- REUTERS/ Carlos Barria
The social-media antics of the fuerdai – the children of China’s richest politicians and businessmen – paint a picture of undeserved wealth and irresponsible spending.
In May, the son of the richest man in China bought his dog two gold apple watches and flashed them online.
Other children of China’s wealthy have photographed themselves burning 100-yuan notes.
Earlier this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke out about the issue, urging the fuerdai “think about the source of their wealth and how to behave after becoming affluent.”
A September 30, a Bloomberg Businessweek article by Christopher Beam dives into the inner lives of the fuerdai, the “most loathed group” in China. And it’s a surprising portrait of a group that has seemed completely out of touch with their country.
Here are four things we learned from Beam’s story:
1. They are emotionally scarred
Their parents lived through some of the worst parts of the Cultural Revolution – and there are a host of traumas and emotional issues that come with being the legacy of Mao-era China.
Most fuerdai don’t talk about their problems openly. “They have trust issues,” said Wayne Chen, 32, a second-generation investor from Shanghai. “They need a place to talk. They need a group.”
2. Their life of spending, partying, and orgies is a coping mechanism
Their life of partying turns out to be a way of dealing with loneliness. “They want to be taken care of. They want to be loved,” one member of the fuerdai said.
Take the story of 22-year-old Jason Zhang, for example.
“Some nights, sitting at home alone, (Zhang) scrolls through the contacts on his phone only to reach the bottom without finding anyone he wants to call. When we first spoke, he said he had a girlfriend of three years who treated him well, but that he didn’t love her. “You’re the first person I’ve told that to.”
3. They know they are hated by the general Chinese population
Relay China Elite Association is a nonprofit that connects fuerdai with their cohorts. The entry fee is about $31,450, and to be accepted their parents must pay at least $7.86 million in annual taxes.
The organization is trying to encourage the fuerdai to takeover their parents’ companies, and rebrand the fuerdai – “second-generation rich kids” into the “chuangerdai” or the “second-generation entrepreneurs,” who give to charity.
4. Some realize the gap between the poor and the rich is a problem
“When we were children, we went to the best schools, so we didn’t encounter a lot of poor people … This is very dangerous for society,” said Martin Hang, the organizer of a fuerdai dinner event.
Read the full article on Bloomberg.