CHINA: The Young, The Rich, and the Reckless

ASIA MEDIA STAFF WRITES- After China’s Economic Reform in 1978, the open-door policy benefited many investors but also created a generation of troublemakers called “fuerdai”- the Rich Second Generation. These kids were born in the 80’s and 90’s, and their job is to brag about their wealth on the Internet.

One infamous Internet celebrity –who shall go nameless – proclaims herself the “commercial general manager of the Red Cross Society of China.”  Her many critics – we are duty-bound to report – view her as no more than an ignorant, irresponsible kid who wants to draw attention to herself and wrack up more followers on Weibo, posting pictures of her extravagant lifestyle, complete with a Maserati and expensive luxurious bags.  Critics wonder how she manages to support herself! Then came the 2011 Red Cross scandal, the state-run charitable organization in which she was involved and which lost the trust of the people. The next year donations dropped by 23.68 percent.  This “infamous person’s” arrogance led to a 30-40 percent shortage of blood for transfusion in every blood type in many Chinese hospitals. This caused inevitable disruptions for planned surgeries.

In China, a young person’s success is highly related to his/her parents’ connections. People are extremely fond of the “rich second generation” phenomena: members get special privileges when it comes to upper-class careers and higher social platforms because of their parents’ spider-web like connections in every aspect of life – from receiving better medications to getting accepted to better schools, it’s all about who your parents are.

The ‘rich second generation’ causes endless conflicts due to unfair distribution of resources, and their presence is detrimental to fair competition in society. Many Chinese citizens complain that China is being ruined by this generation whose members are judged by comparing daddies, not actual abilities. This process is demoralizing society by undermining societal fairness and reducing individual motivation.

Fuerdais are the new agents of value deterioration. They promote an image of spoiled, ill-mannered people and represent the twisted values of modern China. As new money flows in capitalistic waves, these rich second generation kids cannot stand on their own two feet.

Most rich parents themselves came from a poor family that suffered greatly and so had to work harder than most people in order to achieve the financial status they currently have. Sadly, most of them want to protect their kids from suffering the pain that they have gone through, and therefore try to help their kids by giving them more and more money.

For instance, the reality show shot in Vancouver called “Ultra Rich Asian Girls” (similar to “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills”) has depicted “princess” Coco from Taiwan whose parents hired two assistants to act as 24-hour waitresses.  Coco couldn’t even get the shells off shrimp and crabs because she never had to do it herself!

Another example is one rich boy whose post in Weibo stated that he was willing to pay one million yuan (approximately $170,000 US dollars) to rent a girlfriend for seven days during the Chinese New Year. He intends to hire a girl to pretend to be his girlfriend so that his parents will stop nagging him to get married. All she needs to do is keep him company at his family reunion. He posted a picture of himself on Weibo with a huge pile of cash in order to prove it wasn’t a scam. Under his picture, he lists the requirements of the potential “girlfriend.” She must be under 25 years old, over 1.68 meters in height (5’5 feet), and under 50 kilograms in weight (110 pounds). She also needs to have a sweet appearance and have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. He is willing to pay 10 percent more as a bonus to reward applicants who have a doctorate degree or if she still has her virginity! He also promised a private jet to pick up the girl from Shenzhen to Zhengzhou round trip. Within an hour after he tweeted, there were more than 10,000 replies and 5264 female contestants wanted to compete for the prize position.

A recent survey showed 96 percent of the Chinese public are resentful towards the rich.  Let’s hope these kids take note of this statistic and start to act in a way that will bankrupt this stereotype. The ethical fiber of China’s future may be at stake.

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