Photos: ‘Radish Rush’ – Daylight robbery of farmer in trouble
This year, farmer Han Gang reaped a bumper harvest from his over 80 mu (5.3 hectares, or 13.2 acres) farm in a village to the north of Zhengzhou, the capital city of central China’s Henan province, where he grows sweet potatos and daikon radish. However, the bountiful radishes, each weighing as heavy as 3 kilos, or 6 pounds, have been a real drug on the market due to the oversupply. Han Gang decided to give away these unsalable radishes to local residents. After the decision made headlines in the provincial capital’s newspapers, over 30,000 people came along to pick radish. They not only looted all radishes, but also dug out and took away 20 tons of his sweet potatoes, which prove to be a hot seller, without his permission. Even the 2 mu of spinach far off the field had only two thirds of the yields left.
Unlike U.S. farmers who are protected by insurance and subsidies, China’s tens of millions of peasants heavily dependent on their stamp-sized farmland are very susceptible to uncertainties, such as weather, market demand and logistics. Earlier this year, a cabbage farmer in East China’s Shandong province committed suicide after the nation’s cabbage prices touched rock bottom.
With the advent and popularity of social media, particularly the microblogging service Weibo, tech-savvy farmers turn to the Internet to reach out to a larger pool of potential buyers and market their products. Having bridged the disconnect between supply and demand and spread the word to the wired middle class who have the will to assist farmers, such a platform for e-commerce of agricultural products has achieved remarkable success. A post on Weibo about 100 tons of unsold apples pitted by a hailstorm was shared by over 7,000 net users before they were sold out. Similar Examples include potatoes from Inner Mongolia and sun-dried walnuts and persimmons from Hebei province.
But Han Gang was far from that lucky. His experience may be an exception to the cases where publicity does help. However, after the national media covered the Radish Rush on Weibo, thousands of Chinese net users sympathized with Han and took the ransackers to task. Han Gang even opened an account on Weibo, and soon made the list of trending topics. Netizens call him “Radish Bro,” and wrote an avalanche of messages on his Weibo page consoling him. Hopefully this will be a happy twist of his fate.
Han Gang grows vegetables in the outskirts of Zhengzhou, Henan province. His farm has experienced great yields, but the saturated market have made the crop a real drug on the market. He had spent days contacting buyers, but was offered a bulk purchasing price of 0.1 yuan per kilo, or US$0.008 per pound. It would also cost him extra money if he hired people to pick these radishes. After discussing with his family, he decided to give up on selling them and give them away for free. “I will give these to charity groups if any wants these.”
Han Gang posted his decision and idea online. A newspaper in the provincial capital also published the story on November 25. On the morning of Novermber 26, crowds flooded to Han’s radish field with choppers, hacked off all radishes in sight, discarded any radish that was not an eye candy, bagged the ones that looked decent and left.
Selected comments from NetEase
谁是贼 [网易北京市网友]：2011-11-29 12:43:13 发表Don’t say I am hokey. My eyes did get wet when I saw the field rife with helplessness and sadness… What about you guys???
天乙Freemason [网易河南省洛阳市网友]：Such a thing happening in China is very normal. People’s values have gone wrong. Can’t blame them.
网易广东省深圳市龙岗区网友 ip：58.60.*.*They all drove their damn cars over to pick radish. What kind of mindset is that?…
Kyle晞: Radish Bro, don’t give up. The new year is coming. I wish you a good harvest next year!
网易陕西省西安市网友 [风亦凡] 的原贴：1I strongly propose that everyone donate some money to the farmer who gave away his radishes. This way there won’t be anything that bothers our conscience. Of course, those who did go to the field should be more proactive. Otherwise, you would spend your next life being plagued by your guilty conscience!! Everyone, upvote this!!!
崇石 [网易广东省深圳市网友]：2011-11-29 12:45:04 发表When everyone is having a hard time, mutual understanding and support is the key.
dxw0219 [网易广东省网友]：2011-11-30 12:52:16 发表I would rather (my crops) rot in the field and be composted than be fed to those immoral people. Seriously despise those who covet every little advantage.
网易北京市网友 ip：114.253.*.*2011-11-30 13:06:21 发表Anyone has Han’s phone number? I want to donate 500 yuan (US$80) to him 有没有韩岗的电话，我想给他捐500
newjim222 [网易日本网友]：2011-11-30 12:51:14 发表Many hotels and tourist attractions in foreign countries have Chinese signs that read: Please Keep Clean, Quiet Please, Please Take No Food Away (in buffet restaurants) , Please Queue here, No Spitting, No Littering, No Disturbance…Some hotels in Thailand have already begun to turn away Chinese tourist groups…Sigh, Can’t do anything about it…