China’s “Symphony” of Privilege

After a simple traffic accident, the 15 year old son of acclaimed singer Li Shuangjiang attacked a couple in the vehicle hit China Media Project provides more background and a translation of an editorial from The Beijing News:

According to eyewitnesses, Li’s son, who was driving a BMW without a driver’s license, attacked the couple with another man within minutes allegedly rear-ending their car, beating them and shouting, “Who dares dial 110!”

For many Chinese, this incident bore eerie echoes of the “Li Gang case” of October 2010, in which the son of an influential police official in Hebei Province struck two university students with his car, killing one, while driving on campus. When finally stopped, the young man threatened others saying, “My father is Li Gang!” These words became a slogan in China summing up the problem of corruption, abuse of power and disproportionate privilege among government leaders and other elites and their family members.

The broader issue of privilege among China’s second-generation political and business elites is encompassed in two terms now widely used, the “power progeny” or “second-generation [of] officials” (官二代) and the “second-generation rich” (富二代). Li Shuangjiang’s son would be considered a prime example of the latter, as would Lu Xingyu (卢星宇), the daughter of billionaire Lu Junqing (卢俊卿) who is now embroiled, along with her father, in a scandal of her own.

In the lead editorial in today’s edition of The Beijing News, the term “second-generation rich” is not used explicitly. But the editorial deals generally with the issue of privilege and inequality of opportunity in China and what they mean for society.


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