The United States has the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but China has got something truly important: the Strategic Pork Reserve.
You've read that right: the Chinese government is stockpiling frozen hogs in warehouses to stabilize the price of pork against market fluctuations and ensure supply.
China is a porcine superpower as well as a human one. The Middle Kingdom boasts more than 446 million pigs -- one for every three Chinese people and more than the next 43 countries combined. So when there's a major disruption in the pork supply it hits the economy hard; the "blue-ear pig" disease that forced Chinese farmers to slaughter millions of pigs in 2008, for example, drove the country's inflation rate to its highest level in a decade.
To prevent further disruptions, the Chinese government established a strategic pork reserve shortly afterward, keeping icy warehouses around the country stocked with frozen pork that can be released during times of shortage. The government was forced to add to the reserve -- taking pigs off the market -- in the spring of 2010 when a glut led to prices collapsing.
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