Melon-choly Markets


According to an August 20, 2012, article in the official Hunan Daily, a watermelon seller, Xu Wanqin (徐万琴), made 1,700 yuan selling his watermelons over the course of three days recently. But various fees charged by the wholesale market where he sold his melons came out to 1,620 yuan, and in the end he made just over 100 yuan. The travails of Xu and other wholesalers of agricultural products have, according to the newspaper, prompted authorities in Hunan to review regulations governing wholesale markets in the province. In this above cartoon, posted by artist Chen Shi (沉石) to Sina Weibo, a man in a black suit wearing a red tie (marking him as a Party official, like the local officials who presumably run many local wholesale markets in China) feasts on a plateful of watermelons with a fork and spoon as a farmer sits dejectedly on the plate, his empty cashbox sitting at his feet. A sign in the pile of watermelons reads: “Watermelons, 50 cents.”

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