The billboards, erected by an industrial agriculture lobby group, are intended to help China’s food-producing provinces boost agricultural production and diversify into more profitable sectors.
The group, which was founded in 2003, had earlier said that it would start the advertising campaign on October 30, the day before the Lunar New Year.
The posters, which have been widely criticised for their excessive size, use the hashtag “Agricultural propaganda advertising” in Chinese and promote the group’s mission of promoting China’s “Industrial Agriculture”.
The group claims it is a “responsible and legitimate” organization, according to its website.
“The billboard campaign has been created in order to help promote industrial agriculture and to attract foreign investors, and also to increase local economic development,” the website says.
The campaign has also been criticised by Chinese activists, who said the billboards were aimed at harming the image of the country’s booming agricultural sector.
A petition launched on the Chinese social networking platform Weibo on September 22, calling on Beijing to remove the billboards, has gathered more than 2.5 million signatures.
The petition reads: “We want to remind all the government officials and companies, who are promoting the industrial agriculture industry, to do their utmost to protect and promote agricultural production in China.”
Chinese activists say the campaign was created to boost China’s agricultural sector and encourage foreign investors to invest in the country.
“Agro-industrial farming is a big sector, and if they don’t start producing more, it will hurt China’s economic development, and they need to think carefully,” Li Xuejun, a Chinese journalist who was among those who launched the petition, told Al Jazeera.
“If they promote industrial farming, then it will be even more harmful to the Chinese economy and will create a lot of pollution in the environment.”
China’s official Xinhua news agency said in a statement on September 20 that the “agriculturally-oriented” advertising campaign would not be allowed to go ahead.
“Industrially oriented” means that the advertisements are not aimed at Chinese consumers.
The agency said that while the “Agri-Industrial Promotion Campaign” was not intended to harm the “China’s agricultural development”, the ads would be used “to promote industrial agricultural production”.
It said that the campaign, which is still under review, “will be conducted in a more sensitive and sensitive manner”.
In a statement, the government agency said: “The promotional activities of the Industrial Agriculture Promotion Campaign are the responsibility of the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.”
“We strongly urge all parties involved in the promotion of industrial agriculture to abide by the relevant laws, to fully comply with the relevant regulations and regulations, and to take all appropriate measures,” the agency said.
“Our position is clear: No such activity can take place.”
The billboard campaign is also causing controversy among some Chinese scientists, who have called on the government to crack down on “agro-industry propaganda” and “industrial agriculture propaganda”.
“China is currently facing a severe crisis of industrial agricultural industry, and industrial agriculture is being used to boost its growth,” said Wang Wei, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Chinese and Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies, in an interview with Xinhua.
“We need to make sure that industrial agriculture propaganda and industrial agricultural promotion are not allowed to spread and that the Chinese government does not allow the promotion and promotion of this industrial agriculture.”
Wang said that China’s state-run propaganda outlet Xinhua is “the most influential propaganda outlet in the world”, and “the best example of propaganda”.
He added: “They [Xinhua] have a monopoly on information and it is very important for China’s future.
They can control the public’s opinion.
It is very difficult to censor the information they produce.”
The agency’s statement also said that “agropromise and industrial farming propaganda” are “disguised as scientific studies and have no scientific basis”.
The official Xinhuadnews Agency, which Xinhua uses to distribute its news, said on September 23 that the posters had been approved by the Chinese People’s Daily, the countrys leading newspaper, and that they had been reviewed by the ministry of industry and information.
“It is a sign that they are a responsible and legitimate organization,” the report said.
But the campaign has caused a backlash in China, with Chinese citizens posting videos on Weibo to call for the government “to intervene”.
“I don’t care whether I can eat pork or if I can get pork for my family, but I have to buy food for my kids and for my children’s kids,” one person said on WeChat.
“I can’t eat it because I don’t want to be forced to eat it.”
The posters have also been criticized by activists in China’s rural areas, who say that they should not be used as a tool for boosting industrial agriculture.