Mur­dered He­bei farmer hon­ored

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

A thou­sand kilo­grams of over­ripe mel­ons sold out in less than 10 hours to honor a melon farmer who was stabbed to death in He­bei prov­ince.

Cui Jingx­i­ang, 47, was killed by gang mem­bers at a mar­ket fair in Lang­fang’s Anci dis­trict on July 23 for warn­ing oth­ers about them, the po­lice said.

Six sus­pects have been ar­rested in connection with the mur­der.

Cui was the head of a fam­ily of six, in­clud­ing his wife, mother and a daugh­ter who re­cently grad­u­ated from col­lege.

The fam­ily’s main source of in­come was a melon farm of just 0.4 hectares. “Af­ter my fa­ther died, the mel­ons were left and were go­ing bad, so they were hard to sell,” said Cui Quanzheng, the vic­tim’s son.

Cui Jingx­i­ang was seen as a hero for warn­ing peo­ple at the fair about the gang.

His fam­ily’s fi­nan­cial strug­gles were re­ported by a lo­cal news­pa­per on July 28. The re­port went vi­ral on WeChat, which prompted hun­dreds of res­i­dents to buy the mel­ons to help.

Cui was well-known for be­ing help­ful — even heroic. He was once beaten by thieves at a Bei­jing whole­sale mar­ket af­ter warn­ing cus­tomers to watch out for them.

An­other time, he saved the life of a 2-year-old boy by rush­ing him to the hos­pi­tal af­ter the child was at­tacked by a dog. Sev­eral years ago, he also helped a taxi driver who had been in­jured in a rob­bery.

On Tues­day, the Anci dis­trict gov­ern­ment awarded Cui hero sta­tus and granted his fam­ily 100,000 yuan ($15,000).

In re­cent years, the fam­ily bor­rowed 300,000 yuan to build a green­house, pay the med­i­cal bills of Cui’s mother and cover the cost of univer­sity tuition for his daugh­ter. A total of 80,000 yuan is still to be re­paid.

How­ever, lo­cals have pitched in to help with an ar­ray of ac­tiv­i­ties. On July 30, an archery con­test was held in the city. In­stead of medals, win­ners were awarded mel­ons. A lo­cal gym also said it would do­nate 100 yuan to Cui’s fam­ily for ev­ery gym card it sold.

A vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tion bought all the re­main­ing mel­ons from this year’s crop.

“Money sent. No need to de­liver the mel­ons. We can’t al­low a good Samar­i­tan’s fam­ily to suf­fer,” said a WeChat user who do­nated 20 yuan.

An­other WeChat user, who pur­chased 20 yuan of mel­ons, said he was touched by Cui’s ac­tions.

“Please ac­cept my re­spect. I hope the crim­i­nals are se­verely pun­ished by the law,” the ne­ti­zen said.

As of July 31, peo­ple had do­nated more than 35,000 yuan to the fam­ily.

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