China’s ‘capital playboys’

Anger is mounting over the antics of the upper class’s privileged offspring

The 'capital playboys'

Li Wenming/China Daily

The latest report of drag racing and violence between two Beijing playboys has angered residents who criticize the sense of entitlement among China’s nouveaux riches. On Sept. 2, Beijing real estate developer Wang Shuo, 29, was charged with illegal possession of weapons and destruction of personal property, stemming from a Dec. 17, 2010, showdown with Wang Ke, 30. According to China Daily, Wang Shuo and Wang Ke were drag racing through the popular Wangfujing shopping district when they both crashed near an intersection. Wang Shuo allegedly pointed a “gun-shaped object” at Wang Ke, reversed his car into Wang Ke’s Audi and fled the scene, leaving the luxury car burning in the busy street. The men are known as two of Beijing’s so-called “capital playboys” or fu er dai, the second-generation rich: offspring of China’s wealthy and political elite—who capitalized on Communist party leader Deng Xiaoping’s reform toward a market economy—with reputations of being above the law. Released on bail, Wang Ke defended himself on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo against the damning “capital playboy” label: “I’m not what people think I am,” he wrote. “Don’t put a feudal hat on my head.”

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