Drawing the News: Of Melons and Men

City management officials (chengguan), a sort of para-police force patrolling the streets, are known for their brutality towards street vendors throughout China. But harassment and beatings are one thing. Rarely does a confrontation with chengguan end in death.

Watermelon vendor Deng Zhengjia died at the hands of chengguan in Linwu, Hunan Province this Wednesday. When the local government decided to take Deng’s body, hundreds of villagers came to stand guard. The face-off sparked bloody clashes with the police. Deng has been compared to Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit vendor who self-immolated after the police seized his cart, sparking the Arab Spring.

Cartoons reflecting on Deng’s death, the support of his fellow villagers, and the police response have cropped up on Weibo. CDT has collected the handful below. CDT Chinese has even more.

Click any image to launch gallery view.