This photographic essay is an annotated walk through the free markets (ziyou4.gif (189 bytes)) also called farmers' markets (nong4.gif (200 bytes)) in China. As we walk through these markets, you'll begin to understand the massive changes that took place since 1985, after the government dismantled the People's Communes and decontrolled growing, distribution and retail sales of fresh produce.

See how China's free markets operate today!

During my business trips to China between May 1996 - May 1998, I visited many free markets to observe the system at work and to interview farmers, vendors and market managers.  All my interviews were conducted  in Chinese. I am solely responsible for the text, photographs and design of this website. Inspiration for this project came from Steve Balkan at Roosevelt University, who maintains OPENAIR - MARKET NET at

On future trips to China, I hope to enhance these preliminary observations and write about  new markets that I visit.

Ditty (2nd from left)
At Beijing's Huaken Yuegezhuang Wholesale Market with
Market Manager and representatives from Ministry of Agriculture.

Table of Contents