By Erik Crouch
Guo Meimei with her Maserati during the 2011 Red Cross scandal. Weibo, via CNN
This story has everything: sex parties, supercar clubs, a few billion yuan, the Red Cross, and China’s wild wealth inequality. It begins on April 7, the Shanghai Daily published an article detailing rumors of sex and drug parties that took place during a Hainan yacht show in Sanya.
The Hainan meet-up involved a plethora of China’s nouveau riche, who use the rendezvous to shop for yachts and jets, and who apparently also hold massive pay-to-enter orgies. The report detailed prostitution and a lot of sex, saying, “one model earned 600,000 yuan (US$97,000) from sex parties over three evenings” and “more than 2,000 condoms were used at just one party.” And the story only gets more salacious from there.
Enter Guo Meimei (real name Guo Yue Er), the “bratty rich 20-year-old mini-blogger” whose Weibo wealth-flaunting caused a massive scandal for the Chinese Red Cross in 2011, and was linked to a Beijing blood shortage in the months that followed. Ever the class act, Guo was implicated in the Sanya prostitution scandal by a member of the “China Sport’s Car Club” (a group of super-rich who get together to show off their “Porche 911 or above” rides). The club member, identified on Weibo as Chen Junyu, accused Guo of trading sex for money in Sanya. Guo replied, full of restraint and tact, with these photos (via Offbeat China):
In an attempt to stifle accusations, Guo Meimei posted a photo to Weibo of 10 casino chips worth a total of 5 million yuan, saying she was “too rich to need to sell sex.” In response, Chen Junyu (who is rumored to be 19-years-old) forgot that the scandal was about prostitution, and just decided to out-wealthy Guo by posting a screenshot of his bank account with 3.7 billion yuan:
At this point, the feud ceased to be about the Sanya scandal, and became about China’s massive wealth inequality as embodied by the fuerdai (“second generation rich” or nouveau riche). Non-super-wealthy netizens got involved in the conflict, which was seen (accurately) as an obscene pissing contest between a handful of rich twats.
Notable Weibo comments include:
“I’m not surprised hearing something like this, but it is really quite disgusting for a bunch of rich, bored fuerdai to show-off their fancy lives like this.”
“By my current income, I can become a SCC [Sport’s Car Club] member in 1000 years.”
“Socialism my ass.”
China’s super-wealthy, with their snow-polo, supercars, and casino millions, represent a bizarre alternative universe unfamiliar to the other 99 percent of the population.
The fuerdai, embodied by such wonderful public personas as Guo Meimei and Chen Junyu, are (rightly) seen as spoiled, obscene, idiotic hate-receptacles for the rest of the country. Scandals like this one, which could be summarized as “Yacht-and-jet-buying-party hit by sex scandal and followed by rich-kids being shitheads in public” are certainly not helping matters.