This paper reviews studies concerning food security in China. Before the 1980s, China suffered from chronic food shortages. Since 1980, food supply has gradually improved. Today, food in China is plentiful and varieties are diverse. Reviewing what the literature has to say about what has been most fundamental in affecting China’s level of food security can help channel future food security efforts in the right direction. Existing studies suggest that institutions were chiefly responsible for China’s food shortage or abundance. Reforms to China’s economic institutions since the 1980s were fundamental to improving its food supply. To further improve China’s overall food security, several major challenges – widespread food safety and quality concerns, large and widening income inequalities, and the degrading environment and resources that affect sustainable food production – have to be overcome. All such challenges are also closely linked to the country’s widespread corruption. To curtail the corruption and conquer remaining and emerging food security challenges, more innovative reforms to the country’s institutions would be needed.

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