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LinkAsia | Apr 10
China is worried about a real estate bubble. Housing prices have been rising by double digits in almost every Chinese city, and in Beijing alone ha...
Although Chinese citizens are frustrated and disgusted with the news of Bo's corruption, few are actually surprised. For some time now, it's become a popular assumption that anyone with wealth or power must have obtained it through corruption. But as our contributor in Beijing tells us, sometimes these assumptions are wrong.
There were two recent incidents, both in the United States, that perfectly illustrated ordinary Chinese people's growing distrust of money and privilege. For example, when netizens learned that the two Chinese students killed in a tragic USC shooting in California were driving a BMW, many of them assumed, and even hoped for, the worst:
"If they're the children of government officials, then hurry up and die," wrote one netizen. "The faster they die, the better."
"It's good they're dead," wrote another, "we must prevent these heartless, rich, corrupt officials from continuing their family lines."
The students, it turned out, weren't connected to the government, and the BMW they were driving was just a pretty old, used car. But the angry reactions show that many Chinese are hungry for justice, and they love a story about corrupt officials getting their just desserts. In another recent case, for example, a Chinese student in Iowa was charged with rape. The student's parents flew in and approached the victim, offering her money to reverse her testimony and proclaim that their son was innocent. Instead she informed the police of the attempted bribery, and the parents were arrested as well.
"It must have been the child of government officials or the rich, used to running amok in China without consequences," wrote one user.
"If this were China, it wouldn't have been a problem at all," wrote another, saying the accuser would have taken the bribe, and the police would have pressured her to.
Many users were ecstatic about justice being served, precisely because it happens so rarely in China:
"In China, forget rape, even with murder you don't have to fear as long as you have money," one commenter observed.
The government is holding up the investigation of Bo Xilai as proof the system works, and that it's willing to investigate corruption at even the highest levels. But many feel that Bo's arrest was political and had little to do with his alleged wrongdoing. China's population is increasingly skeptical of anyone who has money, power, or both. And in a nation where the 99 percent outnumber the 1 percent by over a billion, it would be hard to underestimate the significance of that. In Beijing, I'm Charlie Custer for LinkAsia.