China Digital Space

Watch Brother

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表哥 (Biǎo Gē) Watch Brother

Yang Dacai’s many watches. (Liu Xingliang 刘兴亮/Weibo)
Nickname given to Yang Dacai, head of the Shaanxi Provincial Bureau of Work Safety. On August 30, 2012, Yang was photographed grinning broadly at the scene of a deadly traffic accident in Yan’an, Shaanxi Province. After the incident, netizens conducted a human flesh search unearthing a number of photographs showing Yang wearing at least 11 different luxury watches. He would not have been able to afford these on his government salary alone.

Yang was removed from his position in September 2012 and sentenced to 14 years in prison the following year. He has gone down in Chinese Internet history as Watch Brother. So strong was the backlash against Yang that Lushan County, Sichuan Province Party Secretary Fan Jiyue took off his watch for photo opportunities with Prime Minister Li Keqiang during earthquake rescue efforts in April 2013. Netizens spotted his watch tan and dubbed him “Watchless Brother.”

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