A fake online post was published last week by Lao Po, who claimed to be a Shanxi coal mine boss, on Tianya forum to attract applicants to become his son-in-law. After receiving a large number of responses, the post has drawn much attention from netizens and been picked up by other commercial sites including Netease and Mop.
It turned out to be a fabricated post simply for the purpose of entertaining. The photo of the “daughter” was randomly selected online without permission. Lao Po didn’t even know who the photo was of until other netizens pointed it out. It’s been widely discussed in online forums and grabbed a couple of headlines. Coal mine bosses are once again been in the spotlight in cyberspace. Why are they such a popular subject that never gets boring for netizens? What if such a post was published by a Shanxi peasant? Would it have been more likely to get sinister remarks in response rather than enthusiastic applications?
When it comes to coal mine owners, an image of unethical, immoral and greedy profit-seeking businessman is reinforced by intermittent coal mine accidents, notoriously in Shanxi province. As materialism prevails in China, those wealthy bosses are at the same time looked at enviously by others. The conflicting ideas about them have generated confusion in cyberspace-they are cursed for taking lives due to poor coal mine safety measures but looked up to for being able to live a luxurious life. People condemn the ways in which coal mine bosses build up wealth while envying their lifestyle. This is probably the reason why this post drew far more applications than condemnations.
Coal mine safety is associated with issues of human rights, law, government corruption, cover-ups as well as censorship. Xinhua reported that 3,786 miners lost their lives in 2007.
There have been quite a few online posts about young Chinese showing off their luxurious lifestyles by uploading pictures of the labels and brands they buy. Chinasmack last month published a post-“Daughter of Shanxi Coal Mine Boss Shows off Her US Lifestyle.”