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Chinese complain as fruit prices reach five-year high

China has an expression called ‘having cherry freedom’. It describes a person's ability to purchase expensive imported cherries without a second thought. Now, though, many are expressing concerns that they may be losing their ‘fruit freedom’ in general, after sharp rises in the prices of many commonplace fruits, including apples, pears and peaches.

Many users of Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, said they were shocked by this year's skyrocketing fruit prices. Some said the rising cost had made them reluctant to peel fruit, as they didn't want to waste even the smallest part.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the average price of seven common fruits -Fuji apples, Kyoho grapes, pears, pineapples, bananas, watermelons and tangerines- from May 20 to 26 was 7.93 yuan ($1.15) per kilogram, compared with 5.53 yuan during the same week last year.

The data also show that the price has risen by about 38 percent from the first week of the year. quoted a member of staff at Guoxiang Siyi, a chain fruit store in Beijing, as saying that the price surge has mainly affected year-round items: "The price of seasonal fruit, such as cherries, hasn't changed much-it's mainly the year-round ones, especially apples. For example, we used to sell lower-end apples at 10 yuan per 1.5 kilograms, but this year we are selling them for 7 yuan per 500 grams."

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