Like King Canute of legend, the Chinese Government’s attempts to control rising inflation through a freeze on all government prices, fees and charges for the rest of the year, is doomed to failure.

But one part of the measures, revealed on Wednesday, has special allure for the Howard government. Not the price control measures (even Mr Howard would hesitate at doing that, wouldn’t he?) but a bit of pork barrelling, literally.

Next Tuesday is Lunar Mid-Autumn Festival, at which lots of food is eaten, especially pork, seafood and the famous mooncakes. The government, worried about an explosive 49% rise in the cost of pork (the main reason why the country’s CPI is running at 6.5% at the moment annually) has decreed that all levels of government should make sure enough grain, edible oil, eggs, aquatic products and mooncakes, are available to meet demand.

For its part, the central government says it will release pork from its central reserve: is that the ultimate in pork barrelling? John Howard, you have met your masters.