You know that feeling you get when you’re on Yan’an Xi Lu and some kid in a bright cherry red Maserati drives by, revving his engine, and you scoff and think “What an over-moneyed dick. I’d love to key that guy’s car”? Apparently an overwhelming majority of people in China have that times a gazillion.
Surprise surprise – in a country where nine out of ten heads of anything are the offspring of officials, and 70% of the wealth is concentrated in 0.4% of the population (allegedly – the government was quick to deny the figures once they’d incited netizen wrath, despite the report the stats were from being released three years before in a state-sponsored newspaper), and where the rural – urban income gap gets wider every year (and we’re not even mentioning the urban – urban income gap), and where there is not only a LOT of corruption, there’s also a strong perception of corruption, people hold some resentment towards the rich.
In fact, 96% admitted to being peeved at the wealthy in a survey conducted by the Zhejiang Academy of Sciences. It probably doesn’t help that the “second-generation rich” are associated with things like killing poor people while racing their luxury cars.
While China Daily offers the example of one luxury magazine editor getting her Ferrari vandalized, it also hints that, in some cases, the violence has extended to kidnapping and murder.
So what’s to be done about all of this? The government has addressed it numerous times this year, promising everything from a rise in grain prices to a better health care system – but we wouldn’t hold our breaths on seeing any real change come soon; Chinese leaders were discussing the exact same problem five years ago and it’s only getting worse.
As for the beleaguered rich of the country, our advice: If you must spend your money like it’ll choke you in your sleep if you don’t, maybe get something that’s not quite so easy for the poors to screw with.