Caixin
Nov 24, 2017 05:49 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Who are China's ‘Watermelon Eaters?’

Liu Zhenyun says that he has been able to “play with fire without getting burned” because his books use comedy to make serious points. Photo: Visual China
Liu Zhenyun says that he has been able to “play with fire without getting burned” because his books use comedy to make serious points. Photo: Visual China

Have Chinese people turned into a bunch of passive “watermelon eating spectators?” Liu Zhenyun, one of China’s foremost contemporary writers, is tackling the dicey question of apathy in his new novel after a five-year hiatus. And the book is selling like hotcakes.

The title of Liu’s book “The Era of Watermelon Eaters,” plays on a popular internet meme used when people are indifferent to what’s happening around them. It was coined last year after a bystander who witnessed a fatal traffic accident told a reporter, “I know nothing, I was eating a watermelon.”

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