China is unable to feed itself. Its appetite has grown too large, too fast.
Last year, a Chinese company bought Smithfield Foods, the iconic ham brand and America’s largest pork producer in the largest Chinese purchase of an American business.
The deal came two years after China’s communist government issued an edict directing its food industry to scour the globe in search of agricultural resources, prompting concerns about the government’s role in the takeover.
The Center for Investigative Reporting spent four months digging into the deal and produced two pieces that aired on PBS NewsHour over the weekend. The reporting was funded in part by the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and The Grantham Foundation.
Part 1 examines the Bank of China’s role in the deal and Shuanghui International’s relationship with the government.
Part 2 looks at the consequences of China’s antiquated agricultural system at home – and the potential impacts of its search abroad for more food.
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How China maneuvered to buy US pork giant
by Nathan Halverson and Amanda Pike, Reveal September 15, 2014
Nathan Halverson (he/him) is an Emmy Award-winning producer for Reveal, covering business and finance with a current emphasis on the global food system. Before joining Reveal, Halverson worked on projects for FRONTLINE, the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and PBS NewsHour. He was the principal reporter on Reveal's story about the Chinese government’s involvement in the takeover of America’s largest pork company, Smithfield Foods Inc. He was awarded a 2014 McGraw Fellowship by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and he received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Minnesota. He has won a New York Times Chairman’s Award and has received reporting honors from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, California Newspaper Publishers Association, San Francisco Peninsula Press Club and Associated Press News Executives Council. Halverson is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.
Amanda Pike (she/her) is the director of the TV and documentary department and executive producer of films and series at Reveal. Under her leadership, The Center for Investigative Reporting garnered its first Academy Award nomination and four national Emmys, among other accolades. She was the executive producer of the inaugural year of the Glassbreaker Films initiative, supporting women in documentary filmmaking and investigative journalism. She has spent the past two decades reporting and producing documentaries for PBS, CBS, ABC, National Geographic, A&E, Lifetime and The Learning Channel, among others. Subjects have ranged from militia members in Utah to young entrepreneurs in Egypt and genocide perpetrators in Cambodia. Pike also has dabbled in fiction filmmaking, producing the short film “On the Assassination of the President,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.