's food ration coupons as an example of the changes in China over recent decades. The coupons were used by families throughout China to secure monthly rations and were printed right up until 1993.

Interviewed by Justin Webb for the Today programme, Madame Fu Ying explains how the end of rationing was a symbolic moment:

For thousands of years food was the priority, and in my mother's life food was still in shortage. After reform, and opening to the outside world, China's ecomony boomed. The most important acheivement in the country was achieving an abundant supply of food for everybody.

Watch our short video of the ambassador donating the coupons and hear Neil MacGregor, explain how the coupons are a perfect object for the website as "both an object of the past and a portent of the future."

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