The most searched name in Chinese cyberspace this week is Yao Ja Xin. Yao is a 21 year old college student who accidentally hit a woman with his car and then not so accidentally stabbed her eight times until she died. His reasoning? He feared “the peasant woman would be hard to deal with.” Now he’s dealing with the fury of millions who are disgusted by the pompous attitude of China’s rapidly growing, rookie rich kids.
Thirty years ago China began the complex process of changing absolutely everything without changing anything. They remained Communist and embraced Capitalism. That’s like remaining standing while you sit down. The two were thought to be unblendable and depending on where you grew up one of them has been the world’s greatest evil while the other has carried the answers to all of the world’s problems. However, in three very short decades China has become the world’s largest manufacturer, exporter and consumer of everything on the planet which has shifted their global status from poverty stricken and starving to an imminent superpower with a chunky midsection. The benefits for China are obvious: wealth, power, status and nice cars. The downside? Entitled 21 year olds who drive nice cars and value the cushiness of their sheltered lives more than the actual lives of the “peasants” around them.
Communism first sounded like a good idea in China because of the blatant disregard for lower class life. Mao Zedong traveled from farmhouse to farmhouse with the enticing prospect of levelizing the classes and rallied the “peasants” on the idea of a world where the rich kids couldn’t pick on the poor kids . . . or hit them with their car . . . or stab them to death. Now the social gap has returned with a vengeance. Millions have made the shift from rags to riches in less than a generation and millions more have traveled from the countryside (still in rags) to build new buildings for the new rich people and their new cars. Tensions are high and while incidents like Yao Ja Xin are extreme, they’re certainly not isolated. Maoism may have been flawed but I can’t help but think if the Chairman were around today he might be gloating, “I told you so”.
So if Communism and Capitalism had a baby what would it look like? More importantly . . . would you babysit?
|Husband and 2 year old son of Zhang Miao
who was killed by Yao Jaxin.
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